The town of Pondicherry boasts of a rich legacy inherited from the French colonialism that has contributed immensely to the unique culture and heritage of the region.
Travellers coming here get a feel as if they have entered a French town. It is one of the most scenic places in the country and you can see the remains of various French architecture here.
The place and surrounding regions offer many attractions to be explored, ranging from unique heritage stays to beaches and ashrams.
Auroville which is also known as the City of Dawn is located at a distance of about 8 km from Pondicherry and is a town where different nationalities and cultures meet. This township which is home to people from about 50 different countries is widely regarded as a global town. Easily accessible by road, Auroville City stands as an epitome of cultural harmony and community living. The chief attraction of the city is Matrimandir which draws visitors with its architectural grandeur. Auro Beach is also located in proximity to the city and serves as an excellent unwinding spot to travelers and tourists.
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Sacred Heart Church
The Church of Sacred Heart Of Jesus is one of the most famous and important churches in Pondicherry. it has been designed in accordance to the Gothic style of architecture and attracts numerous visitors throughout the year. One of the most striking and easily noticeable features of this church are the stained glass windows which depict the life and times of Jesus Christ. The church is a place that affords the visitor an aura of peace and tranquility.
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French War Memorial
The French War Memorial in Pondicherry was erected in memory of the fallen French war heroes of the First World War. This memorial was constructed in the year 1971 and every year on Bastille Day the memorial is decorated with beautiful illuminations. It is on this day that homage is paid to the fallen French Martyrs. The memorial is located at Pondicherry's Goubert Avenue and is open to visitors throughout the day. Visiting the memorial and paying tribute to the martyrs is a must do when at Pondicherry.
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The Promenade Beach was once the prime attraction of Pondicherry but sea erosion caused by the construction of a new harbor in Ariyankuppam has been the death knell to this once beautiful beach. All that remains of the beach is a seawall of riprap boulders that make it unsuitable for strolling or swimming. Movement of traffic along the beach has been banned in the evenings, transforming it into the ideal place for wandering by the sea. It is still a must visit location at Pondicherry.
Photo Courtesy: Karthik Easvur
Pondicherry Museum is another landmark that must not be missed when at Pondicherry. Inside the museum there is a gallery which houses sculptures and several important archaelogical findings from the Arikamedu Roman Settlement. The museum is a storehouse of rare artifacts from times immemorial. The collection displayed here includes several rare sculptures in bronze and stone from the Chola and Pallava dynasties. The museum also houses a very good collection of shells that have been collected and brought from the Pondicherry region. The museum also affords the visitor the opportunity to learn about the colonial past of Pondicherry and provides a good insight into French Colonial rule in India.
Photo Courtesy: Prabhupuducherry
The Aurobindo Ashram was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose who had fled to Pondicherry to escape the oppression of the British. The ashram was headed by Mira Alfassa who is better known as 'Mother'. It is a spiritual place and people of all religion can come here. The ashram does not allow children below three years of age into the premises and photography is possible only with special permission from the Ashram management. There is also a library here which can be accessed with permission from the Ashram authorities.
Photo Courtesy: Aravind Sivaraj
How to Reach Pondicherry
By Air: The closest airport to Pondicherry is at Chennai. The airport has regular domestic and international flights coming here. It is well connected with all the major cities of India.
By Train: Pondicherry has its own railway station. Trains from all major cities in the country stop at Pondicherry.
By Road: Pondicherry is well connected to the rest of the country by a good network of roads. Frequent bus services are available to Pondicherry from different parts of Tamil Nadu like Coimbatore, Chennai and Madurai. Buses bound for Pondicherry also start from Bangalore.