PONDICHERRY TRAVEL GUIDE
About Pondicherry, India
The 17th-18th century of the French colonial possessions in India, this serene township even today carries a distinct French flavor which combined with the sea and laidback air of the place, add up to an irritable charm, Pondicherry was laid out on the sea front of the Bay of Bengal and stands out for its neatly planned planned parallel roads that intersect at the right angles.
During colonial times the town was divided into French quarters and Tamil areas, separated by a canal that has since been covered.
The oldest part of the town is ranged along the Seashore Boulevard, and has streets still carrying their French names and their pasts with them. Strolling here among old elegant buildings, churches and leafy parks fill one with a lazy delight.
Churches in Pondicherry
One of the most beautiful churches in the city is the dramatic, Gothic, and Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus located on South Boulevard. Noteworthy here are the three stained Boulevard.
Noteworthy here are the three stained-glass panels which show scenes from the life of Jesus. The Eglise de Notre Dame Des Anges (1865) has a marble-like white exterior that was achieved by mixing limestone with the white of eggs.
It's the proud possessor of an old painting of Our Lady of Assumption that was donated by Napoleon 111. A famous church festival of the Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes, on the Basilica at Lourdes in France.
Beaches in Pondicherry
On its eastern front, Pondicherry is flanked by a one and a half-kilometer long beach, a clean stretch ideal for sunbathing and swimming. There is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi and a War Memorial on the beach. Further down the beach is a 150-year-old lighthouse.
Pondicherry is today best known for the Aurobindo Ashram which is a serene retreat shade by trees. In the early 20th century, Sri Aurobindo, the Bengal philosopher poet, took refuge in this French territory to escape the British and in 1926 establishes his Ashram.
The residences of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Mirra Alfassa, a French disciple of Sri Aurobindo who carried on his tradition till her death in 1973) are the main buildings of the Ashram. The Samadhis (memorials) of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are in the courtyard and are the main points of interests for the visitors apart from the most intense and unparalleled quietude.
This 'universal town' is about 10km north of Pondicherry. The Mother, Mirra Alfassa, dreamt of international community living in unity, peace and harmony transcending caste, creed, religion, or nationalities.
The famous international community is a self-sufficient settlement growing its own food, running its own schools, a beacon to others on how to try and live in harmony with humanity and the Earth.
French architect Roger Anger gave an interesting architectural shape to this concept, especially to the 'Matri Mandir' which symbolizes the birth of a new human consciousness.
Temple in Pondicherry
Amidst its entire French flavor, Pondicherry retains memories of the time it was under the Chola dynasty between the 10th and 12th centuries. The Manakula Vinakaya Temple is also very popular with both the locals and visitors for it believed that Lord Ganapathy blessed his devotees with success.
In February-March, the Masi Magam festival is held here. The 12th century Varadaraja Temple is another ancient shrine.
The museum is located near the Government Park on Rue St Louis and was opened in 1984. There is an impressive collection from the French colonial period which includes a bed used by Joseph Francois Dupleix, the most famous of the French governor in India.
Also, do not miss the rare bronze and stone sculptures from him Pallava and Chola period.
The Romain Rolland Library, which was established 1872, is situated in the same compound and has a vast collection of French and English books.
French Institute of Indology
This internationally acclaimed institute was established by the renowned French Indologist Dr. Jean Fillozet in the 1950s. It is situated on the Rue Dumas, and has various sections dealing with ecology, pedagogy, science & technology cartography, Indian language and culture.
The Aurobindo Ashram runs craft workshops for license making, weaving, embroidery, batik and pottery, all lovely products for use or giving as gifts. Pondicherry is especially famous for handmade paper and its products such as lampshades.
Autovill is haven of pressed and dried flower products, natural soap, handmade incense and aromatherapy products, organically grown vegetables.
Pondicherry General Information and Fact Guide
When is the best time to go to Pondicherry? The best season is throughout the year, but December to February is the most pleasant time to travel to Pondicherry.
STD Code- 0413
How To Go To Pondicherry?
Accommodation in Pondicherry, Where to stay in Pondicherry ?
Good and reasonable accommodation is available in Pondicherry.
Tourist Information Center in Pondicherry Address
Tourist Information Centre, 40, Goubert Avenue, Pondicherry-605001. Tel: 2339497, 2334575,