Places to visit in Pondicherry
Popularly known as “Pondy”, is one of the seven Union territories of India that owes the heritage of a leading tourist destination in Indian Union with its pristine beaches, natural beauty and reminiscent of French colonial rule and culture. Pondicherry is presently known as Puducherry meaning “New Town”. It is a famous tourist destination for those fun loving person who want to enjoy a pleasurable moment away from the pollution and noise of the city life.
Beautifully located on the Coromandel shoreline, Puducherry was ruled by the French for more than 3 centuries. This beautiful town at present symbolizes the heritage of the French culture in India and still preserves the colonial ambience. The neatness, charming and amazing natural beauty, superb cuisines and cheap beer attracts attract a large number of tourists to this excellent spot. It is a historical city highly enriched with architectural marvel and cultural wealth. It is also a well known center of Vedic as well as philosophical studies. Some of the most popular visiting places include
SHRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM
Established by Shri Aurobindo Ghosh, a renowned freedom fighter and spiritualist, it is one of the major tourist destinations in Puducherry. A harmonious community of different religions irrespective of countries, casts, and communities live there peacefully. The ashram has been acclaimed as a unique example of unity in diversity, promotes world peace and greatly emphasizes on the learning of world religions. It draws a constant stream of visitors travel across the globe to India.
Auroville is a small international city located 6 km north of Pondicherry. It is a unique venture considered as a remarkable tourist spots in the region. Started in the year 1968, it has been visualized as a universal town where people irrespective of cast, creed, language and community live in peace and harmony. The residents of this town live in around 15 different communities and speak 55 different languages.
It is one of the worth visiting places that exhibits interesting facts related to the history of this town which include the French colonization, the Roman articles discovered at Arikamedu, huge collection of sculptures, paintings and sea shells.
The statue of the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi as well as a War memorial attracts tourist from different parts of the world in this spot.
The cool beach and the numerous water sports opportunities in this place make it a wonderful tourist spots in Puducherry.
ANGLO-FRENCH TEXTILE MILLS
Being a historical place, the Anglo – French Textile mills form a major part of the historical tour of the city. The quality fabrics manufactured at this mill are outstanding and tourists are given special rebates on purchases here.
Plage Paradiso (Paradise Beach) located at Chunnambar about 8 kilometers away from the main town is a paradise beach in Puducherry. It is a dream destination for beach lovers who can explore the beauty of the blue underwater world. If you are lucky enough you can also experience unforgettable sight of dolphins in the natural habitat swimming and playing around. The serene, cool and calm ambience of Puducherry looks forward to welcome visitors and make their visit memorable and exciting.
Botanical Gardens of Pondicherry is well known tourist hotspots, which attracts tourists from every nook and corner of the world. The Department of Tourism has been playing a unique role in preserving and maintaining this garden which is about 178 years old. The twittering of birds and the rich variety of flora mesmerizes the tourist.
Other than these popular places there are numerous other tourist attractions in Puducherry which includes the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Aquarium, Bhartidasan Memorial Museum and the mansion of Ananda.
SRI GOKILAMBAL THIRUKAMESHWARA TEMPLE
Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple at Villianur is just ten kilometres away from Pondicherry. It is a very old and beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The name of the god is ‘Thirukameswarar’ and the name of goddess is ‘Gokilambal’. The annual temple car festival is held on full moon day in the month of May-June and attracts a large number of devotees.
Palais du Gouvernement, an eighteenth century building, presently known as Raj Nivas is a main attraction in Pondicherry. Raj Nivas, the residence of Pondicherry’s Lieutenant Governor, is not open to the public. The old court, which houses the Legislative Assembly, is also seen in this building. One of the main attractions for the tourists is the monolithic pillars, brought from Gingee Fort after its capture in 1751.
CHURCHES IN PONDICHERRY
There are numerous churches in Pondicherry that are worth visiting. Few of the most popular are:
Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus-This famous church was built in the Gothic style and is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is located on the South Boulevard in Pondicherry and has stained glass panes which depict the entire life of Jesus Christ.
Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges-This church is located on Rue Dumas and was built in 1865. It has a beautiful oil painting of ‘Our Lady of Assumption’ that was donated by Napoleon III.
Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes-The Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes is situated on the outskirts of Pondicherry and is built on the same pattern as the Basilica at Lourdes in France.
FRENCH WAR MEMORIAL
The stylish French War Memorial, located in the renowned Goubert Avenue, is a monument for those soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. Annual commemoration is celebrated every year on 14th July; during the period the memorial gets illuminated beautifully. It is really a pleasant experience here, where the new generation pays their respect to those served the society and country. We, as the visitors, owe to visit this place and offer our tributes.
The Government Park or Bharati Park is known for its beautiful lush trees and is located in the green centre of the French Town. This park is the most appreciated public area in the town and is a popular picnic destination of the families. It is also well known for the attractive monument of ‘Aayi Mandapam’ which was built in the 16th century during the period of Napoleon III in France. This structure is named after a renowned courtesan named Aay
Ousteri Lake is one of the biggest lake and major supplier of drinking water in those days. Now it is opened for the tourists for boat ride and to watch the birds. During the season, this lake acts as dwelling place for many migrating birds.
VILLIANUR TEMPLE CAR FESTIVAL
The Villianur Temple car Festival is celebrated around the middle of May, the exact date depending on the appearance of the full moon. Festivals in Pondicherry, Pondicherry Festivals, Traditions Of Pondicherry, Historical Background, Cultural Tradition The decorated car of the Thirukameswarar Kokilambal Temple is taken out in a procession, pulled by hundreds of devotees.
Located at a distance of 6 km from Pondicherry, Arikamedu is situated at the estuary of the River Ariyankuppam. Arikamedu is an archaeological site where Mortimer Wheeler conducted his acclaimed excavation in the 1940s. According to him, Arikamedu was a Tamil fishing village which was previously a major port dedicated to bead making and trading with Roman traders. It also has an Archaeological Museum which exhibits a fine sculpture gallery and archaeological findings dating back to the Roman settlement at Arikamedu. There is also a section which charts the history of the colony under the French.