Pondicherry, officially known as Puducherry since 2006, is the capital city of the union territory known by the same name. Both the city and the territory boast of a rich legacy inherited from French colonialism which has contributed massively to the unique culture and heritage of the region. The union territory of Pondicherry is constitutive of four coastal provinces that spread across three Indian states: Yanam (in Andhra Pradesh), Pondicherry city, Karaikal (both situated on eastern coasts of Tamil Nadu) and Mahe (located across the western coasts of Kerala).
Placed on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, the city of Pondicherry lies at a distance of about 162 km from Chennai. The region was under the French rule and was a major French colony from 16704 until 1954. The French enjoyed an uninterrupted rule in Pondicherry for about three centuries and left a great legacy which is manifested best the culture and architecture of the city.
A Potpourri of Sightseeing Choices - Tourist Places in and around Pondicherry
For a traveler who seeks a diversified travel experience, Pondicherry offers an excellent destination. The city has four finest beaches namely The Promenade beach, Paradise beach, Serenity beach and Auroville beach, which present visitors with a rejuvenating holidaying experience. Another chief attraction of the place is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, one of the best known ashram and meditation center in India.
Auroville City, also known as City of Dawn, attracts tourists with its unique culture, heritage monuments and architecture. Pondicherry houses a number of monuments and statutes including the Gandhi Statue, the Matrimandir, the French War Memorial, Joseph Francois Dupleix statue and the marble statue of Joan of Arc located on Goubert Avenue. Other attractions of the city which demand a visit include the Pondicherry Museum, Jawahar Toy Museum, the Botanical Garden, Ousteri Wetland, he Bharathidasan Museum and National Park, Arikamedu, The Statue of Dupleix and the Raj Niwas.
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The city has an interesting amalgam of religious places that consist of churches and Hindu temples. The most visited religious spots of Pondicherry are The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (also known as The Church of Our Lady of Angels), the Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple and Kanniga Parameswari Temple.
City of Unique Architectures
Pondicherry, a city blessed with sea and unique architecture, gives a mind-blowing to travelers when explored on feet. The entire city is constructed in a grid pattern and is best known for its significant degree of French influence. Many streets of the city have French names and palatial houses as well as villas built in colonial architecture offer a magnificent sight to the visitors.
The city is separated into two quarters namely the French quarter (also known as White Town or Ville Blanche) and the Indian quarter (known otherwise as Black Town or Ville Noire). The former is characterized by building built in typical colonial architecture, and the latter boasts of ancient Tamil styles and designs. The fusion of these two unique styles gives the city of Pondicherry an air of elegance and distinctiveness.
Pondicherry, with its culture imbued with French and Tamil influences, offers a mosaic of culinary wonders to food lovers. Travelers can enjoy authentic French baguettes, brioches and pastries in this city along with traditional Tamil and Kerala cuisines. Le Club, Blue Dragon, Statsanga, Rendezvous, Sea Gulls, Le Café, La Coromandale and La Terrasse are some of the recommended places for exquisite dining experience.
The streets and boutiques of the city serve as paradise for those who enjoy shopping. The wide ranging array of handicrafts, fabrics, stones, wooden sculptures, mats, pottery, perfumes, incenses, mirror works, lamps and candles offers an excellent shopping experience to those who stroll through the city. International Yoga Festival during December, the French Food Festival during the month of August and the shopping festival of January rate among the most frequented festivals of the region.
The city of Pondicherry enjoys good connectivity by rail and road. The region is pleasantly weathered and draws travelers from across the globe all through the year.
With its unique cultural traits, excellent food varieties and a wide range of sightseeing options, Pondicherry is a true delight to travelers who long for a different travel experience.