The French capital of India, Pondicherry, a small charming place is a place that offers serenity, sand and sanctity. The city is serene and its urban architecture which depicts the French style invites lot of people from around the world. This little tiny place is all about chilling and relaxing with your dear ones. Here is a list of Top things to do in Pondicherry:
- 1. Be a Beach Baby
The beaches in Pondicherry have distinctive charm. The beautiful beaches in Pondy, viz. Paradise, Promenade, Serenity and Auroville have something exclusive to offer you. Starting from the fun and exciting boat rides to Paradise beach, the colourful flea markets at Serenity beach to the unique shacks at Auroville beach and the French memorial and an iconic lighthouse at the Promenade beach.
Spend a romantic evening while walking on Pondicherry’s promenade beach over- looking the great Goubert Avenue which is lined by colonial buildings. The most clean and beautiful beach, beach Paradise will make you go awe with its beauty. To reach the destination, you will have to take a boat ride. The beach is pristine and serene. Serenity beach is serene as the name suggests. The beach is a perfect spot to try some adventurous water sports. One can go for scuba diving or snorkelling to explore the colors of underwater world. The place also offers exciting water rides and sports like banana rides, speed boats and kayaking. If not, just spend some time in trekking, picnicking or beach volleyball.
Pondicherry Beaches are beach lovers paradise. The beaches and beach activities are cheaper as compared to other Indian beaches and are even more beautiful which hence attracts more tourists and nature lovers to Pondicherry. Enjoy the amazing surrounding, aqua blue sea water and glittering golden sand.
- 2. Get Back in Time at French Colony
French colonies in Pondy was a base of the French East India company during the period of 1675 to 1954. The unique city is a perfect blending of two traditions and huge and influential periods of Pondy i.e. French and Tamil. The city is separated into 2 parts, one is the traditional Tamil quarters and other is colourful, quiet and stunning French colonies. The French quarters are famous for the French style villas with wide, quiet and cobbled streets. Do not miss to visit the beautiful Hotel de Ville or the Town Hall or today’s local Municipal office building. Each part of the city is distinctive with architectural style, colours yet, unify perfectly to give an entirely offbeat experience to the visitors.
- Meditate at Shri Aurobindo Ashram
Shri Aurobindo is a well-known and respectable personality almost in all over the world.
In the early half of 20th century, Sri Aurobindo stayed at this ashram along with the mother of ashram, Morra Alfassa and few of his disciples and his spiritual colleagues.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the suggested and most-favoured tourist destination in Pondicherry where people come for the enlightenment and spiritual harmony.
With all the yoga practices and meditation, the atmosphere of the ashram is very serene and peaceful. One can look after several exhibitions and videos about Shri Aurobindo’s life & work. Shri Aurobindo and the mother’s samadhi are also placed at the ashram. The souvenir shop or the craft centre is a place where one can buy various items like handmade dolls, perfumes and ayurvedic medicines. The cafeteria in the ashram has some tasty and delicious desserts, snacks and meals.
The ashram is visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world to seek peace and integrity in life. It is open 8 am to 6 pm with a break from 12 pm – 2 pm.
- 4. Spend some time at Auroville
The “City of Dawn” or “Auroville” is a purposefully planned and experimental city whose main aim is to grow India through the concept of peaceful co-existence. Auroville is designed by famous architect Roger Anger and is situated near to Pondicherry, named after Sri Aurobindo. Auroville is the perfect location for those who wants to know more about India and indian spirituality. It was created to get harmony.
The spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo started this project in 1960 with the aim to make sure that people attain divine accomplishment and can find the meaning of their life through peaceful living with each other irrespective of their colour, religion, etc. The place has a huge architectural wonder which is known as Matri mandir. It is located in the center of the city and has around 56 kg of gold on the dome. This glowing building is commonly known as a portent of serenity, peace and tranquillity.
Auroville people produce everything they need to survive. You can also visit their shop to buy some of their products.
A Visit to Auroville is indeed going to bring a unique experience.
- 5. Explore nature at Pondy
Nature parks and Botanical gardens always attracts tourists and nature lovers in all over the world. When it comes to Pondicherry, there is no exception. Pondicherry has beautiful Botanical garden and a state park which invites tourists from all over the globe to visit and spend some good time with nature.
Bharati Government Park in Pondicherry is one of the most neat and organised parks in India. Once considered as a French Town, the park is now busy with the visitors and tourists who visit it with the families and kids. The park has a local museum and a stunning pond. The park is divided into equal four parts and displays a erfect combination of modern statues and old sculptures. An art gallery which is located in the park is very popular among the locals as well as travellers. The place is also a house to the home of the Lieutenant Governor, Raj Niwas which was once the Palace of Pondicherry’s French Governor.
The park is surrounded among the hills is a best place to enjoy some quality time with family and enjoy a different variety of things. The Botanical Garden in Pondicherry is a home to different varieties of plants. All far from the daily hustle-bustle of city life, the garden is as one of the pleasant places to see and visit in Pondicherry.
The garden was built in 1826 with traditional French styled architecture and provides an clear insight into how French architecture developed and the impact of French colonization on the development of Pondicherry. Initially, the garden served for locals to enjoy their spare time in refreshing themselves along with flowers, trees and grasses. Later, several types of exotic species of various plants secured from all over the globe and now, this botanical garden in Pondy has approximately 1500 species of various plants. Tourists can enjoy the view of beautiful fountains, stony paths, trimmed trees and beautiful flowerbeds. The garden organises musical fountain shows on every weekend.
- Find serenity at Churches The 150 years old dome of the Notre Dame des Anges and twin towers are peaceful and serene buildings to sit for a while and dive into peace. Don’t miss to see the marble figure of Joan of Arc in the front. The beautiful and grand sacred heart basilica has some astonishing marked glass windows which portrays stories from the Christ’s life.
- Eat all Out
Pondy is a perfect place to try some delicious French cuisines along with the traditional Tamil dishes. The flavours of French cuisines will make you go wow while the authentic Tamil dishes will make you have some more. Since Pondy is a union territory, rates of alcohol are quite cheaper than the other places in India. So, Eat Drink and repeat.
8. Be a Shopaholic
Pondy is comparatively cheap as compared to other places so, Shopping is quite affordable in Pondicherry. Pondy has huge markets for leather goods which has spread its wings even overseas. Along with leather shops, handicrafts and textile work is also fairly reasonable in Pondy. Pondy is also a great spot to shop French colonial antiques and furniture. Not only international brands but also handmade clothes like kurtas, saris can be found here with fair prices. Also, the lamp shades, candles, ethnic jewellery, delicious chocolates and many more things makes shopping a fun. All these things are available at colourful flea market alongside the beaches in Pondicherry.
- Manakula Vinayagar Temple
The Hindu temple dedicated to god Ganesha is not only a popular religious site in Pondy but also one of the favourite and mostly visited tourist destination. Popularly known for its stunning structure and beauty, the temple came into existence during 1666 AD, even prior to French came to this place. The temple has different names and different types of god Ganesha. The place is also famous for a saint named Thollaikkathu Siddhar, who was six feets tall with a broad forehead and delightful eyes. It is said that, the saint gained enlightenment from this temple where he later sacrificed his life.
The shrine of the temple is famous for its 7.5 kg golden chariot made with the help of donations by several devotees. The temple is a perfect example of traditional Indian culture and its heritage and a proof that even after French colonization, the temple was able to stand on its feet with its originality even though several attacks and attempts were made to demolish the temple.
Devotees bring in their new born children to this temple to seek the blessings from the god.
Best Time To Visit Pondicherry
The suggested best time to see and visit Pondicherry is from October month to March.
How To Reach Pondicherry
Reach to Pondicherry by Air: The nearby airport to reach to Pondicherry is Chennai. Chennai is well connected by almost all the domestic and international flights. Chennai is approximately 150 Km from Pondy.
Reach to Pondicherry by Rail: The nearest railway station to Pondicherry is Villupuram which is around 36km. Villupuram is well connected to Trivandrum, Chennai and Madurai.
Reach to Pondicherry by Road: Almost all the main cities in Tamilnadu are well connected to Pondy with the help of state and national highways. Direct bus service available from Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to reach to Pondicherry.