The beautiful Pondicherry or Puducherry, a union territory in South India, is a laid-out town with lovely beaches, colonial atmosphere, mixed with South Indian culture and so, Pondicherry travel leaves an unforgettable impact on your heart.
Pondicherry was originally and now is named Puducherry. During the French rule the name was changed to Pondicherry. The city was an important hub for Roman trade in India. It also hosted a Sanskrit University and the Ashram of Sage Agasthya, known as Agastiswaram. Various South Indian dynasties, like Pallavas, Cholas and Pandyas, controlled the region, before the Muslim invasion. Later Dutch and then French took over. British too ruled it for some time.
During your travel to Pondicherry (Puducherry), you should visit its main landmark, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Ashram of Swami Aurobindo Ghosh, the great philosopher and freedom-fighter. The ashram is located at rue de la Marine and houses the sacred relics of Swami Aurobindo and his successor and chief disciple, Mother, in Samadhis under a frangipani tree.
Another must-visit is Auroville, meaning City of Dawn, conceptualized by Mother, Mirra Alfassa, as a place for people who want to live beyond conventions, like nationality, caste, religion, etc. The village is utmost serene, spread on lush green landscapes and hosts international award winning AuroRE System.
Enjoy beaches of Pondicherry, like Promenade, Serenity, Auroville and Chunnambar. Beach Road is a pleasure stroll, which you should not miss.
Pondicherry (Puducherry) is a perfect place to get mental peace through its hoards of temples, mosques and churches. Some prominent ones are Manakula Vinayagar Koil, Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Vedhapureeswarar Temple, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Church of the Capuchins, Notre Dame de’, Jamai Mosque, Meeran Mosque and many others.
Pondicherry (Puducherry) also houses several historical monuments, like Statue of Joan of Arc, The Mairie, Le Café, Gandhi Statue, French War Memorial, Nehru Statue, Aayi Mandapam, Raj Niwas and so on.
Gardens of Pondicherry (Puducherry) like Children’s Park, Bharathi Park and Botanical Gardens, museums like Puducherry Museum, Bharathi Memorial Museum, Jawahar Toy Museum and Children’s Museum and the Light House are also must-visit. The Children’s Park houses a 2.88-meter statue of former Governor of Pondicherry, Marquis Joseph Francois Dupleix.
Pondicherry (Puducherry) is a shopaholic’s paradise, with many excellent shopping destinations, like Mission Street, Aurobindo Street, Nehru Street and M.G. Road, where you can shop for anything or everything from leather goods, books (mainly on Hindu religion and philosophy), traditional and trendy Indian clothes, handicrafts, pottery, handmade paper, antique furniture, carved wooden items, paintings, and much more, for incredibly low prices.
Pondicherry (Puducherry) is a heaven for water sports, like scuba diving, yachting, boating, rafting, rowing, wind surfing, water skiing, water polo etc. and is host to the only scuba diving center on the East Coast. You can also learn and engage into horse riding here.
Cuisine of Pondicherry (Puducherry) is a scrumptious blend of French and South Indian cuisines and Pondicherry hotels let you enjoy it all thoroughly. Some specialties of Pondicherry are Coconut Curry, Soya Dosa, Assad, Tandoori Potato, Curried Vegetables, Italian Baked Beans, Stuffed Cabbage, Podanlangkai, and so on.
Pondicherry (Puducherry) celebrates temple festivals throughout the year, in the honor of the respective deities. A prominent one among these is Vellavari Fire Walking Festival, held in January at Muthialpet, when devotees walk barefoot on a stretch of fire. Sedal is another weird festival, celebrated at the Senkazhuneer Amman Temple, when devotees pierce their tongues and cheeks with small silver hooks. Skanda Shakti is similar to Diwali, when people wear new clothes and light firecrackers. Masi Magam is an important Tamil festival, celebrated in February, on a grand scale here.
Swami Aurobindo’s birthday on 15th August and Mother’s birthday on 21st February, are very significant in Pondicherry and are celebrated with great passion.
International Yoga Festival held from 4th to 7th January attracts participants from all over the world.
Fete De Puducherry is a major event, a cultural bonanza, held in August.
August is also the month of French Food Festival, Gourmet, in Pondicherry, which is an excellent opportunity for food lovers to enjoy Italian, Mexican, French, Spanish and Indian foods.