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Pondicherry City

Pondicherry city tour

Facts at a Glance

Country: India
Union Territory: Puducherry
Location: South East Coast of India
Altitude: 3 m
Population: 654,400
Language: Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam
Known for: French colony and natural landscapes
Nearby Cities: Chennai, Bangalore

Located on the Bay of Bengal coast in south eastern part of India, Pondicherry is the capital city of the Union Territory Puducherry. By virtue of having coastal location, historic French tradition and natural landscapes, the city is one of the major cities for tourism industry in India.

The altitude of the city is merely 3 meters that affected greatly by the coastal erosion hence, to protect from the sea tides and sudden sea wave attacks, the coastal region of the city is fenced with a wall rising about 27 feet high. Primarily, the wall had been constructed by French (who made it their colony but later on British took the command). In addition, there are various sea inlets (main attraction for the tourists), most noteworthy of them is Chunnambar.

The former name of the Union Territory Puducherry was ‘Pondycherry’ (same as of city) but in the year 2006, it has been changed as ‘Puducherry’; however, affectionately, people still call it by its past name i.e. Pondicherry.

Tourists’ Attractions in Pondicherry

Above all, Pondicherry is pretty popular for the tourism; since, it was the French colony as well as British colony hence; the city has wonderful architecture of both styles. The major buildings in the city are churches, temples, and various statues; all are well planned and arranged and still memorise the colonial period in the city. Likewise, the city is perfect spot for weekend that reflects the perfect blend of French colonial heritage, spiritual aura, Tamil culture, virgin beaches, and various other things including the local market. However, the major attractions in the city are:

Religious Places

• Thirukaameeswarar Temple: It is the most popular temple in the region devoted to Lord Shiva and Goddess Kokilambigai.

• Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple: Centuries old temple, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple is dedicated to lord Murugan. It is known for its design and other decorations; walls of the temple portray various forty forms of Lord Ganesh.

• Varadaraja Perumal Temple: Built in Dravidian style, it is the oldest temple in city Pondichery dating back to 600 AD. The legendary temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu; however, other gods of temple are Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman.

• Kanniga Parameswari Temple: Dedicated to goddess Shakti, it is beautiful structure illustrating the perfect blend of Tamil and French architecture.

• Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: The 18th century church is perfect model of Gothic architecture.

• The Church of Our Lady of Angels: Built of marble and limestone, it is beautiful structure.

• Meeran Mosque: It is the oldest mosque in the city of Pondicherry.

National Park & Gardens

• Ousteri Wetland and National Park: Spread in 390 hectares, it houses various species of aquatic animals and birds.

• Bharathi Park: Also popular as green centre of the town, the park is known for its famous Aayi Mandapam monument lying at the centre of the park.

• Botanical Garden: Built in French design, it is a beautiful landscape in the city.

Other Tourists’ Attractions in Pondicherry

• Pondicherry Museum: It is the store house of various archaeological items and sculptures. You can see here centuries old bronze and other stone sculptures belonging to Pallava and Chola dynasties.

• Monuments and Statue: There are some statues of eminent personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Joseph Francois Dupleix along with a French War Memorial.

• Auroville: Located at the distance of about 8 kms in the north-west of Pondicherry, it is an experimental township. Designed by French architect Roger Anger, it is a wonderful place and model of human unity.

• Sri Aurobindo Ashram: It is one of the famous spiritual centres of India that fascinates tourists from all over the world. The Ashram is established by an Indian freedom fighter, philosopher, poet and yogi Sri Aurobindo Ghose in the years 1926.

Beaches The city Pondicherry has long coastline and hence it has also beautiful beaches; though, recently due to coastal erosion and subsequently building of harbour affected the presence of beaches in the city. However, some of the small beaches of the city are:

• Promenade Beach
• The Auroville Beach
• Paradise Beach
• Serenity Beach

How to Reach??

By Road: Pondicherry has the densest road network that connects with several cities located nearby including Chennai. Interestingly, the road is well maintained; hence, you can drive your own car without any hindrance.

By Rail: Pondicherry has broad gauge rail that directly connects with Chennai, Villupuram, Bangalore and many other cities of neighbouring states.

By Air: Though, Pondicherry has its own airport but it is yet to become regular. However, the nearest airport is Chennai; from Chennai, you can take bus or hire private vehicle such as car or SUV as per your need and budget. Or else you can also catch train.

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