(Last Updated on : 06/05/2014)
Puducherry, which was known formerly as Pondicherry, is referred to as the French Riviera of the East. It is the union territory of India. Tourism in Puducherry will give the visitors a relief from the busy hustle and bustle of the modern life. The calmness and tranquility of the Puducherry beach is a delight to the travelers. The Aurobindo Ashram is a place where the visitors seek spiritual enlightenment. This union territory is a home to many historical monuments and heritage buildings. The Botanical Gardens of Puducherry is extremely renowned and houses a lot of unusual specimens of plants. The temples, churches and museums form the other places of interest.
Pilgrimage Tourism in Puducherry
Being an erstwhile French colony, the kind of religious sites Puducherry houses is quite impressive. Amazingly, this Indian Union Territory is more famous for the Aurobindo Ashram
. It is located north on Rue de la Marine and is one of the wealthiest ashrams in India. It was founded in 1926 by the Bengali philosopher-guru, Aurobindo Ghose and his principal disciple, Mira Alfassa, more popularly known as the Mother. The Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother is covered daily with flowers and usually surrounded by supplicating devotees with their hands and heads placed on the tomb. The Auroville
Township is a place which is frequented by numerous pilgrims seeking spiritual solace. The Matrimandir in the middle of the town is the most visited place by the pilgrims. The architecture of the Matrimandir is also quite stunning. In the southwest part of the town, near the railway station, one can hardly miss the huge cream-and-brown Sacred Heart of Jesus, one of Puducherry's finest Catholic churches, built by French missionaries in the 1700s. There are several temples in Puducherry as well. These include the Manakula Vinayagar temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanniga Parameswari Temple, Kamatchiamman Temple and others. The Manakula Vinayagar temple is three hundred years old and attracts a lot of devotees from all over the map of India. The Varadaraja Perumal Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu
is a sacred religious site and is visited by thousands of disciples everyday. The Thirunallar temple of Lord Shiva
is visited by thousands of devotees who assemble here for a ten-day annual festival, held during the months of May - June along with the appearance of the full moon.
Nature Tourism in Puducherry
The picturesque setting of the Botanical Gardens is bound to cast a magical spell on the visitors. The shady Botanical Gardens were established in the year 1826. The department of tourism in Puducherry has put in a lot of effort in maintaining the garden. The Botanical Garden is home to many rare and beautiful trees and plants. Each and every tree or plants are labeled with scientific, common and Tamil names. The approach to the Botanical gardens, which is in the heart of the city, is evocative of the French Architecture.
The French planted 900 species here, experimenting co see how they would do in Indian conditions. One tree, the khaya senegalensis, has grown to a height of 25 meters. This place is bliss for nature lovers and is the best place to experience a lot of peace and calm. The Botanical Gardens in Puducherry have also been endowed with a musical fountain. Colourful musical fountain shows are performed on weekends and holidays. It provides for a wonderful sensory experience. The travelers will also find an extraordinary fossilised tree, found about twenty five kilometers away in Tiravakarai. This is an inseparable part of Pondicherry tourism. Puducherry was a former French colony and so it retains the essence of French flavour. The Government Park in this spectacular Indian Union territory
is an exceptionally well planned and well maintained place adorned with some of the most superb parks and gardens a tourist will ever come across. The park, also known as the Bharati Park, with lush green lawn and beautiful flowers serves a typical instance of an eye-catching and aesthetic entertainment park which is frequently visited by nature travelers and tourists who are bewitched by its fascinating tranquility.
Leisure Tourism in Puducherry
The beaches in Puducherry are its major attraction for the leisure tourists. The Bay of Bengal kisses the shores of this Indian Union Territory. However the beaches are different from the rest of India. Here the ocean is no more calm and quiet. Rather the waves are wild and the gurgling sound of the waves of the can be heard from a distance. As the surf hits the rocks on the shore the droplets are scattered around and the air becomes misty, making the Promenade Beach one of the most well known tourist spots in Puducherry. The Karaikal beach is a wonderful place where the sunrise-watchers can catch their magnificent view over the bay. The Puducherry Museum is situated on Ranga Pillai Street, opposite the Government Place. The archeological collection includes Neolithic and 2000 year old remains from Arikamedu
, a few Pallava and Buddhist stone sculptures, bronzes, weapons, paintings, an assembly of French salon furniture and bric-a-brac from local houses, including a velvet S-shaped conversation seat. There are a number of monuments and historical buildings in Puducherry. The Raj Niwas was the official residence of the French Governor Dupleix. The building is a harmonious fusion of both French and Indian style of architecture. The French Institute of Indology is a classical building has a very well decorated entrance gate with pediment, arched staircases, arcades and windows and is a must see place for the tourists. The house of Ananda Rangapillai was set up in the 18th century and is now one of the must visited historical site of Puducherry. This abundantly furnished house offer an enthralling glimpse into a bygone era.
Visiting information on Puducherry
How to Reach Puducherry
Puducherry is located in the Southern coast of India. Over the years it has developed as a tourist destination. To make it accessible to the tourist all over the world, the means of communication in Puducherry have been developed accordingly.
: Chennai International Airport
is the nearest airport. It is at a distance of around one hundred and thirty five kilometers from Puducherry. It will take 2.5 hours to reach the erstwhile French settlement from Chennai
: Rail lines to and from Puducherry are not very popular. However railway services do exist here and the closest railway station is Villupuram. More or less it is well connected to cities like Chennai, Madurai
: This Union Territory is accessible by other Indian states, such as, Tamil Nadu
and Andhra Pradesh
by road. Both buses and taxis are available for the journey.
The main shops in Puducherry are located in Anna Salai, Cathedral Street, Mahatma Gandhi Street, Nehru Street, and Romain Rolland Street. The tourists will come across a host of things to buy from these shops. Leather products, handicraft items, ceramic tableware, aromatics and antique furniture are among the popular buys of Puducherry.
The best season to visit Puducherry is from September to February. Local transportations are available for touring the city. The roads here are quite well maintained too. Puducherry's basic lodges are concentrated around the main market area, Ranga Pillai Street and Rue Nehru. Guesthouses in Puducherry belonging to the Sri Aurobhido Ashram offer its tourists fantastic value for money.