Pondicherry (Puducherry), or the capital of one of the union territory of Pondicherry, means ‘the new settlement’ as the city was made when the French settlement decided to settle in these parts of India. The town of Pondicherry, fondly called as Pondy and three other cities of three different states namely Karaikal (Tamil Nadu), Mahe (Kerala), and Yanam (Andhra Pradesh), is what makes today’s Union Territory of Pondicherry. On the way to Pondicherry, one can view the natural beauty of the scenic Deccan plateau. Striking red soil and deep green vegetation, consisting mainly of cashew, palm and neem, combining to form a stunning landscape. Pondicherry is an ideal getaway if one wants to getaway from the maddening crowds and rush of the city. Pondicherry is also famous for the Aurobindo Ashram, an international institution that teaches the practice of yoga. This city has always been one of the calm and quiet in comparison to other Indian cities. Pondicherry still offers exquisite hand made papers and pottery also one can enjoy the French flavor that has captivated this town for a long while know. The earliest description of the city of Pondicherry can be traced back to 2nd century B.C.
Auroville is a distinct place in itself. The not-to-be-missed tourism spot that is just 12 Kilometers off to the downtown Pondicherry is a model of perfect universal town. This is the place where people from different nationalities, religions, creeds and beliefs can live in peace and harmony. The construction of this ‘universal town’ was started in 1968 and is still under progress. Various countries have offered to build permanent colonies that will reflect the culture and ethos of the respective country.
The French Heritage
This is the hermitage or ashram of Aurobindo Ghosh, a militant turned mystic who made Pondicherry his home from till his death in 1950. His vision and ideals continue to draw admirers and followers from all over the world. The place is a must visit during Pondicherry tour.
Eglise de Sacred Coeur De Jesus
Eglise de Sacred is a catholic church that is noted for its Gothic architecture and stained glass planes. This must visit Pondicherry tour attraction has beautiful glass paintings that depict the entire life of Jesus Christ.
Serenity beach signifies its name. The place is just a 15-minutes drive from the downtown Pondicherry. This splendid virgin beach is a must during your tour of Pondicherry. The place is ideal for a quick dip, a touch of the sun and a cool reprieve in the shades of coconut grooves.
Apart from being a splendid tourism site, Arikamedu has special relevance in the chapters of history. The place acted as the garrison and ford for the trade ship of Romans at a period as early as 2nd century BC There are traces of early Roman settlement too. The major import item was wine where as textiles formed the major chunk of exports. This is a must visit tour spot for both researchers as well as casual tourists.
The Statue of Dupleix
This is Pondicherry’ s tribute to Francois Dupeix, a French Colonial Governor, whose able governorship came to an end in 1754. The French government commissioned this statue in the year 1870. The statue stands 2.9 meters above the pedestal and has been sculpted in traditional French fashion. This tourism spot in Pondicherry is the best for spending a quiet evening.
19th Century Light House
A beacon that kept burning on the Red Hills guided the early seafarers to Pondicherry. The now-abandoned lighthouse standing on the edge of the sea near was lighted for the first time on 1st July 1836. The light was placed upon a masonry tower that stands 29 meters above sea level and was visible up to a distance of 29 kilometers into the Bay of Bengal. In 1931, a revolving lantern replaced the fixed light. It was finally shut down in the year 1979. Don’t forget to take an after dinner walk near this lighthouse during your tour to Pondicherry.
How to Get Reach
Chennai airport is 135 kms from Pondicherry and flights connect to major cities in India and directly to destinations in Europe, Asia, Middle East and the US. Other airlines fly to Mumbai and New Delhi and have connecting domestic flights to Chennai.
Buy Trains are available to Villupuram station that is in turn connected to Chennai and Trivandrum. The Buy Trains to and from Pondicherry are very slow and too are very few in number.
The best choice for getting to Pondicherry from Chennai and Bangalore is by taxi or bus. Buses depart from Chennai on a regular basis and take about four hours to reach Pondicherry.