Pondicherry or Puducherry is a quaint and scenic town nestled in the south-eastern part of the Indian peninsula.
The place takes you to the French colonial era. The crystal clear beaches of Pondicherry are a treat to the eyes. A visit to this small town in Tamil Nadu is an experience that any seasoned traveler would not want to miss.
Must To Visit Attractions in Pondicherry
- In and around the French colony
- The Promenade, Gandhi, or the Rock Beach
- Jawahar Toy Museum
- French War Memorial
- Raj Niwas
- Old Lighthouse
- Aurobindo Ashram
- Basilica Of The Sacred Heart Of Jesus
- Immaculate Conception Cathedral
- Bharati Government Park
- Manakula Vinayagar Temple
- The Pondicherry Museum
- Botanical Garden
- Sita Cultural Centre
- Yoganjali Natyalayam
- Golden Bridge Pottery Center
- In And Around Auroville
- Auro Beach
- In and around the Chunnambar Boathouse
- Paradise Beach
- Serenity Beach
- Ousteri Lake
- Water sports in Pondicherry
1. In and around the French colony
White town or the French colony is a magnificent sight not to be missed when in Pondicherry. The place was the residential quarters of the French who had settled in Pondicherry.
Today, the entire neighborhood treats you with brightly colored buildings and sit-out cafes, all of which transports you to a small town in France.
The highlight of this place is the French cafes that serve some of the finest French and Tamil cuisines.
The best way to explore the French town is to walk aimlessly around the place or take a cycle tour that is hosted almost every day.
2. The Promenade, Gandhi, or the Rock Beach
With amazing sea views, well-defined seating, and cafes that serve lip-smacking dishes, the Promenade is one of the best places that should be visited when in the White Town.
It stretches out to 1.5 km and is an iconic landmark in Pondicherry. Look out for the Gandhi statue on the beach. Try out the sea-facing cafes and walk through the entire length of the Promenade basking yourself in the beauty of nature.
The things to keep in mind when visiting the Promenade are that this is a Rocky Beach which means that it is not a sandy beach where your kids can make sandcastles.
Also, the entire stretch of road adjacent to the sea is not open to vehicles at any time of the day. So joggers and the little kids are sure to find this place to be a paradise.
3. Jawahar Toy Museum
If you are at the Gandhi beach with your family, then visit the Jawahar toy museum located at the old lighthouse. You can see a collection of dolls and antiques from across the country here.
4. French War Memorial
Opposite to the Promenade, the French War Memorial fascinates one and all because of its infrastructure and its historical significance. The memorial is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in World War 1.
5. Raj Niwas
The official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry and previously known as the Palais du Government, the building is open to visitors on special days. However, you can always admire its beauty from the outside.
6. Old Lighthouse
The lighthouse is another delightful sight, particularly for the history buffs. Built-in the 19th century by the French rulers, the lighthouse helped guide the ships to the port. The lighthouse is shut down, but it still draws many tourists to it.
7. Aurobindo Ashram
The Aurobindo Ashram is another popular attraction in White Town. This is a small community of the followers of Sri Aurobindo. The ashram lists itself in the popular tourist spots in Pondicherry, and people visit this place to seek inner peace.
8. Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
A popular attraction in the French colony, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, is a place that people visit to appreciate the gothic architectural building and the peaceful ambiance of the place.
9. Immaculate Conception Cathedral
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Pondicherry, and the beauty of this church gives it an important place among the must-visit sites in Pondicherry.
10. Bharati Government Park
If you have an evening to relax, then head to the Bharati Government Park. Its well-maintained lawns and fountains with seasonal flowers help to accentuate the beauty of this place. The popular park monument structure flaunts Greco-Roman architecture.
11. Manakula Vinayagar Temple
The place to seek some solace, the Vinayagar or the Lord Ganesha temple, is a popular pilgrimage site in the White Town. It is believed that the Saint named Thollaikkathu Siddhar attained enlightenment in this temple.
12. The Pondicherry Museum
The Pondicherry museum houses many bronze sculptures from the Chola and the Pallava dynasty. The artifacts that were excavated during the Arikamendu excavations are also found here.
13. Botanical Garden
Want to take a trip down lanes covered with canopy leaves and wish to appreciate some exotic plants, then the Botanical Garden is a must-visit place in Pondicherry.
14. Sita Cultural Centre
Wish to try out some fun classes in Pondicherry? Then visit the Sita Cultural Center. From making kolams to Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine, learning Tamil and yoga, it is a great place to understand the blend of Tamil and French culture of Pondicherry.
15. Yoganjali Natyalayam
Try out yoga and meditation at the Yoganjalu Natyalayam that is conducted by experienced yoga teachers. On the backdrop of the beaches, this can be a therapeutic experience for one and all.
16. Golden Bridge Pottery Center
Clay modeling at the Golden Bridge Pottery Centre is a place where you can bring out your inner artist. A fun-filled place, it lets you learn the basics of this technique from experienced potters from across the world.
For the best Ayurvedic treatment during your stay in Pondicherry, head straight to Ayushman. The place is perfect for rejuvenating your mind and body. You are offered a holistic Ayurvedic treatment, or you can just buy a treatment from the spa package and relax.
18. In and around Auroville
Auroville is a place that you should not miss when in Pondicherry if you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the town.
The place is a complete town in itself. An experimental project, get to meet the dwellers of Auroville and spend some time at the Mantri Mandir to mediate. Also, do not miss out the solar kitchen and the famous cafes here. Keep a day aside to visit Auroville.
19. Auro Beach
The exotic and serene Auro beach or the Auroville beach is a part of the Auroville ashram. The perfect place to swim or to stroll on the sands, Auroville beach is ideal for water sport enthusiasts.
20. In and around the Chunnambar Boathouse
If you would like to go boating or sail on a houseboat, then the Chunnambar Boathouse is the perfect spot.
The Chunnambar Boathouse is located at the spot where the Chunnambar River and the Bay of Bengal meet. Some water sports activities and also conducted here. You can hire a boat to reach Paradise Beach from here.
21. Paradise Beach
Popular for its clear waters and golden sands, Paradise Beach is the cleanest beach in Pondicherry.
You can reach this beach only through a boat ride. The boat ride to this beach starts from the Chunnambar backwaters and lets you sail through lush mangrove forests, which is a unique experience.
You may be lucky to spot some unique birds and even a dolphin. Wish to spend a night in a treehouse? Then head to Paradise Beach.
Other popular things to do in Pondicherry
22. Serenity Beach
Another popular beach in Pondicherry, Serenity Beach, is popular because this is where you can try out your surfing skills. The Serenity Beach bazaar is an attraction where you can buy handicraft products. The bazaar is open only on the weekends between 10 am to 5 pm.
23. Ousteri Lake
An artificial lake in Pondicherry, the Ousteri Lake draws tourists because it is an important wetland in Asia. Covering a total area of 390 hectares, here you can see more than 40 species of migratory birds.
Pondicherry boasts of its culture and history. If you are keen to learn about the ancient trades of this place, then head straight to Arikamedu. It is a half an hour drive from Pondicherry and a famous maritime town built by the Romans and formed an important part of the trade.
25. Water sports in Pondicherry
- Scuba diving – The kaleidoscopic coastlines of the Bay of Bengal are popular for scuba diving which makes Pondicherry one of the best destinations to try out this adventure water sport that is conducted by certified divers.
- Yachting and Sailing – The expanded coastline of Pondicherry is also ideal for those who wish to go sailing or yachting.
- Kayaking – Many beaches in Pondicherry let you try out Kayaking.
Pondicherry is the perfect place if you wish to escape the hustle and bustle of your daily life. A picturesque town that also soothes your body and mind, Pondicherry definitely should make it to your list of the top most places to visit in India.
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