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Home >> Destinations>> Pondicherry
PONDICHERRY

Pondicherry Church Although Pondicherry was subject to many European influences over the years it was the French, who purchased the town in the late 17th century, only relinquishing their hold in 1954 - who left the most enduring legacy. Today the remaining French Úlan, tempered by South Indian warmth, make it one of India's most charming and intriguing destinations with a unique atmosphere, not felt anywhere else in India. Its chic tree lined boulevards, elegant colonial houses and ornamental gardens all go back to the 18th century. The restaurants have a distinct French cuisine, coffee and croissants are served in the cafes and the policemen still wear very French Kepis. Pondy, as it is affectionately known, is also fast becoming a favourite shopping destination and with taxes almost non existent it offers excellent value. It is best known for its traditional doll-making, textiles and silk-weaving as well as for leather, pottery, incense and handmade paper.

Besides enjoying the out in your antiques-filled colonial hotel or sauntering around the oceanfront French Quarter an interesting place to visit is Auroville, an interesting experiment in alternative living, also optimistically known as the City of Dawn, or join the New Age travelers here to visit the ashram of Sri Aurobindo.

PLACES OF INTEREST
Shri Aurobindo Ashram - Pondicherry Shri Aurobindo Ashram
This was founded in 1920 by Sri Aurobindo when Pondicherry was a French colony with the aim of putting in place his ideas of a peaceful community. The ashram was run by Mirra Alfassa, his French companion, universally known as the Mother. The members of the Ashram are allowed to mediate as they wish; there being no rituals, obligatory practices or systematic instruction. The ashram consists of a diversified community with almost1,200 members, of whom 400 are students at the Centre of Education. There are various departments to run the administrative system of the ashram and to cater to the basic needs of its members. It also has farms and gardens, a printing press, libraries as well as a number of small-scale industries. The "samadhi" or tombs of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother are within the precincts of the ashram itself. It is open to all for a fixed number of hours everyday.
Pondicherry MuseumPondicherry Museum
The Pondicherry Museum situated in the Government Park has a fine sculpture gallery and a section for archaeological findings dating back to the Roman settlement at Arikamedu. There is also a section which charts the history of the colony under the French. The objects in the museum include a four-poster bed believed to have been slept in by Dupleix. There is also an amazing collection of snail shells from the region surrounding Pondicherry.
Promenade Beach - Pondicherry Promenade
This lovely beach with a 1.5-km-long promenade, within a biking range from the heart of the city is one of the most delightful places in Pondicherry for a stroll, a sunbath or a swim. On the beachfront there are many sites like the statue of Mahatma Gandhi bordered by eight delicately carved monolithic pillars and a war memorial.
Bharthidasan Memorial Museum - Pondicherry Bharti and Bharthidasan Memorial Museum
Located on Eswaran Koil Street, it is the place where the celebrated Tamil poet Kanakasubburatnam lived after arriving here in 1908 as a refugee. He changed his name to Bharthidasan, which means the disciple of Bharti. His home is now the second most important place of literary pilgrimage in Pondicherry.
Church of the scared heart of Jesus - Pondicherry Church of the scared heart of Jesus
This massive church built in the Gothic style, is one of the most beautiful in Pondicherry.

General Information

By Air : The nearest airport is at Chennai (162 km)
By Rail : Pondicherry (1km), Chennai (175 km)
By Road : Chennai (162 kms), Mahabalipuram (120 kms), Trichy (198 kms)
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