ABOUT PUDUCHCHERI (PONDICHERRY):
- Peaceful Puduchcheri, an unusual blend of occident and orient is referred by various exotic epithets like, the ‘Quintessence of French Culture’, India’s ‘Little France’ and the ‘French Riviera of the East’ etc.
- Pictureque town set on the Coromandel Coast was a part of French empire for about 281 years.
- Unique Union Territory of Pondicherry comprises of four scattered coastal enclaves – Pondicherry (now called as Puduchcheri) and Karaikal in Tamil Nadu, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe in Kerala on the West coast.
- Pondicherry still retains distinct French which is very well reflected in the grand colonial mansions, beautiful boulevards and placid promenades, spellings on sign boards and buildings, names of roads and public places etc.
- It has also been greatly influenced by Sri Aurobindo, the great seer prophet and poet of 20th century.
- Today, it is a pot-pourri of different cultures and about 55 languages are spoken here.
- Its endearing ambience beckons you to imbibe India’s great spiritual and cultural heritage as well as relish the mesmerising natural beauty.
- Pondicherry is also a treasure trove for shoppers.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Chennai International Airport, Chennai (MAA), 135 kms away from Puduchcheri city centre.
- Rail: Villupuram Railway Station, Villupuram, 36 kms away from Puduchcheri city centre.
- Road: Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
FORT & MONUMENTS
Aayi Mandapam (Park Monument) French War Memorial Dupleix Statue Auroville
Sri Aurobindo Ashram Church of Our Laby of Immaculate Conception Sri Manakula Vinayakar Temple Matri Mandir
PARK & GARDENS
MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM
Bharathi Memorial Museum Bharathidasan Museum Bharat Nivas
Serenity Beach Paradise Beach, Chunnambar Auro Beach
Auroville Information & Research Centre (AIRC) Artist’s Camp
FAIRS & FESTIVALS
- Thai Pongal
- International Yoga Festival
- Republic Day
- Mascarade Festival
- Maasi Magam
- Villianur Temple Car Festival
- Bastille Day
- Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Anniversary
- Fete De Pondicherry
For more information visit https://puducherry-dt.gov.in/tourism/
ATTRACTIONS OF PUDUCHCHERI (PONDICHERRY)
Sri Aurobindo Ashram:
- World renowned Ashram was founded in 1926, by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Mira Alfassa), a French painter-sculptor.
- It is indeed the best known landmarks of Pondicherry and attracts people from all over the world.
- The main Ashram building at the Marine Street has the flower-festooned Samadhi’s (memorials) of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, under the frangipani tree.
- Peaceful ambience pervades around the Samadhi’s, as people come here and meditate.
Aayi Mandapam (Park Monument):
- Magnificent white monument at the lush Govt. Park in the heart of city is the most recognisable monument of Pondicherry.
- It was built in 16th century in Greco – Roman architectural style during the reign of Napoleon III – the emperor of France and commemorates a 16th century courtesan named Aayi.
French War Memorial:
- Memorial on the Goubert Avenue (Beach Road) was erected in the honour of the soldiers who laid their lives during the region the First World War.
- Statues of Francois Dupleix, the French Governor were commissioned in Pondicherry as well as in France in honour of this able administrator in 1870.
- It was planned and laid out in 1826, by C.S. Perrotet and has a rich and varied collection of plant species.
- There is also an aquarium here.
- Beautiful 1.5 kms long beach is graced by an impressive statue of Mahatma Gandhi, set amidst eight exquisitely carved pillars and wonderful War Memorial.
Church of Our Laby of Immaculate Conception:
- Magnificent building was built in 1791, at the site of a former church at Cathedral Street.
Bharathi Memorial Museum:
- Subramanya Bharathi, the Tamil poet-patriot (1882-1921), popularly known as Bharathiyar came to the French ruled Pondicherry in 1908, as a fugitive from British India.
- His residence at No. 20, Eswaran Dharamaraja Koil Street has been converted into a museum and is a place of Pilgrimage for the Tamilians.
- House of Kanakasubburatnam (1891-1960), another great Tamil revolutionary poet has also been converted into a museum.
Sri Manakula Vinayakar Temple:
- Famous 18th century shrine of Lord Ganesha is located just behind the Raj Bhavan.
- Presiding deity is also referred as Vellakkaran (White mam) Pillai (Ganesha).
- Excavations have revealed that a part town flourished here about 2,000 years ago.
- It had trade links with Rome and Greece as early as 2nd century B.C. and Roman settlements are said to have existed here.
Paradise Beach, Chunnambar:
- Pictureque beach lies near the mouth of the backwaters, along the Cuddalore Main Road.
- It is a perfect place for a leisurely holiday and beach sports.
- Facilities for boating, backwater boat tours, trekking, beach sports and picnics etc.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND PUDUCHCHERI (PONDICHERRY)
- 10 kms away from Puduchcheri city centre.
- Alluring Auroville, the international utopian city was founded by Mother Mirra Alfassa, the chief disciple of Sri Aurobindo Ghose and was designed by the French architect Roger Anger.
- Sri Aurobindo and the Mother sought to achieve the ideal international commune and the city was conceived as an experiment in international living, where all the human beings, rising above their creeds, castes, politics and nationalities could live in space and progressive harmony.
- It was inaugurated on February 28, 1968, when youths representing 128 nations.
- All states of Indian Union placed earth from their native places in a lotus shaped urn near the Matri Mandir, symbolising the creation of a city dedicated to human unity and international understanding.
- Spiritual and physical centre of Auroville is a testimonial to Mother’s vision of unity and harmony of mankind.
- Remarkable monument in the form of a massive golden globe is a place for quiet reflection and concentration.
- It has a solid crystal, 70 cms. in diameter and manufactured by the Zeiss company in Germany, which is believed to be the largest crystal in the world.
- The sun-rays are beamed into the crystal from a tracking mirror located in the roof.
Auroville Information & Research Centre (AIRC):
- It is known as Visitor’s Centre and offers information about Auroville and its various activities to the tourist.
- Artist’s workshop set amidst scenic surroundings is built of local coconut fibre and ferroconcrete.
- It is engaged in pottery, sculpture, music and painting.
- It has a futuristic auditorium, Secretariat and a Boutique.
- The beautiful beach has a Yoga Ashram.