Most of our trips to India are spent with family, extended family and exxxxtended family, we don’t venture out much. But we always make a weekend or a 2 to 3 day trip to Pondicherry. Just because Pondicherry is easily accessible by road from Chennai and I can stop at my favorite Shore Temple on the way. There is something truly unique about Pondicherry, it has a vibe that is not found anywhere else in India. Quiet beaches and peaceful resorts are the two defining aspects of the town’s bustling, yet easygoing life. It has a unique blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied town. Pondy, as it is fondly called, is a haven for all types of travelers. Here is how we spend a weekend in Pondicherry at the Dune Eco Village & Spa.
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Sri Aurobindo Ashram
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the major attractions in Pondicherry. Setup in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, an Indian freedom fighter, poet, philosopher, and yogi, the ashram makes Pondy an important destination for spiritual seekers as well as tourists. Auroville (meaning City of Dawn) is an experimental township founded in 1968 by Mirra Richard (known as The Mother), the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. Auroville boasts of a unique architectural design that was conceptualized by the French architect Roger Anger. In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which has been acclaimed as an outstanding and original architectural achievement. It was conceived by Alfassa as a symbol of Universal Mother. Auroville is meant to be an ‘International City of Unity’ where men and women of all countries live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.
A Weekend in Pondicherry at Dune Eco Village and Spa
We have stayed at a couple of different resorts in Pondicherry, Dune Eco Village and Spa resort is by far our favorite. It is an oasis of peace, a lost paradise, a far cry from the fast-paced world and traffic-clogged Chennai. The Spa at Dune offers Ayurvedic treatments, yoga and meditation as well as many alternative therapies. The 55 bungalows of which no two are alike – each one is uniquely designed and created by various artists, designers and architects from all around the world are on a 35 acre beachfront land.
The bungalows at the Dune Eco Village and Spa bring together luxury and natural living. They are reclaimed from Colonial houses, Chettinad palaces, and Kerala planter’s mansions. The bungalows are fully equipped with solar water systems and organic linen, some have A/C while some are nature cooled. They even had an outdoor shower which was fun. The 2 restaurants in the resort serve healthy gourmet fusion food, prepared using organically farmed vegetables.
Activities at Dune Eco Village and Spa in Pondicherry
Kids loved riding bikes, making pottery, milking cows, swimming in the pool and beach and various other activities. There were enough activities to keep them entertained for the whole weekend. While the kids are keeping busy I and my sister usually sneak to get some Spa time. I especially like the Ayurveda massages which leave me slathered with medical oils and restores my balance.
The restaurants at Dune Eco Resort serve healthy, gourmet fresh food, using vegetables straight from their organic garden (which you can visit). The sea-food is fresh, thanks to the local fisherman. They also have a dairy farm where you can meet the cows during your weekend in Pondicherry at the Dune Eco Village & Spa.
The fresh coconuts are something I look forward to after a stroll on the beach. We have made several trips to India over the years and stayed at a few different luxury hotels and resorts, yet our kids to this day remember and rave about the activities at the Dune Eco Resort and ask if we are going to be visiting again. That should tell you how much they loved it there!
Wellness at Dune Eco Village and Spa in Pondicherry
Dune Eco Village has a Deepak Chopra Healing Center inside which offers Ayurvedic treatments and yoga and meditation, as well as many western massages and hot water therapies like Water Shiatsu and Water Yoga. While I have never tried the water treatments, I can vouch that the Ayurvedic massages are the most relaxing ever.
On the way back to Chennai, we stopped for Pizza which was one of the best we had during our trip and at a temple to visit with the Elephants!
Additional information for Dune Eco Resort
Located in the heart of spirituality, on the Coromandel coast of Tamil Nadu, South India, 150 km south of Chennai (Madras), Dune Eco Resort and Spa belongs to the Dune Wellness Group. It is a small chain of luxury hotels spread over India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia (Bali). They offer an insight into wellbeing along with the culture of these regions. The organic food is sourced from the gardens making the hotels as green and as healthy as possible.
Just a short drive away from Puducherry and Auroville, it is perfectly situated to experience the cultural best of South India. Check here for more information and reviews about the resort. The closest international airport is Chennai. The scenic East Coast Road (ECR) links Dune to Chennai, and it takes roughly two and a half hours to reach Puducherry from Chennai. Dune is 9 Km after the Pondicherry ECR toll gate. You will see a Dune signboard at the road crossing on the left side toward the beach. From Puducherry, take the ECR road to Chennai. They are 14 km away from Puducherry(Pondicherry).
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