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Home  »  South India Travel  »  Tamilnadu »  Cities » Pondicherry
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Pondicherry Travel Guide

Attractions
Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, The Pondicherry Beach, The French Institute, The Churches of Pondicherry, Pondicherry Temples, The Botanical Gardens, The Pondicherry Museum
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Pondicherry Information

Location : Pondicherry is a union territory, which is confined by the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu from all sides.
Tourist Attractions : Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville; The Pondicherry Beach; The French Institute; The Churches of Pondicherry; Pondicherry Temples; The Botanical Gardens; The Pondicherry Museum; Jawahar Toy Museum.
Best Buys : Local handicraft items.
Best Hangouts : The Pondicherry Beach
Best Activity : Strolling along the beach side, Lazing around.
Nearby Tourist Destinations : Bangalore 503 kms, Chidambaram 68 kms, Kanchipuram 113 kms, Chennai 162 kms, Mamallapuram 134 kms, Thanjavur 170 kms, Thiruvannamalai 103 kms, Trichy 198 kms, etc.
When to Visit : Any time of the Year.

About Pondicherry
A colonial enclave in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry a fine blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied town. This picture perfect town is home to the much acclaimed Audorobindo Ashram and is noted for its lovely French architecture and cuisine. Quiet beaches and peaceful resorts to the north and south balance the town's enthusiastic, yet smooth sailing life.

Church of Immaculate Conception - PondicherryIt is a perfect base to explore the rich tourists destinations around it, like : Auroville, the international City of Unity; the imposing Gingee Fort, the holy temple towns of Kanchipuram, Tiruvannamalai and Chidambaram, the heritage sculptures and magnificent rock temples of Mamallapuram, and the cool and lush hillstations of Yercaud and Kodaikanal. Well connected by rail and road to other French capital leaves an inerasable image on one's mind.

Major Tourist Attractions in Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville
Shree Aurobindo and The Mother, his most noted disciple, set up the Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville in 1926. Together they explored the possibilities of yoga and meditation as a path to salvation. At the Ashram residents continue to practice their teachings and run a lot of the cultural activity in Pondicherry. There is an educational centre, which occasionally hosts lectures, screens films and holds play performances.

The Pondicherry Beach
The sun, sea and sand are best at the beaches of Pondicherry. Serene surroundings, bracing breeze, the musical sea, they all manage to make your leisure time more fruitful. The town beach has a 4 m high statue of Mahatma Gandhi and French World War I memorial. There is a 150-year-old lighthouse also, a place not to miss.

The French Institute
The French Institute is built in french architectural style. It has some remarkable old French books that are very rare. The Romain Rolland library has over 60,000 volumes and overlooks the sea.

The Churches of Pondicherry
It is the churches of Pondicherry, that help the town retain its European charm. The church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception or Notre Dame de la Conception is almost 300 years old. The church to Our Lady of Angels is known for an oil painting that was gifted by Napoleon III. The most awesome however is the grand gothic Sacred Heart Church with 3 stained glass panels of the life of Christ. Just outside the town is a replica of the Basilica at Lourdes.

Pondicherry Temples
Pondicherry BeachMost of the temples around Pondicherry are dedicated to Ganesh, the Destroyer of all Obstacles. The oldest ones date back to the 10th century AD Chola Empire. The Vinaynagar Manakula temple has a golden dome and a collection of 40 beautiful friezes. The fire festival in July-August at the temple to the local goddess Drowpattiamman is a sight to view.

The Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens are pleasant for a walk and the aquarium has a collection of amazing ornamental fish. This is the best place to sit and relax.

The Pondicherry Museum
The Pondicherry Museum showcases an eclectic collection of art, Pallava sculptures, handicraft, weaponry, archaeology, geology and the old French governor Dupleix’s bed, an old palanquin and other interesting things.

Getting There
Air : The nearest airport is in Chennai (160 kms) from Pondicherry.
Rail : Villupuram (32 kms) is the nearest railway station connected directly to Chennai which in turn is connected to major cities in India.
Road : Pondicherry is connected by good motorable roads to places in South India.

Accommodation
Accommodation is available at the luxurious, middle class and small budgeted hotels and lodges in Pondicherry. There are also a wide range of hotels, motels and youth hostels for a comfortable stay. All the accommodations are good enough to spend a memorable holiday.


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