Arrive at Pondicherry. Check in to hotel. You can have breakfast here or head out to Le Café on Promenade – this is the Beach Road. The food is average but it is looks out at the ocean. It can get really hot post 10am, so be prepared for that. You can head to the Aurobindo Ashram – here you will find the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. There is a book shop; the books are mostly spiritual. You can also purchase photographs etc.
Close to the Ashram, there are a few shops where you can purchase handmade paper, boxes, incense sticks, candles and more, which Pondi is known for. You could check out Fleurs et Flacon, The Red Courtyard Boutique.
You can have lunch at the Ashram dining hall. The food is really simple and healthy but also delicious.
As you will be here for a really short time and want to see Auroville as well, head to Auroville’s Visitor’s Center. The autos charged me around Rs.250 from Pondi to Auroville (this was in 2012). Cab costs around Rs.300 (2013). It is around 20min from Pondi. You can also rent a moped or cycle – it will work out cheaper than a cab or auto.
Auroville is not a touristy place, it is more about the way of living. You can visit the Matri Mandir here but you need follow the protocol to access it. At the Visitor’s Centre, you can watch the video that gives you a good idea about what Auroville is about and what to expect. You will then be guided to a viewing platform. It is about a km from the centre. Here, you can see the Matri Mandir, take pics and spend some time before coming back to the Centre.
Only after you do this and are interested, you can make a booking for the Matri Mandir’s Inner Chamber for Silent Concentration. And it is totally worth it and nothing like you have ever seen – both the experience & the architecture. They may ask you to come back after 2 days, maybe 26 or 27 Dec. A slot will be given, usually at 9am.
There are also two boutiques here as well as book/CD shop. You will find clothes, bags, lifestyle products that are made here. They also have mail order. There is a café where you get the usual café fare, meals during lunch and beverages. You will not find any alcohol or meat in Auroville.
You can head back to Pondicherry. Most places close up around 5.30pm in Auroville and it is not safe to be out alone.
There are a lot of places to eat out if you prefer to, like Madame Shanthe’s and Rendezvous.