A fusion of the French and Indian culture, Pondicherry, a Union Territory, is a famous tourist spot in South India sharing its border with Tamil Nadu and the Bay of Bengal.
The region is a salad bowl of French and Indian culture, with the perfect dressings of temples, churches, café and beaches. Being a perfect weekend getaway destination, don’t miss exploring these places in Pondicherry.
Located nearly 10 kms away from Pondicherry, a 20-minute drive via NH32 will lead you to Auroville. Auroville is a universal city in the making dedicated to the ideal of human unity based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
A 10-minute walk from the Visitors centre inside Auroville will lead you to the famous Matrimandir, where you can avail yourself peace and tranquillity. After having a peaceful meditation, treat yourself to yummy foods at the Marc’s Café.
You can go to the Visitor’s centre if you have queries about the place. But make sure you plan your trip to Auroville accordingly as it is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays and Saturday and only from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm on Sundays.
White town – French Quarter
Wrapped in Bougainvillea and French culture, with the Bay of Bengal as one of its borders, this part of Pondicherry still has its coloniser’s essence.
If you are a person who is fascinated by French culture, architecture and food, then this place is a must-visit for you. The then French houses are now turned into cafes, restaurants and art galleries.
The best way to explore this place is by renting a bicycle or a scooter. Many of the tourist attractions like Promenade beach, Aurobindo ashram, Gandhi statue are located in this locality.
Also known as Rock beach or Pondicherry beach, it is a 1.2 km long stretch, starting from War Memorial and ending at Dupleix park at Goubert Avenue.
Though you wouldn’t be able to relish the seawater because of the huge rocks between the sea and land, you can take a blissful stroll or jog in the promenade, shop at the various cloth and handicrafts stalls along the lane and enjoy the food with the sea view by the cafes along the road.
After a long stroll in the Promenade beach, you can see this majestic bronze statue of our Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, standing tall amid the white pillars.
People who visit Promenade beach will definitely come across this statue. This place is only 2 km from the bus stand. It also offers a seating area for the visitors. So, sit there and witness the beauty of Pondicherry.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
If you are in search of peace, then Sri Aurobindo Ashram is the place you must go. Located in the Marine street of the White Town, this is one of the biggest ashrams which was once the living place of The Mother.
The ashram has the samadhi of The Mother and the things she used are kept here on display for visitors. The books she used are kept in the library and there is a meditation hall with allotted timings. Located on one of the most popular streets, Rue de la Marine, the ashram represents tranquillity. This place is open on all days from 8:30–11:00 am and from 4:00-6:00 pm.
A 30-minute journey from Pondicherry will lead you to Paradise beach, a serene isolated beach, separated from the mainland. A ferry ride for 20 minutes will take you to the beach through the backwaters which are walled by green trees and plants with the twittering of birds.
Apart from the ferry ride, the beach also offers a variety of fun games and activities like horse riding, speed boating, trampoline, fishing and many more. Take a walk along the beach, build sandcastles, throw the balls across the net, enjoy the hot bhajis and relish the weekend with your family and friends.
Manakula Vinayagar Koil
Since this ancient temple is situated near the seashore (sand in Tamil- manal) and next to the tank (kulam in Tamil), it got its name as Manakula Vinayagar Koil.
With the temple tower covered with gold, this ancient temple is a popular pilgrimage site in Pondicherry. You can visit the temple during the Vinayaga Chaturthi festival and witness the grand celebrations.
Situated in White Town, this place is open on all days. You can see the temple walls covered with beautiful paintings of the birth of Lord Vinayagar, the killing of Kayamuga Sura and many more.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
This 100-year-old Basilica with its Gothic architecture is a must visit location in Pondicherry. Located on the south boulevard of Pondicherry, you can view the 23 rare stained-glass panels depicting the life of Christ and the saints of the church in this Basilica.
The calm ambience in the church makes the visitors attain divinity and also enjoy the beauty of the architecture. This catholic church celebrated its centenary year in 2008 by releasing a special postal stamp and a postal envelope.
Built in order to honour the martyrs of the First World War, the French War Memorial, located opposite to the Gandhi Statue, is one of the best places to visit in Pondicherry.
The emotions sprawling in this small area are huge on the 14th of July, Bastille Day. People from all over Pondicherry and many other places visit the place on 14th July to pay their respects.
This place is only for the shopaholics! The busy Nehru street has everything from clothes to sandals and decorative items! You have it all here.
Located in the M.G. Road area, opposite the police station, this is the most preferred market of the locals. Since this is a street market, this place is mostly bustling with people. Open on all days this place is a one-stop destination for all your necessities.
Read More: Discover Your India