Puducherry was earlier known as Pondicherry and is still fondly referred to as ‘Pondy’. It is a city that came under Indian rule only after 1954. Till then, it was under the French rule and therefore, the city reflects quite a lot of French culture. You can find many people here still speaking French or even English with a French accent. The monuments here too boast of French architecture and aesthetic style. Overall, the city is quiet, a bit laid-back, and clean with a complacent mix of the new town that is typically south Indian and the old city that still has the French affect.
Best places to visit in Pondicherry
If you are a history and art enthusiast, then you can’t miss the Pondicherry Museum. A delight for one and all, the museum offers a peak into the rich history of the city with a great collection of handicrafts, archeological findings, sculptures, coins and furniture from the from the Arikamendu Roman settlement.
Sir Aurobindo Ashram
For a long time, Sir Aurobindo Ashram was almost synonymous to Pondicherry. Founded by the Mirra Alfassa (The Mother) and Sir Aurobindo in the year 1926, the Ashram greets the visitors with the scent of Ayurvedic medicines. The community of this ashram has over 1200 members and is visited by thousands of visitors every year from all parts of the world. This is also the burial place of its founders.
Pondicherry Botanical Garden
Home to a giant sized aquarium with beautiful fishes, six stunning fountains, a dancing fountain, Japanese rock, and an exciting children’s train; the botanical garden of Pondicherry was founded way back in 1826. Spread in a huge area of 22 acres, it has various species of plants, trees and flora. Don’t miss the weekend show of musical fountain in the evenings.
Auroville is a unique universal township where people from different religions, cultures and nationalities stay together and live in harmony and peace. Various activities are carried out here and you can look forward to visiting Sadhana forest, Windarra farm, Solitude farm, Budha garden, Pebble garden. Matrimandir is another beautiful place to help anyone who wants to concentrate and learn.
A leisurely stroll at this tranquil beach is just what you need for complete relaxation. Located in one of the sprightliest areas of the city, the beach has many restaurants and cafes on the roadside to add to your joy. Many of these cafes boast of colonial time’s architecture. A perfect place to unwind, it can be visited anytime during the day.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Church
One of the most revered places of the city, the sacred heart of Jesus church is situated in the south boulevard of Pondicherry. It is an ideal illustration of rich Gothic architecture and glass stained colorful panels demonstrating the life span of Jesus Christ. This church is a sacred place of worship for Christians and holds great religious importance.
List of Things you must do while in Pondicherry
Visit the French Quarter
Your trip to Pondicherry cannot be completed without visiting the French quarters. A series of white and mustard buildings standing disheveled in the cobbled streets, French quarter is a place to be to take a heritage walk in area that has lived a glorious era. Visit Bharti Park, Gandhi memorial, French Consulate and the seafront of Goubert Avenue while in the French Quarters.
Sita (South Indian Traditional Arts)
One of the best things to do in Pondicherry is to pay a visit to this Indian-Franco cultural center offering a range of activities such as French cooking, Bollywood or Bharatanatyam dances, Tamil language, kolam making, henna tattoos, Pilates, yoga, Ayurveda and more. The beauty of these activities is that you can join them for a single session as well, so if you are a visitor, you can enjoy these activities without having to stay for long.
Ayurveda Holistic Healing Centre
Come here to detox, de-stress and relieve your body ailments with the help of traditional Indian heritage of Ayurveda. Enjoy world renowned massages, back procedures, skin treatments, yoga courses, and more. Make this the most relaxing and rejuvenating activity of your trip to Pondicherry.
Sri Manakula Vinayagar temple
If you want to witness the reign of Hinduism and beliefs in a city that has one of the most churches in the country, then a visit to Sri Manakula Vinayagar temple is a must. Visitors and tourists curiously wait in line to get a head pat from the elephant of this Ganesha temple. Don’t forget to take an admirable look at more than 40 beautifully painted friezes.
Best time to visit Pondicherry
October to February is the perfect time to visit the city of Pondicherry. Not only is the climate cooler, a lot of beach and watersports activities are also carried out around this time. However, if you want a quieter season to explore this beautiful city without the hustle- bustle of tourists, then July to September would be a good time to visit the city and enjoy the light rain showers too.
Did You Know
- Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India.
- The city has Tamil, Telugu, French, English and Malayalam as most prevalent languages.
- Agriculture constitutes of occupation for 45% of the people in Pondicherry.
- Liquor rates in Pondicherry is without taxes which means a bottle of cold beer costs less than a bottle of cold drink.
- It is one of the cleanest cities of India.