Pondicherry

Puducherry, Tamil Nadu – Erstwhile largest French colony in India, famous beach town

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Nested in the southern region of India between lush greens and the Bay of Bengal is the former French colony of Puducherry. Also known as Pondicherry, the city is tucked away on the Eastern seaboard of India. Though very small, Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much Indian. French is still understood, and the whole city makes for rather pleasant mix of East and West. Some great food, some fine wine, and a great adventure await you here.

Places to see in Pondicherry: The place offers a number of sight seeing spots that includes:

Sri Aurobindo Ashram

This place was founded by Sri Aurobindo, who in the early ages was a revolutionist and then turned poet. His was jointly helped by The Mother, who was a Paris born painter. The Ashram is a centre for the practice of integral yoga, meditation, and of inner development.

Place du Panthéon / Aayi mandapam and Bharti park

This monument is the emblem of the Government of Pondicherry, previously called as La Place du Panthéon and later change into Aayi mandapam. This monument is surround by five parks, and is maintained to remind us the beauty of French architecture.

The Pondicherry Botanical Garden

The Botanical garden was created 1826 and was then called “The Colonial Park”. The renowned botanist Perottet brought many rare species of plants, about 1500 of them, from places like Madras, Calcutta, Ceylon and Reunion.

Pondicherry Beaches

If you want to spend some peaceful time you can go to the wonderful beaches and get yourself tanned with a pleasant sun at Auro beach, Sangamam beach, or Plage Paradiso (Chunnambar beach).

Heritage Walk

It is very beautiful to take a walk around the Boulevards of Pondicherry , which presents to you with three different kinds of architecture, The white town or the French area, the Tamil square, and the Muslim square.

Churches

Pondicherry had been under the French which have built many splendid churches, some which even have rare staingalss panels depicting saints and events form the life of Christ. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, on Cathedral Street, was first built in1692. It took its present shape in 1791.

Auroville

Auroville was envisioned as a Universal Town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. It is an attempt to realize a new society as envisioned by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. Nearly people from 35 countries are living here to realize on human unity and transformation of consciousness.

Auroville welcomes people from all parts of the world to live together and explore cultural, educational, scientific, spiritual, and other pursuits in accordance with the Auroville Charter. Auroville information centre and Matri Mandir [Meditation hall with world’s biggest man- made crystal ball are the places open to most of the visitors. It offers less to see and lots to experience. Auroville also has a huge golden globe called Matrimandir, in which there is a meditation chamber which is the most unique of all meditation chambers. a place where you can get the experience of a life time.

Arikamedu

Arikamedu has a long history dating back to 2nd century B.C. It was used as a port for trade with the Romans and Greco-Romans. Wine, garum sauce and olive oil, were imported and the exports must have included textile, beads, semiprecious gems, glass and shell bangles.

The Pondicherry Museum

The museum brings back memories of the glorious past of Pondicherry, from the days of the Greco-Roman era down to the present days, providing glimpses of the art and culture of the people of this region during the pallava, a Chola and Vijayanagar days. Artifacts from the excavations at Arikamedu are preserved here.

Nearby attractions from Pondicherry: From Pondicherry you can make a visit to places like:

Mamallapuram

Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram is a town in Kancheepuram district, situated 100km north of Pondicherry. It has an average elevation of 12 metres (39 feet). Mahabalipuram was a 7th century port city belonging to the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th century, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kancheepuram

65km away from Mahabalipuram, lies the fabled city of a thousand temples, Kanchipuram. There are 650 stones inscriptions in Kancheepuram belonging to different dynasties. The temples here reflect the efflorescence of Pallava art and the imposing embellishments were added later by the Chola, Vijayanagara and Chalukyan kings. The Ekambaranathar temple, the Kailasanatha temple, Sri Varadaraja temple, Sri Vaikuntaperumal temple… the names stretch endlessly. The city itself is dedicated to the presiding deity, Sri Kamakshi (one with eyes of love) at the Kamakshi temple. It is a city famous for its silk.

Things to do in Pondicherry: Enjoy boating at the Boat House on the River Chunnambar, 8 km from Pondicherry. The backwater and the lush greenery on both sides of Chunnambar provide an ideal setting. Pondicherry is also ideal place for shopping. The city is quite famous for highly creative and beautiful souvenirs.

Terra cotta, handmade papers, wooden handicraft, aromatics ics, leather
products, linens and garments are unique here.

Best time to visit Pondicherry: Although Pondicherry has a warm climate, October to March can be considered as an ideal time to visit.
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How to go ?

By Air

The closest airport is in Chennai, which is around 135 kms from Puducherry (approx. 2 ½ hrs. journey). Chennai has excellent connections with almost all cities in India and is directly connected to Europe, USA, Middle East and South East Asia. Trichy airport is 220 kms away. Bangalore (320 kms) and Madurai are the other nearby airports.

By Rail

Villupuram is the nearest railway junction, it is fairly well connected to places like Chennai, Madurai and Trichy, which is connected by rail routes to all major tourist spots.

By Road

Puducherry is well connected to all districts and major towns of various states like Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andra Pradesh. Puducherry is best accessible by road, either by bus or by taxi. There are frequent buses, almost every 15 minutes in the day from Chennai.

Where to stay ?

There are plenty of hotels in Pondicherry. Some options are:

Hotel de Pondichéry: +91- 0413 – 4200111, 2227409 Website: www.hoteldepondicherry.com
Hotel Corbelli: +91 – 413 – 2225301 , 2225302 Website: www.hotelcorbelli.com
Lotus Pondicherry Hotels: 91(413)-2228333, 2223999 Website: www.lotuspondicherryhotels.com
The Promenade – A Hidesign Hotel: +91- 0413- 222 7750 Website: www.thepromenadepondicherry.com

Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.
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