Cover Photo by Hemendra Ahuja
Pondicherry, fondly known as India’s French Riviera, is a sight for the sore eyes. It is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal on the East and the remaining three sides are covered by Tamil Nadu. This place attracts tourists from all over the world with effortless ease thanks to the rich culture and heritage it has and the warm hospitality it offers. Morning and evening walks are wonderful experiences when here, and you’ll very soon know why.
Pondicherry has a distinctly French flavour owing to the arrival of the French in the 17th century and their growing cultural influence from thereon. The French influence can be seen all throughout this colonial settlement. When you observe it carefully, it can also be seen that how the architectural planning follows a typical French style. Here, the roads meet each other at precise left angles. Now that we know a bit about the beauty of the place, let’s look at the popular tourist sites that you must visit during your Pondicherry sightseeing tour.
Children’s Park & Dupleix Statue
This Children’s Park is located at the seaside in Pondicherry. Here, the tourists can spend their leisure time along with their children while enjoying the lush greenery amidst the cool breeze that caresses the park. This place also offers a few sale exhibitions from where people can buy stuff and that too at a reasonable price. The main attraction of the place is the effigy of Joseph Francois Dupleix who was the governor of Pondicherry. The statue is located at the southern end of the park on Goubert Avenue and the total height of the statue is 2.88 m. Be sure to enjoy your time here; one of the best places to visit in Pondicherry.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
A trip to Pondicherry is incomplete without a visit to this Ashram. The Aurobindo Ashram was started by a group of disciples of Shri Aurobindo. This place has a very tranquil feel and the tourists who visit here feel at peace while in the premises of the ashram. People can learn more about Shri Aurobindo and his mother who spent their lives here and practice or learn Integral Yoga, a form of yoga that aims to transform human life into a divine way of life. The timings of Shri Aurobindo Ashram are from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM; 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM without any entry fees whatsoever.
Arikamedu is India’s ancient wonder which is about seven kilometres south of Pondicherry. ‘Arukumedu’, meaning a ‘mound on a river bank’ in Tamil, is probably the inspiration behind the site’s name. Tourists who are keen to explore historical places are sure to find Arikamedu worthwhile. One of the best Pondicherry tourist spots, this place provides an essence of the Roman era as the excavations conducted here has led to the findings of Roman lamps, gems, stone beads, glassware, and a lot more. It has picturesque surroundings and several historical artefacts that make for great viewing.
Chunnambar Boathouse is also known as Plage Paradiso and is widely famous for its backwaters; it is a popular authentic boating venue. It is located on the Paradise beach that happens to be one of the best beaches in Pondicherry.
Chunnambar Boathouse, apart from providing a great boating experience, also serves as a great picnic spot. The backwater houses a nice water resort which is managed by the Pondicherry Tourism and Transport Development Corporation. The resort offers a range of fun and entertainment options that include trekking, yachting, backwater boat trips and beach games. The boating options include motorboats, speed boats, sail boats, rowed boats, water scooters, paddled boats and pedalled boats. Furthermore, accommodation facility is available on tree top houses, thus making it one of the best places to stay in Pondicherry.
Auroville Ashram is also known as the City of Dawn. People visit Auroville to attain peace of mind and get away from the hustle and bustle of regular city life. This place homes many organisations which will help you fight the battles of the inner soul and also provide avenues to achieve peace with the help of meditation, yoga and breathing exercises. A visit to this place is an extremely pocket-friendly affair and there are plenty of options available here. This place has the aura to change your way and perspective towards life.
Here, meditation can be practised in the matrimandir Campus to rejuvenate yourself. To add to its appeal, there’s a beautiful beach near Auroville that is known as the Auro beach and is 10 kms away from the ashram. The clear water and serene shores attract tourists by the dozen and how! No wonder it is looked upon as one of the best beaches in Pondicherry along with the Paradise beach.
White Town Promenade
This place used to be the residential quarters of the French in Pondicherry. This place is full of examples of the colonial French architecture and is often compared to seaside towns in the south of France. Most of the cafes situated here let the tourists chill while sipping hot coffee and have a gala time with their friends. If a solid recommendation is what you need, then Le Cafe, the White Town Promenade is a must visit place in Pondicherry for the vibe it has on offer.
Old Lighthouse is located just opposite the famous Gandhi Statue on the Beach Road in Pondicherry. The lighthouse was built in the year 1836 by a renowned engineer of that time. It is built over a regular platform and the lighthouse has a height of 29m. The construction also has three openings; a place for the watchman, a shop and a staircase that leads to the top. The abandoned Lighthouse has now been converted into a museum and is touted as one of the top tourist sites in Pondicherry. The space in front of the Lighthouse is used for various commercial, musical and cultural activities. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pondicherry, the Old Lighthouse is visited by numerous tourists, both locals as well as international tourists, throughout the year.
As a travel destination, Pondicherry is in a league of its own. It is splendid, unique, regaling and just wonderful in many aspects. Search for a Pondicherry family tour package and dive into this mesmerizing French reverie!