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10 Things That Make Pondicherry An Unforgetful Travel Destination

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French street names, bougainvillaea-covered streets, colonial buildings, cobbled pathways, graffiti splashed on walls and old-world charm residing with modern lifestyle, welcome to Pondicherry, or Pondy as it is colloquially called. Fondly called the French Riviera of the East, Pondicherry is a French-inspired Union Territory tucked away in Southern India, yet has a unique charm of its own. The city provides its visitors with a calm, quiet, peaceful atmosphere and some of the best places to stay in Pondicherry all year round. From indulging in yoga and meditation to pottery or sunbathing by the beach, there are numerous ways to unwind yourself in Pondicherry. As you walk around the town’s old French quarter, you might have a small lapse as to whether you are in India or France since the architecture around the city is mostly French-inspired. There are endless things to do in Puducherry, formerly known as Pondicherry.

Like many other Asian settlements, the French inspire the entire city. The Union Territory of Pondicherry includes four coastal regions: Pondicherry, Mahe, Yanam and Karaikal. The city was once the home of the French, and the community blended the South Indian culture in the city in their own unique way. Before Pondicherry's independence, the city was under Dutch, Portuguese, British and French rule. While it gained independence from the French Administration on 1 November 1954, Pondicherry became a legal part of the Republic of India on 16 August 1962. Popularly known for its panoramic vistas and serenity, the places to visit in Pondicherry will let you relax and unwind from the busy city life. In case you need more reasons to visit the beautiful and quaint Pondicherry, here is a list of the ten best things to do in Pondicherry that will help you as a guide to your vacation.

1. Cycle around the City

Cycle around the City

Pondicherry is a fascinating city which can be explored well by renting a bicycle or walking around the French quarters. Talking about the French quarters, don’t miss out on exploring the White Town, an absolute thing to do in Puducherry. Apart from this, you can go on guided tours around the french inspired streets, colonial villas and vibrant Tamil settlements. The entire French-inspired quarters are convenient to be explored on a bicycle. The colonial buildings in the streets of Pondicherry as a sight to behold, especially the windows painted in yellow.

2. Visit the French War Memorial

The tourist attractions in the city are an experience in themselves and include some of the best things to do in Pondicherry. One of them is the French War Memorial, built in 1971 to honour the brave soldiers martyred in World War 1. Amid the four white columns stand the magnificent statue of a French soldier leaning on a rifle. A well-kept and manicured garden surrounds the ensemble. Bastille Day is celebrated every year on the 14th of July, making the tourist site even more beautiful and a sight to behold. The French War Memorial is lit with a series of lights, and people from all over the city gather around the site to pay venerable homage to the soldiers who lost their lives.

3. Explore Arikmedu

Moving a few kilometres towards South Pondicherry, you will encounter an ancient archaeological site in Kakkayanthope, known as Arikmedu. The archaeological site, which now stands abandoned, was once developed as a port back in Roman times, sometime around the 1st century BC. The town of Arikmedu is derived from the Tamil language, which means “eroding mount”. After many years of abandonment, the site was rediscovered in 1940 and now stands as one of the most prominent places to visit in Pondicherry. The glass bead manufacturing factory in Arikmedu is fondly known as the mother of all bead centres worldwide. The famous archaeological site also comprises numerous amphorae which mark the significance of Arikmedu in the history of Pondicherry.

4. Find Peace at the Auroville Ashram

Auroville Ashram

Conceived as the “Universal Town”, Auroville Ashram is a unique international residential and cultural community which is known for its scenic beauty and meditation centre. The ashram was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and his disciple, also known as ‘Maa’ or ‘The Mother’. Visiting the Auroville Ashram is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry if you are looking to seek optimism, calmness and belongingness. The idea of creating the tourist attraction in Pondicherry was to gather people from all over the world, regardless of cultures and traditions and live in harmony with peace. The main highlight of the Auroville Ashram is the Matrimandir, which means ‘temple of the mother’, standing in the middle of the ensemble.

5. Cruise and Spot Dolphins at the Chunnambar Boat House

Chunnambar is a quaint little town situated approximately 8 km away from Pondicherry. Locals and tourists visit the town from across the world primarily to visit Paradise beach. You can indulge in a short cruise trip and spot dolphins playing around in the water, making it one of the must-visit attractions for nature lovers. The tourist attraction in Chunnambar, Pondicherry, is surrounded by lush greenery all over, which offers a beautiful view for the onlookers.

6. Visit the Quaint Temples and Churches

Quaint Temples and Churches

The French-inspired city is home to some of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Pondicherry, including temples and churches, reflecting the Tamil culture's essence. One of the most significant temples in Pondicherry is the ancient Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The temple is believed to be established five centuries ago. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple attracts a large number of devotees on an everyday basis, especially on the 18th day of the Brahmotsavam festival.

Talking about churches, the Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus is sacred and one of the most religious places in Pondicherry. French missionaries established the church in 1908, which gave the church the status of a Basilica in 2011. Some of the most important occasions, such as Christmas, New Year and Easter Day, are celebrated at the church grandly.

7. Visit the Pristine Beaches

Whether you are someone looking to relax by the beach or indulge in various water activities, visiting the beaches is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. The city has every kind of beach to cater to your mood. Some of the best beaches to visit in Pondicherry include Paradise Beach, Serenity Beach, Auro Beach and many other off-beat beach destinations. Take some time to visit Pondicherry's pristine beaches by taking a boat ride and riding through the mangrove forests and the city’s backwaters. If you chance upon Serenity beach on the weekend, don’t miss out on visiting the Serenity Beach Bazaar, a great place to shop for souvenirs for your loved ones.

8. Experience the Thrill of Scuba Diving

If you seek some of the crazy things to do in Pondicherry, you will be glad to know that Pondicherry is the only place on the East coast offering scuba diving to adventure enthusiasts. Packed with abundant marine life, Pondicherry is a great place to indulge in Scuba diving and explore the rich marine life comprising rare fish species such as parrot fish, angel fish, manta rays, kingfish and many other species. Apart from this, if you are lucky enough, you can even spot whale sharks, dolphins and turtles. The guided Scuba sessions on the beaches of Puducherry let you enjoy the underwater world and offer you an experience of a lifetime.

9. Visit the Ousteri Wetland and National Park

Ousteri Wetland and National Park

If you want to behold a magical sunset on your trip to Pondicherry, visiting the Ousteri Wetland is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. The manmade lake is populated abundantly with a wide variety of residential and migratory birds, making it a paradise for nature lovers and photographers. If the time is right, you might also spot flamingos on the lake, which increases the beauty of the place. With such diverse ecology and picturesque surroundings, adding the place to your travel itinerary is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry.

10. Cafe Hopping

The city has numerous irresistible cafes and restaurants to tantalise your taste buds, one of the best things to do in Pondicherry. From quirky to plush cafes, Pondicherry has many cafes for you to choose from. Some of the most Instagram-friendly cafes in Pondicherry is the famous Cafe Des Artes. The building’s yellow facade captures the passers' attention, making it one of the most famous cafes in Pondicherry. Other famous cafes for you to explore in Pondicherry include La Maison Rose, Satsanga, Cafe de Flore, Rendezvous Cafe and Coromandel Cafe, to name a few. You can refer to the list when you plan to visit Pondicherry anytime soon to use it at your disposal for the most amazing cafes.

With beaches, culture, history, delectable food and friendly locals, Pondicherry has everything that you can expect for a memorable holiday. If you liked reading this travel guide and things to do in Pondicherry, explore the various Pondicherry tour packages by Veena World. To make your own itinerary, you can also visit the customised holiday section on the website. All the packages listed on Veena World will make your holidays unforgettable and memorable.

March 15, 2023

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Veena World
Veena World

We are an Indian travel company founded in 2013 and excel at domestic and international tour packages including guided group tours, specialty tours, customized holidays, corporate MICE travel, inbound travel and destination weddings.

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