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10 Best Places To Visit in Pondicherry

Monday, September 20, 2021

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Pondicherry, the capital of Puducherry, is a former French colony and one of the top tourist destinations in south India. The coastal town of Pondicherry, which was a French colony till 1954, still has many colonial buildings, churches, statues, and the systematic town planning of the French. The town is sometimes called the Europe of India because of its planned town layout. Although a small town, the town contains an exciting mix of Indian and French colonial heritage and several tourist destinations. 

The following are the top 10 places to visit in Pondicherry:

1. Sri Aurobindo Ashram

2. Auroville

3. Immaculate Conception Cathedral

4. Ousteri Wetland and National Park

5. Basilica Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

6. Promenade Beach

7. French War Memorial

8. Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple

9. Pondicherry Museum

10. Botanical Garden

1. Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Sri Aurobindo Ghosh established a spiritual community in Pondicherry on November 24th, 1926. Since then, the ashram has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. The chief aims and ideals of the ashrams are based on Sri Aurobindo and Mira Alfassa. The ashram contains several offices, a library, a printing press, a playground, an art gallery, a dispensary/nursing home, dairy farms, guest houses, a bakery, etc. The main building in the establishment is the marble Samadhi, which is Sri Aurobindo and Mira Alfassa. Visiting hours are 8 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 6 pm.

2. Auroville

Its name, meaning ‘The City of Dawn,’ is a township located 8 kilometers from Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo and Mira Alfassa founded it in 1968, and French architect Roger Anger designed it. A universal town was created to bring people from all over the world together in harmony and peace regardless of their race, color, or nationality. During the inauguration, placed soil from around 124 in a lotus-shaped urn to symbolize the idea behind the establishment of the township. The middle of the town is crowned by a temple that represents the universal mother and is called ‘Matrimandir’. The colony has a population of 2,007 people from over 44 different countries.

3. Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Consecrated in 1791, the 300-year-old church is the cathedral for the Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore. As we see it today, the Immaculate Conception Cathedral was built in three other churches before the French occupation of Pondicherry. Construction started in 1791 and made further improvements to the building till 1987. The feast of the church is celebrated on December 8th every year. The church was also visited by Mother Teresa and is one of the oldest churches in Puducherry. The locals also know it as ‘Samba Kovil.’

4. Ousteri Wetland and National Park

Located on the Pondicherry-Villuppuram road at a distance of 10 kilometers from Pondicherry, the Ousteri Wetland and National Park cover around 3.9 sq kilometers. Geographically the place lies in the territory of both Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. The location is home to a wide variety of aqua-fauna and avifauna. Several tourists frequent the site because of the houseboat services offered here. The several unique species of trees and herbs here attract many migratory birds and have become an essential ecological niche in the south Indian region. The variety of birds and aquatic species here make it a photographer’s delight and a must-see for any shutterbug.

5. Basilica Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus

On the south boulevard, the Basilica Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus was consecrated on December 17th, 1907. The building is a fine specimen of Gothic-style architecture and has become a famous pilgrimage spot for Christians in India. The structure of this church is 50 meters long, 48 meters wide, and 18 meters high and is held by 24 columns. The windows are adorned with stained glass paintings of 28 saints devoted to the sacred heart of Jesus. The church premises also have a grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, a parish hall, and an adoration chapel. The church underwent a full renovation and restoration in 2005, giving it its current appearance. However, made only minor physical changes were to the structure. Image Credits Mike-Lee

6. Promenade Beach

The Promenade beach is about 1.5 kilometers long and one of the main beaches in Puducherry. The walk is characterized by various landmarks and statues, including the statue of Joan of Arc, the Heritage town hall, the Dupleix statue, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the old lighthouse, etc. If you need a calm and quaint place perfect for an evening stroll, this is a place you want to be. The sea breeze and the sights and sounds work as a relaxing potion on your mind. The beach is a recommended visit which is devoid of the hustle of the city streets. There is also a well-established tourist center where you can get some extra information about the town of Pondicherry.

7. French War Memorial

Located on Goubert Avenue, the built the French war memorial in 1971 to commemorate the loss of the brave French soldiers during the First World War. On Bastille Day (July 14th), the monument is illuminated and pays homage to the soldiers. It is a must-visit place for tourists, mainly when visited on Bastille Day. The commemoration ceremony is a marvelous sight to gander at and offers an enjoyable experience.

8. Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple

Located on M.G. Road, Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple is considered the oldest Hindu temple in Pondicherry and dates back to 600 AD. The temple is built in the Dravidian style of architecture, evident by its sculpted pillars and a brightly colored gopuram adorned with the sculptures of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Sri Varadaraja Perumal, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is revered in the temple. According to local legend, the temple was initially supposed to house the idols of Lord Rama, Lakshamana, Sita, and Lord Hanuman, which were brought from the sea by the local fishermen. Lord Narsimha, another incarnation of Lord Vishnu, has a shrine behind the temple. The temple is a famous pilgrimage spot for Hindus in Pondicherry and south India.

9. Botanical Garden

Located south of the new bus stand in Pondicherry, the botanical garden was founded in 1826 and is another example of French influence in Pondicherry. Despite being located in a Tamil town, the gate makes the entire place stand out. There were gravel-lined paths, pruned trees, and fountains in the original French-style landscaping. The site features many different species of exotic plants and shrubs from all around the world. In 1931, the French botanist and horticulturist George S. Perrottet turned the place into a botanical garden. The park also features a musical fountain which has two shows during evenings at the weekends.

10. Pondicherry Museum

Located in Bharathi Park in the center of the town, the Pondicherry museum houses various sculptures and other archeological findings from the Arikamedu Roman settlement, an ancient port 7 kilometers from the city. Various statues and bronze sculptures from the Chola and Pallava dynasties are also on display at the museum. One can also gather detailed knowledge about the history and French colonial details in this museum. The museum also displays a collection of snail shells, temple lamps, and other handicrafts.

Pondicherry is also a popular weekend destination for residents of Chennai and Bangalore. One of the reasons being the low taxes on liquor which makes alcoholic beverages cheaper in Pondicherry. Nevertheless, tourist places in Pondicherry are a must-visit place on every tourist’s itinerary.







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