19th Century Light House
Varadaraja Perumal Temple
Church of our Lady of the Angels
Mailam Murugan Temple
Paradise Beach (Plage Paradiso)
Mahatma Gandhi Statue
Welcome to Pondicherry (Puducherry) City,
Pondicherry, is a Union Territory of India. It is also known as "Puducherry".It is a former French colony, consisting of four non-contiguous enclaves, or regions, and named after the largest region, Puducherry. The territory was known as Pondicherry until 2006 when it was given the name for which the region was known prior to foreign rule.
Pondicherry is also considered an educational hub of southern India, having 1 central university, 8 medical colleges,10 engineering colleges, 3 dental colleges, 2 law colleges, 1 veterinary college, 1 agricultural college, 10 arts and science colleges, and 5 polytechnic colleges functioning within its territory. Many medical and engineering colleges including one national institute of technology and a state-owned university are also reported to be in queue. It is famous for its churches, temples and beaches.
This light house was used for the first time on July 1st 1836 and continued to be used upto the year 1979. This now- abandoned lighthouse stands on the edge of the sea.
This gleaming white monument built during the time of Napoleon III, Emperor of the France. The monument commemorates both the provision of water to the French city during his reign and the good deed of a lady some 300 years before.
Ananda Ranga Pillai was the celebrated dubash of Dupleix, the governor of puducherry while it flourished under the French glory. Pillai's compilation of diaries serve as a storehouse of information on the 18th century French India. His mansion, completed sometime in 1738, is one of the oldest surviving buildings on the west side - then known as "natives' quarters".Its architecture represents a curious mix of French and Indian styles.
Visiting the century old Anglo-French Textile mills in Pondicherry is not only educative but also of tourism importance. The mill gives 10% rebate to the tourists who go on guided tours/buses on the purchases made. The world claimed fabrics and products of the mill will not only be a memento of Pondicherry but also can be used as gifts besides being products of utilitarian/aesthetic value in the houses.
Arikamedu, the ancient Roman trade centre is 4 Kms. south of puducherry on the right bank of Ariyankuppam river. It has a long history that dates back to the second century B.C. The port town was inhabited by Romans, Cholas and French who left their mark on this wonderful place. The Roman treasure trail and Arikamedu river cruise take you down the History lane. An unforgettable experience that you wouldn't want to miss.
Two perpendicular walls were accidently laid open and it was suggested that the bricks of this wall and that found in Gangaikondacholapuram are similar, though one cannot be sure. Therefore it is not possible to place the walls in any specific time period yet.
Except for the perpendicular walls and mission house there is not much that can be seen on the surface as the excavated trenches have been filled up. Coconut and Mango trees are there in abundance. Its almost like they are intent upon reminding one to step out of the time machine into the realm of reality. The plantations take your breath away. The mangoes hanging from the lower branches feel like the forbidden fruit and the orchard itself truns into the garden of Eden.
Auroville is a universal township which can accommodate a population of 50,000 people from all over the world. This concept of Ideal Township was thought by the Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the early 1930. In 1960 the proposal was offered to the Mother by the Sri Aurobindo society and was passed with her blessings. The proposal was then conveyed to the Indian Government and was subsequently put before the general assembly of UNESCO and was also passed unanimously.
The main purpose to build such township was to realize human unity and transformation of consciousness among the people of the whole world. It will give the spiritual, cultural, environmental and social needs to the mankind. Now the total population of this city is 1700 who are from 35 different nations. The population is growing constantly. These people are from all social classes, background and culture. At the centre of the township lies the Peace area comprising of the Matri Mandir. The amphitheatre contains the soil of 121 nations and 23 Indian states.
The Auroville Beach as the name indicates is close to Auroville. It is right off the ECR, opposite the road leading to Auroville. Located around 12 kms from the main puducherry town, its shallow waters and small waves make it an ideal place of swimming. It is a fairly popular destination on weekends. On weekdays it is relatively less crowded.
No visit to puducherry is complete without a walk along beach road. Friday, Saturday and Sunday and holiday evening are busiest. The Police close both end of the road for vehicular traffic. Beach road has little of architectural interest, but oceans of simple charm and officially called Goubert Avenue.
Subramanya Bharathi (1882-1921), Bharathiyar to all, was a Tamil poet-patriot who arrived in puducherry in 1908 a fugitive from British India. The Free French air brought the best in Bharathi and some of his finest patriotic and romantic compositions were born here. Bharathi's home also known as Bharathi Musuem, on No. 20, Eswaran Dharamaraja Koil Street, is almost a place of pilgrimage today for the Tamil people.
The Government Park or Bharati Park is in the green centre of the French Town and its lush trees provide ample relieve from the scorching sun on a hot summer day. With children playing in ponds, on their hill or in the traffic park, grown-ups sitting or lying on granite benches, families on a picnic and occassional sit-ins of striking citizens, the park is the most appreciated public area in town. Strolling under the cool trees is as dynamic as it gets. Unless people rush to the spot when an occassional movie is being shot.
The Aayi Mandapam has become the unmistakable centre from which four lanes divide the Park in four almost equal parts. The area is dotted with ancient sculptures and not so ancient statues.
The backwater and the lush greenery on both sides of Chunnambar provide an ideal setting for boating. Boats are available on hire on all days of the week. A most enjoyable hydroplane and facilities for boating and fishing make this an ideal site for relaxation and picnic.
The Botanical Gardens are located south of the New Bus Stand. The gate leading to the garden is reminiscent of French architecture and it stands out from its immediate surroundings because it is smack in the middle of the old Tamil town. The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in the ornate French style, with pruned trees, beautiful flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The French introduced many exotic plants from all over the world, many of which thrived. With over 1500 species of plants, this could actually qualify as one of the best botanical gardens in South India.
The gardens also have a musical fountain which is active over the weekends, with two shows in the evening. Check for timings and the frequency of the shows as they may change depending on the season.
A small museum located next to the Botanical Gardens, it has a good collection of snail shells from the puducherry region.
It is a seaside park with a statue of a Dupleix. Marquis Joseph Francois Dupleix was an integral part of puducherry's colonial past. He was the governor of puducherry between 1742 and 1754. The 2.88 m tall statue of Dupleix stands at the southern end of the park. Even though Dupleix left puducherry in 1754, French recognition of his contribution came only in 1870, with the commissioning of two statues-one in puducherry and the other in France.
Chunnambar is situated 8 kms from puducherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical paradise is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cozy seaside tent for yourself. Overnighting within the tree-houses on the backwater banks provides a relishing experience of the great outdoors.
The beach at Chunnambar also known as Plage Paradiso, is located near the mouth of the backwater. The sand is pristine and the water, clean. It's and ideal place for sun bathing and beach sports. A short, pleasant cruise into the sea from here could reward you with the memorable sight of playful dolphins in natural habitat, horsing around.
Seagulls the multicuisine restaurant cum bar is a stone's throw from the backwater. It specialises in Chinese and Tandoori food. The restaurant too has a view of the backwaters. It is an ideal setting for a theme party or an offbeat get-together. It also serves food in the huts just outside the restaurant. You can also order a picnic lunch to the beach and you shall be served there in style.
'Sunrise Panorama' (a two storey tree top house) gives you an unrestricted view of the backwater up to its mouth. 'Palm house' on the other hand overlooks the artificial pond and the park. 'Nest bird' is the perfect abode for the adventure loving folks, it has a rope ladder that leads to a small balcony. All in a tree house!
The church is located at Ariyankuppam, a tiny village 4 km south of puducherry. The church makes for an interesting cycling expedition off the beaten track. The church founded in 1690 was subsequently rebuilt several times. The interior has rounded arches carrying a vault over the central aisle. A freestanding Crucifix is displayed upon the altar and brightly painted wooden images are set on shelves in the side walls.
Besides these imposing structures there are various smaller churches and shrines in puducherry which have their devout followers, like The Church of Francis Assist, which was built in 1843, the shrine of St. Anthony in the French Quarter, The Saint John Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Constructed in 1865, this church witnesses a rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, gifted by French Emperor Napoleon III. Built in a Greek Roman architectural style, the church has a very well furnished interior with serene and quite atmosphere. The pastel peach and lime colours give it a very cool appearance. The cemetery just next to the church has the tomb of Marquis de Bussy, a strong follower of Joseph Francois Dupleix. These sites are visited by people of all faiths and religions.
Located at Nellitoppu, on the western outskirts of the city, this church was built in 1851. The main entrance has an image of Our Lady and on the left towers is the statue of St. George in the act of slaying a yall-like monster. Inside the church you will find some of the finest glided altarpieces including a Crucifix surrounded by flying angels.
Located on rue Dumas, this is one of the first churches to be built in puducherry. Even though it was one of the very few buildings that partially survived the destruction of the town in 1761, it is a mere shadow of its past glory, except for its rather interesting gable. Today, it houses an orphanage.
Located on Subbayah Salai, this white and brown neo-gothic church is one of Pondy's finest Catholic churches. It was built by French missionaries in the 1700's in a contrasting Neo-Gothic manner, with towers flanking a central gable and stained glass windows on the side. The church has an imposing entrance and the beautiful stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ's life. Further along the southern boulevard is the cemetery which has some interesting tombs with ornate marble decorations.
French Consulate General is the only diplomatic mission in town. This colonial building has changed over the years, and yet manages to retain some of its original 18th Century charm. The consulate is open to French citizens.
This classical colonial building is now called as the French Institute of Indology, a research institute that explores Indian civilization, history, society in ecology and environmental development in South and Southeast Asia. Established in the mid 1950s by an eminent French Indologist, Dr. Jean Fillozet, the institute was originally set up for the study of local language and culture. Now it has links with various French universities and research organizations in France.
The centre is also dedicated in preserving palm leaf manuscripts and promoting the Indian languages. The building has a very well decked entrance gate with pediment, arched staircases, arcades and windows.
The French War Memorial on Goubert Avenue is solemn reminder of those brave soldiers who laid down their lives, for their country during the First World War. Every year on the 14th July (Bastille Day) the memorial is beautifully illuminated and homage is paid to those brave martyrs.
This beautiful mosque on Mulla Street is a rare architectural monument. It is one of the oldest mosques in Pondicherry. It has a very well maintained prayer hall that can accommodate more than hundred devotees during Friday prayer session.
Located next to the old lighthouse on Goubert Avenue, the museum is open on all days except Monday. This rater unusual museum has a collection of over 120 dolls, each one dressed in costumes from different Indian states. Also on display is a little ?fairyland' with a tiny Ganesha watching over all the proceedings.
Located on Bharathi Street, this temple is different from most other South Indian temples by virtue of its lack of colour and ornamentation. Its starkness is what makes it stand out from the rest. This dark rust coloured temple is dedicated to Durga, the goddess of war.
This temple, dedicated to the godess Shakti is unique as it seems to be strongly influenced by the French architectural style. Located on M.G.Road, it has an unusual blend of both Tamil and French architecture. With its arched walls, ionic columns, stained glass windows and even some angel decorations, it is reminiscent of a French building. However, the inner ceiling supported by the more traditional granite pillars and the sanctum sanctoram, which has a typical Tamil design, highlights the more traditional Tamil features.
There is a huge banyan tree near the village here. The canopy of the 400 year old tree covers a few acres at the very least. Kizhoor a border village is situated at a distance of nearly 28 kms from puducherry. It is a historic place in the sense that it is here only in the year 1954. Voting took place for the merger of puducherry with the Indian Union. As part of the celebrations of 50th Anniversary of De-facto puducherry, a permanent Exhibition of paintings relating to the merger of puducherry was opened at the Kizhoor Monument.
Kuthbha mosque is the first mosque in puducherry.It is said that it was near the Seventh day school now, during 17th century. As the mosque was in the white area the FRENCH people ordered them to vacate the place and shift the mosque and the Islam society to the southern end after the channel.
It was once the port office when the railway ran along Beach Road from the South Boulevard to the old 240 meters iron pier. A cyclone in 1952 largely destroyed the pier whose remains can still be seen poking out of the water.
This is a highlight of puducherry. A four-meter statue of Mahatma Gandhi is surrounded by eight magnificent granite pillars, which were supposedly brought from Gingee, a fort some 70 Kms. from puducherry.
It is about 50 km from Pondicherry town. There is a Murugan temple atop a hillock. The Panguni Uthhiram festival held in March-April attracts devotees in large numbers.
This temple is more than 300 years old and is dedicated to Ganesha. It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesha. The temple also has a smaller shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan, who is Ganesha's younger brother. Over 5000 devotees flock to this site everyday. The temple compound also plays host to ?Lakshmi', the temple elephant, who uses her trunk to dispense blessings and to collect coins from the devotees.
It is about 50 km from Pondicherry town. This is the location of the first Pallava cave temple for the Hindu trinity-Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Called Lakshitayatana, it was built during the reign of Pallava King Mahendra Varaman I.
Meeran mosque is the oldest mosque in puducherry.It was built before 350 years. It has the old gothic Islam architecture in it. It was built by ARCOD NAVAB.It has four lofty pillars below its dome, with MEERHATH near it and MEEMBER next to it. It also has the KALIMA SLAB above the MEERHATH, with clean blankets spread all over the hall.
The bronze KALLASAS in the top of the fa?ade minaret adds beauty to it. It has the divine graves of MEERAN who built this mosque and SUUBHI ERRAI PERRIAR Mullah's in it. The mosque has everyday prayers in it.
To have the preaching in URUDHU and URUDHU in Islam one part of KUTHBHA MOSQUE was built as MULLA MOAHMED MOSQUE. This mosque has a small pond with fishes, clean hall, and RAMJAN fasting food cooking hall and JENESHA in it.
Located across the street from the imposing Gandhi statue, the statue is also flanked by four pillars from Gingee. The space in front plays host to various cultural, musical and commercial activities through the year.
It is about 15 km from Pondicherry town; a popular picnic spot on the Pondicherry-Villupuram route.
Located 8 kms. from the town, along the Cuddalore Main Road this beach can be accessed from the Chunnambar Resort. Flanked by a quiet flowing creek on one side, the beach can only be accessed by boat.
The traveler looking for secluded beach and calm relaxing moments, Pondicherry beaches offer you all. The soothing and cool waters, soft breeze, clear and sparkling sands and superb seclusion, the nice environment attract you to this beach paradise. If you look for, you can spend much time with the only company of a lone seagull or a sandpiper. Resorts, cafeterias, restaurants and cottages offer the required cuisine and accommodation. The beaches have cool and calm atmosphere and are perfect location for sunbathing or a quick dip in the roaring sea.
The Pondicherry Museum, also known as Puducherry Museum, is located on Saint Louis street and is open on all days except Mondays and national holidays between 1000-1700 hrs. The museum is located in the former Law Building. The museum has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from Arikamedu (an ancient port just 7 kms. from city that had trade links with the Roman empires).
On the ground floor, the major attraction is the central space with 3 curious transport mechanisms - a coach, a palanquin (sedan chair) and a pousse-pousse (an earlier version of the rickshaw) which required two attendants, one to steer and one to push. The bronze gallery displays the images of gods and goddesses together with a wide collection of temple lamps; used across different dynasties down the centuries.
Pre-Christian relics which you will find here, such as remnants of Greek and Roman jars, pieces from the Tsung Periods in China and beads made from glass and precious stones were dug out from the Arikamedu site, just south of puducherry. The museum also has a Geology room, a shell and fossil room and a collection of handicrafts, coins, church relics and French furniture.
The 1.5 km long promenade running along the beach is the pride of puducherry. There one can relax or take a stroll at any time of the day. On the sea front are several land marks. The War memorial cold and dispassionate throbbing the memory of last dreams, the statue of Joan of Arc blazing an inspiration, the heritage town hall, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi standing tall, Dupleix statue, old light house, the remains of the old pier, the old customs house, speak the splendor of the by gone era. The well furnished tourist information centre is situated in esthetically heritage building facing the sea to cater to the need of visiting tourists.
Once the official residence of the French Governor Dupleix, Raj Niwas has a well laid out garden with a sculpture of Lord Vishnu (as Varaha avatar) together with Goddess Lakshmi at the centre. The building is a harmonious fusion of both French and Indian style of architecture. Now it is used as the official residence of the Lt. Governor of the UT of Pondicherry.
The Romain Rolland library was established in 1872 and has a rich collection of more than 3,00,000 volumes in both French and English. It also boasts of a mobile library service which has a collection of more than 8000 books. These books are taken to nearby villages by bus, in order to make the books more accessible to the common man. The library also houses some rare editions of books. The reference section on the second floor is open to the general public.
This beach is a ten minutes drive to the north of the town. This virgin beach, with its serene surroundings is an ideal place to laze away your day.
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the world flocking to it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science.
The Ashram was set up in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, one of India's greatest philosopher-poets, who originally came to Pondy to escape persecution by the British. It was after arriving in puducherry, that he was drawn into the spiritual realm and discovered the power of yoga. His philosophy deeply rooted in yoga and his writings inspired a number of followers.
The ashram's influence can be felt in most of puducherry. The main ashram building is where the mortal remains of Aurobindo and the Mother are kept. Their ?Samadhi' or mausoleum, which is generally surrounded by supplicating devotees, is in the central courtyard under a frangipani tree and is covered daily with flowers.
This is located in a small town called ?Villianur', 11 kms. from puducherry. The main shrine housing the ?Shivlinga' and the shrines dedicated to the Devi and Murugan date back to the 12th century Chola period. This temple has a little bit of French heritage attached to it, though not in its architecture, but in some of its traditions. The annual Temple Car Festival which is held in the months of May and June, involves the pulling of a 15 metre tall chariot through the streets by a large crowd of devotees. During French colonial rule, the Governor of puducherry used to join this very procession and actively participate in the drawing of the chariot through the streets. This tradition lives on with the present Lieutenant Governor of puducherry participating in the festival now.
This interesting located at Villianur, a small town 11 km. from puducherry. It was erected in 1876 is modeled on that of the Basilica in France. The statue of Notre Dame was donated by the French Government a year later. A curious feature here is the Church tank, which is usually common in all the Hindu temples. We can only speculate as to the purpose of the tank. Was it an attempt to assimilate the local customs or was it built out of necessity. The ritual bathing of devotees at the tank here, a long standing tradition, is one of the highlights during the festival honouring the Madonna held in June.
Located on Goubert Avenue, this charming white building, facing the sea almost transports you to France. Use your imagination a little and you could very well be on a French sea side resort. Today it houses the offices of the puducherry Municipality.
The Church of our Lady of the Angels on rue Romain Rolland was built in 1852 in the Greek Roman architectural style. Its fa?ade, flanked by two unadorned square towers, faces east towards the ocean. The interior is roofed by a barrel vault, witha great dome rising over the crossing. The pastel peach and lime colours give it a very serene appearance.
This Church is also famous for its rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was a gift from the French emperor, Napoleon III. The cemetery next to the church has the tomb of Marquis de Bussy (dated 1785), who was one of Dupleix's most enterprising followers.
It is about 30 km from Pondicherry town. Large fossil bearing areas fenced in to create the country's first National Fossil-Wood Park here. These petrified trees lying scattered on low mounds and stream sections, date from the Cretaceous Age (100 million years ago). The Chandramouliswara Temple, a monument of great architectural grandeur dating back to the Chola period, is an added attraction. Every Pournami (Full Moon Day), people gather here to worship Goddess Kali.
Located on M.G.Road, this is believed to be the oldest temple in town, dating back to 600 AD. The temple built in the typical Dravidian style, complete with brightly coloured ?gopuram' and sculpted pillars, is probably the oldest standing structure in puducherry. This temple is dedicated to Vishnu. Legend has it, that the temple was originally built for the idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman, which were brought to the present site by fishermen, from the sea. The main deity here is Venkatachalapathy (Vishnu). Right behind that is a separate shrine for Narashima (who is also an avatar of Vishnu).
This temple also known as the Eashwaran koil, is located on M.G.Road and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It has colourful ?gopuram', adorned by the statues of gods and goddesses, like most temples in South India.
A town in Pondicherry, spread over more than 65 square kilometer area, Villianur is famous for its temple Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple. The temple is imposing for its amazing architecture. A large number of tourists throng to this city to participate in the annual temple car festival. During this festival period the merrily decorated temple chariot, 15 meter high, is taken out on a procession though the city. Some other landmarks in the city are St Lourde's Church, Swami Ram Paradesi Temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple and Ezhai Mariamman Temple. This is a calm city with all ingredients to have a nice holiday.
- The Statue of Joan of Arc at Dumas Street : Another example of the French influence in puducherry is a marble statue of the heroic French damsel Joan d'Arc, which is located in front of the Church of Our Lady of the Angles. The statue is placed in the middle of a garden.
- The French Institute of the Far East at Dumas Street : This is an internationally renowned research institute. This institute has two impressive and handsome buildings almost diagonal to each other at the corner of Dumas Street and is known for its research in the field of Indology, history and archaeology. Get prior permission to visit.
- Hotel de l'Orient at Romain Rolland Street : Built in 1809, was once the Directorate of Education and is now a hotel-restaurant-gift shop into which you might expressing your interest in its retrofitted charm even if you aren't a guest.
- Hotel Lagrenee de Meziere at Romain Rolland Street : Built in 1774 and once a private house, this classic colonial building was donated to the religious order of Saint Joseph de Cluny some 150 years ago. Today it houses a workshop which produces the most beautiful embroidery.
- Curio Centre at Romain Rolland Street : A leading shop for antique furniture and curios. The remarkable dimension of the interior rooms, which interconnect directly with each other are notable.
- Alliance Francaise at Suffren Street : This very public and busy place houses a cultural and information centre, a school for the teaching of the French language and a library.
- Saint Anthony's Shrine at Suffren Street : This is the most interesting of several small shrines in Pondy. This is one Christian place of worship where footwear is removed before entering.
- Public Works Department at Bussy Street : This classic colonial Government building is notable for entrance gate, compound wall, balcony with ironwork and brackets and high arched windows.
- Lycee Francais at Victor Simonel Street : It established in 1826, this institute still imparts education to hundreds of Pondicherrians in French. Special permission is required to visit this colonial place, with its well preserved shady courtyard, columns and balconies. It also has an interesting collection of old photographs of colonial puducherry and collection of very rare coins of the French East Indian Company.
- Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Marine Street : The Samadhi is located in the Ashram where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother worked for many years. Visitors are allowed between 08.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00 every day.
- Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Educaiton at Marine Street : It is notable for its entrance gate with courtyard, arched windows and parapet.
- Le Foyer du Soldat at Law De Lauriston Street : This is the legion hall for retired soldiers from puducherry, who waged wars on behalf of France in Europe and the colonies. The building is interesting, with a dash of colour added to it in the form of the tricolour (red, white, and blue flag) fluttering in the wind.
- Mandagupettu, Mansion Anandha etc.