Puducherry (old name Pondicherry) is called as a little France in India. A fascinating, small town with enough elements to charm its visitors, Pondicherry whose official name was changed to Puducherry in 2006 was once the largest French colony in India, hence the heavy French influence. A popular destination for seeking spiritual enlightenment, Pondy is home to the highly revered Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, where people of varied beliefs and nationalities live together in harmony.
Pondicherry is also known for its beautiful beaches. Interestingly, Pondicherry in many ways is not like your usual beach destination but somehow manages to offer some, if not all of its elements. Beaches are not very crowded, offer stunning views, especially during sunrise and sunset and are host to water sports like swimming, canoeing and kayaking.
From home-produced, authentic and delicious French food to dishes local to Tamil Nadu; in Pondicherry, culinary delights are many. The city is filled with fine restaurants and charming cafes in addition to outlets of international food chains.
Walking around or renting bicycles or motorcycles are the best ways to explore this delightful little town. As you walk around, especially in the town’s old French quarter, you might have a momentary lapse as to whether you are in India or France! The architecture is intriguing, to say the least and is mostly French-inspired. You will also find many houses painted grey. No, people are not gloomy; the grey colour is to denote association with Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
“The French Riviera of the East”, Pondicherry is not just a typical holiday destination, it’s much more than that. Go on and unearth its many charms; you’ll be enchanted, for sure.
In and Around
Seaside Promenade is one of the oldest attractions in Pondicherry. The location is awesome and the view of the sea is breathtakingly beautiful. This place is beautiful whether you visit during the day or the night. And the beach is clean and well maintained. A must visit for nature lovers.
Scuba Diving Pondicherry with Temple Adventures
Scuba Diving Pondicherry with Temple Adventures is one of the star attractions of this place. This an adventure sport will attract the attention and curiosity of all age groups specially youth. You can take a dive into the scuba diving pond specially made for people who have a flair for water sports. You also have a trained guide who can help you and guide you correctly when trying this sport. A must visit for adventure lovers.
Chunnambar Boat House
Chunnambar Boat House is a place for people who love the ocean view and have a flair for photography. This place is really beautiful and the view great to click some really awesome photographs. Since its a place for natures beauty people visit here to enjoy a quiet moment by the waterside and some swimming as well. A nice getaway from hectic lifestyle.
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the tourist attractions as well as an old church in Pondicherry. This is a place which is a depiction of architectural genius and the atmosphere is very calm and stress free. This place is a must visit for people who are interested in spiritual development and history as well.
Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Dating back to almost five centuries, this temple, dedicated to Lord Ganesh is a major attraction of this town.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Pondicherry is synonymous with the Aurobindo Ashram. Founded by Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother) in 1926, it is one of the major highlights of Pondicherry and is visited by thousands of people from all over the world. The ashram is also the place of Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
A picturesque attraction, Ousteri Lake or Osudu Lake is worth a visit. Located at a distance of approximately 10 kilometres from Pondicherry, this spectacular water body covers a surface area of 390 hectares.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has recognised this lake as one of Asia’s important wetlands. Consisting of water, marsh and mudflats, this site is inhabited by more than 40 migratory birds. Golden Oriole, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Openbill Stork, Tailor Bird and Spotted Owlets are some of the unique bird species that can be seen here. Apart from birdwatching, you can indulge in boating at this lake.
One of the most gorgeous beaches in Pondicherry, Serenity Beach is an unmissable attraction! Swathed with pristine golden sands and lapped by shimmering waters of the Bay of Bengal, this treasure trove of nature is secluded, quiet and of course, spectacular.
Fringed by palm trees, this beach is an ideal place for beach lovers to spend moments of repose. Not over-crowded like other beaches in the country, Serenity Beach is definitely a must visit.
Popularly known as the City of Dawn, Auroville is a melting point of people from different countries and cultures. Located 12 kms from Pondicherry, this is a township experience you must not miss out on!
Tourists are advised to visit the place between the months of December and March.
How to Reach
The airport at Pondicherry can accommodate landing of a small aircraft only and has flights coming in from Bangalore and Hyderabad. However, you can get a connecting flight if you are coming from Delhi, Kochi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Chennai is the second nearest domestic as well as international airport which is approximately 135 kilometres away from Pondicherry. The Chennai airport is well connected to all major cities across the globe. Once you reach at the airport, you can hire a private taxi to reach Pondicherry.
The nearest rail station from Pondicherry is Villupuram, which is about 35 kilometres away from the town. The railhead is well-connected to cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Trivandrum. Two of the most popular trains are New Delhi Pondicherry Express and Nagarcoli Express. Once you reach at the station, you can hire a taxi that will drive you to the city.
There are several buses that ply frequently from Chennai, Thanjaur, Trichy, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Madurai to Pondicherry. Both private and state-owned buses are available. The bus fare will depend upon the distance covered.
Pondicherry falls on the National Highway 45, which connects it to major cities of South India such as Chennai, which is about 150 kilometres away and Bangalore, which is 320 kilometres away. You can hire a taxi or get behind the wheel to drive to Pondicherry from these nearby cities. Note that the drive from Chennai to Pondicherry, that is, on the East Coast Road is particularly scenic and offers fantastic views of the Bay of Bengal.
Stay / Eat
Where to Stay
S.V Patel Road,
Lake View Road,
Nallavad Post, Pudukuppam,
Le Royal Park
168, Kamaraj Salai,
Pondicherry , 605013
Where to Eat
170 Mission Street,
Le Boulevard Restaurant
126,S.V. Patel Salai,
Hotel de l’Orient