Pondicherry, a separate union territory on the east cost of Tamil Nadu, is not really a place that you’d expect to find in India. It was a former 18th century French colony, and still retains a distinctly French flavor. Those who feel in need of a break from India will enjoy the taste of French culture there and the relaxed atmosphere. Sri Aurobindo Ashram attracts plenty of spiritual seekers. The French Quarter and the Promenade, bordered by the Bay of Bengal, are the most happening parts of the city. Auroville is a popular day trip.
HOW TO REACH
Chennai, the capital city of the south Indian state, Tamil Nadu, is an eminent sea port overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Nonetheless the city is also a prominent tourist destination that hosts some of the serene sea beaches and historical ramparts. The approximate road distance from Chennai to Pondicherry is 160 kms and it is just about 3-4 hours drive keeping onto the National Highway 45.
The nearest airport is Chennai International airport for travelers who are pondering the question how to reach Pondicherry. This airport is located almost 135 km away. Chennai city is well linked to all airports all over the country.
Villupuram railhead is considered as the nearest railway station to Pondicherry. Villupuram is well linked to Trichy, Madurai and Chennai. From outside the railway station, there are numbers of buses and taxis available which offer comfortable services to travelers at affordable prices.
WHAT TO SEE
Auroville City is considered to be a â€˜City of Dawnâ€™ that is situated around 8 km from the main town of Pondicherry. It lies on the East Coast Road and was founded by Mirra Richard in 1968. This city was designed by the French architect Roger Anger with the purpose of achieving human unity. The word Auroville essentially means a universal town, where people can live peacefully, irrespective of nationality, colour, caste and creed.
Villianur covers an area of around 65 sq. km and is situated near the main town of Pondicherry. This place has an old Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwar Temple, which represents an amazing architecture style. There is an annual car festival held at this temple, which attracts large number of travellers across the world. This car festival is celebrated annually in the mid May, depending on the appearance of the full moon.
The Manakula Vinayagar Temple is a beautiful, huge temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is situated just behind the Raj Niwas. This temple was built around 5 centuries back and the idol of Lord Ganesha is locally known as Vellakkaran Pillai. Vinayaka Chaturthi and the 18 days celebration of Brahmotsavam are the famous festivals performed in the temple.
Pondicherry Beach is a popular beach, which is a perfect venue for enjoying the cool breeze and relaxing after a tiring day. This is a secluded beach which is surrounded by cafeterias, resorts, cottages and restaurants offering traditional cuisines. It is also an ideal place for sunbathing, playing beach volleyball and practicing yoga.
The Navagraha Temples, dedicated to nine grahas in Hindu mythology, form a group of nine different temples that are located in and around Karaikal. Featuring the architectural styles of the Chola Empire, the grahas enshrined in the temples are believed to have association with the nine celestial bodies.
Chunnambar Boat House:-
Chunnambar Boat House, the popular boating venue, is famous for its backwaters and lush greenery on either side. Tourists can enjoy boating at the Boat House situated near the Chunnambar River. This site is located at around 8 km from the main town of Pondicherry and can be reached by bus, taxi or auto rickshaw.
Karaikal Sandy Beach:-
Karaikal Sandy Beach, situated on the banks of Arasalar River, is known for its water sports. Popular for views of sunrise and sunsets, the beach has a boat jetty in the Arasalar, childrenâ€™s park, vehicle parking, beach restaurant and a tennis court.
Shopping in Pondicherry is a true delight since it is an octroi-free destination. Naturally the prices are quite rather cheap whatever you buy here. Pondicherry does not have any local heritage of handicrafts. Now a days Aurobindo Ashram factory in Pondicherry produces many articles, like: candles, incense sticks, paper etc, which have become as much as local specialties. These are quite popular with the tourists and make for good shopping in Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is known for its wide variety of cuisines ranging from South Indian delicacies like idly and dosa to seafood like fried fish, prawn bajji and parota.