Blissful and Serene: Paradise Beach, Pondicherry
Paradise Beach is a must visit place for everyone, who is travelling in and around Pondicherry. The real name of the beach is Chunnambar, but very few people call this beach by its original name since over the years the beach has earned the name Paradise mainly due to two factors one is the peaceful and serene feel that is experienced at this beach and the second is that it is only accessible by a boat from main land Pondicherry.
The best way of getting to Paradise Beach is by hopping onto a local bus from any of the numerous bus stops in Pondicherry. The bus stop for Paradise Beach is Boat House – Chunnambar. The other option is to hire an auto rickshaw. Paradise Beach is 7 km past Pondicherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road.
There is a small entrance fee to enter the Boat House and also a fee for still and video cameras. Inside the Boat House there is a cafe that serves up some really tasty Fish Manchurian and Fried Rice. It is advisable to eat at this cafe since the food stalls on Paradise Beach have fairly steep prices.
The Boat House has a few attractions for kids in the form of a merry–go-round and a bouncing castle; it also has a small wooden shop that sells Pondicherry mementoes in the form of T-Shirts, post cards and handicrafts.
A separate ticket needs to be purchased for the boat ride to Paradise Beach; the ticket issued at the counter is a return ticket. The boat ride takes about 15 minutes from the Boat House to the jetty at Paradise Beach. All the passengers are given life jackets before entering into the boat as a precautionary safety measure.
After about 7 to 9 minutes into the boat ride Paradise Beach becomes visible as nothing more than a deserted beach. But keep in mind that this beach is nothing but deserted. Paradise Beach attracts a sizeable crowd of families, groups of youngsters and men, who just like to lie in the water, relax and play dead for most of the day. The sand on the beach is so fine; each grain can be seen through the crystal clear water.
The sea near Paradise Beach is ideal for people who like entering into the water and having some fun tossing beach balls and frisbees. The sea shore is not rough at all and is even safe for children to play in the water.
However, if you’re at the beach just to relax, you can sit at one of the sand bars and let the water wash over you. It’s a lovely feeling, especially when the tide is rolling in and the occasional swell of cold water hits you. While the water may be shallow to begin with, the tide rises quite rapidly, and the current is strong.
A couple of thatched roof shelters provide respite from the sun and a place to keep your bags. Since no food and liquor is allowed inside, be prepared to shell out quite a bit for food and drink if you’re planning to spend the entire day there. The changing rooms aren’t great, but provide for a quick, salty shower.
There is no such provisions for any kind of accommodation on Paradise Beach and people can stay on the beach till the last boat leaves at 6:30 pm. The boats that ply to Paradise Beach do not operate during the monsoon months from June to early October. The best time to visit is from November to March.
Paradise Beach is just the perfect way to end a trip in Pondicherry by relaxing and spending time in the crystal clear waters of the Bay of Bengal.
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