If you are visiting Pondicherry it is very easy to walk around and see the main sights. A great way to see things further afield is to take the day trip from the tourist office leaving each day at 9.45am. At Rs 200 it is very good value. Even if you just want to see the Matrimandir dome at Auroville this trip is cheaper than doing it yourself. You also visit the botanical gardens, government museum, sacred heart church, the botanical gardens (recently used for filming of “The life of Pi”) and Chunnambar. The additional boat trip at Rs40 is not great as you just got down stream for about 15 minute and see nothing of interest. Lunch is at a posh hotel restaurant and you get a good southern Indian thali and the toilets are western and clean. The tour is supposed to include the temple and ashram but in fact this is where they drop you so you can do these 2 sights yourself. Our tour also ended early at 3.45pm but was still excellent.