Leisure Places

The 1.5 km long promenade running along the beach is the pride of Pondicherry. There one can relax or take a stroll at any time of the day. On the sea front are several land marks. The War memorial cold and dispassionate throbbing the memory of last dreams, the statue of Joan of Arc blazing an inspiration, the heritage town hall, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi standing tall, Dupleix statue, old light house, the remains of the old pier, the old customs house, speak the splendor of the by gone era. The well furnished tourist information centre is situated in esthetically heritage building facing the sea to cater to the need of visiting tourists.

Located 8 kms from the town, along the Cuddalore Main Road this beach can be accessed from the Chunnambar Resort. Flanked by a quiet flowing creek on one side, the beach can only be accessed by boat. Boating Time: 10.00 am to 5.30 Pm

The Auroville Beach as the name indicates is close to Auroville. It is right off the ECR, opposite the road leading to Auroville. Located around 12 kms from the main Pondicherry town, its shallow waters and small waves make it an ideal place of swimming. It is a fairly popular destination on weekends. On weekdays it is relatively less crowded.

This beach is a ten minutes drive to the north of the town. This virgin beach, with its serene surroundings is an ideal place to laze away your day.

Pondicherry sight seeing places - Located at the distance of about 8 km from Pondicherry along the Cuddalore Main Road, Chunnambar is a tropical heaven. Chunnambar Backwater in Pondicherry attractions let you unwind yourself within the exotic tree-houses posed ideally on the banks of backwater. The shore of Chunnambar Backwater is a perfect picnic spot where mixture of fun, sports, calm, romance and beauty prevail.

The Government Park or Bharati Park is in the green centre of the French Town and its lush trees provide ample relieve from the scorching sun on a hot summer day.

The Botanical Gardens are located south of the New Bus Stand. The gate leading to the garden is reminiscent of French architecture. The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in the ornate French style, with pruned trees, beautiful flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The French introduced many exotic plants from all over the world, many of which thrived. With over 1500 species of plants, this could actually qualify as one of the best botanical gardens in South India.

The beaches here are relatively clean & not as crowded. Any trip to Pondicherry would be incomplete without a visit to this beach, located around 10kms from the main Pondicherry town, its shallow waters and small - waves make it an ideal place of swimming. It is a fairly popular destination on weekends.



Ousteri Lake is the biggest lake in Pondicherry region which probably was built during the Vijayanagar days. The lake receives the greatest part of its water from River Gingee through the Suttukeni Channel. A visit to Ousteri Lake is like a breath of fresh air. he Bombay Natural History Society, has designated Ousteri an Important Bird Area (IBA) of India - over 20,000 birds belonging to over 40 species used to reside or winter at Ousteri. The Asian Wetland Bureau declared Ousteri one of 93 significant wetlands in Asia; and many of the birds recorded at Ousteri, including Spot-billed pelicans, Eurasian Spoonbills, Darters, Painted Storks, and Black-headed (or White) Ibis, are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Museums & Art Galleries

Subramanya Bharathi (1882-1921), Bharathiyar to all, was a Tamil poet-patriot who arrived in Pondicherry in 1908 a fugitive from British India. The Free French air brought the best in Bharathi and some of his finest patriotic and romantic compositions were born here. Bharathi's home also known as Bharathi Musuem, on No. 20, Eswaran Dharamaraja Koil Street, is almost a place of pilgrimage today for the Tamil people.

The Bharathidasan Museum, on No. 95 Perumal Koil Street, is the former house of the renowned Pondicherry born poet and playwright - Bharathidasan (1891-1960) (meaning "Disciple of Bharathi"). Bharathidasan's poems compare with Bharathi's in literary achievement and poetic fervor. He also wrote scripts for films on issues such as Dravidian culture and the rights of women.

The Pondicherry Museum is located on Saint Louis Street and is open on all days except Mondays and national holidays between 1000-1700 hrs. The museum has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from Arikamedu (an ancient port just 7 kms. from city that had trade links with the Roman empires).



Monuments

The Aayi Mandapam, which is the official symbol of the Pondicherry Government has been built by Napoleon III, in Aayi's memory. It was built during the sixteenth century. The tower stands majestically at the center of the park, enhancing its look. The Aayi Mandapam monument was built in accordance to the Greco - Roman style of Architecture.

Auroville - or the 'City of Dawn' - was conceived as a place of research into the ideal of human unity by the Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. The idea is to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill can live together in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.During the inauguration ceremony of Auroville on 28th February 1968, soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn and mixed to symbolize universal oneness

It was once the port office when the railway ran along Beach Road from the South Boulevard to the old 240 meters iron pier. A cyclone in 1952 largely destroyed the pier whose remains can still be seen poking out of the water.

This is a highlight of Pondicherry. A four-meter statue of Mahatma Gandhi is surrounded by eight magnificent granite pillars, which were supposedly brought from Gingee, a fort some 70 Kms. from Pondicherry.

The French War Memorial on Goubert Avenue is solemn reminder of those brave soldiers who laid down their lives, for their country during the First World War.

This light house was used for the first time on July 1st 1836 and continued to be used up to the year 1979. This now- abandoned lighthouse stands on the edge of the sea.

French Consulate General is the only diplomatic mission in town. This colonial building has changed over the years, and yet manages to retain some of its original 18th Century charm. The consulate is open to French citizens.

The classical building is a research institute in Indian civilization, history and society in ecology, in environment and development in South and Southeast Asia. The Center of Ideology focuses on Indian languages as a Central part of Indian's Cultural Heritage. They are preserving lots of palm leaf manuscripts. The building is notable for its entrance gate with pediment, arched staircases, arcades, windows.

The Government House (Raj Niwas) is a harmonious blend of French and Indian style of architecture. Once the location of the Hotel de la Compagnie (the French trading company that ruled in Pondicherry from its first settlement in 1674 until the French government took over in 1769) and later played host to Dupleix. It is now the Lieutenant Governor's residence.

The Matri Mandir is no doubt the finest attraction of Auroville. It consist of 4 concrete columns supporting an inner circular chamber, The external edges of the columns form a circle,. The space frame (grid of triangles) forming the outer part of the structure looks like a flattened globe. The outer part is covered with mesh of gold encased discs. The inner chamber is lined with lighted cloth.Entry to the inside chamber is though two helical ramps. In the center lies a crystal globe. In gets illuminated by a solitary light rays of sun from a heliostat mounted on the roof.It is open to the public on weekdays between 09.30 am to 12.30 pm & 1.45 pm to 4.00pm. On Sunday10 am to 1 pm.



There is a huge banyan tree near the village here. The canopy of the 400 year old tree covers a few acres at the very least.

Places of Worship

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the world flocking to it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science.It is open to the public daily between 08.00 - 12.00 hrs and 14.00 - 18.00 hrs.Children below 3 years of age are not allowed into the ashram and photography is allowed only with permission of the ashram authorities.

It is open to the public daily between 05.45 - 12.30 hrs and 16.00 - 21.30 hrs. This temple is more than 300 years old and is dedicated to Ganesha. It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesha. The temple also has a smaller shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan, who is Ganesha's younger brother. Over 5000 devotees flock to this site every day. It is open to the public daily between 05.45 - 12.30 hrs and 16.00 - 21.30 hrs.

Located on M.G.Road, this is believed to be the oldest temple in town, dating back to 970 AD. The temple built in the typical Dravidian style, complete with brightly colored 'gopuram' and sculpted pillars, is probably the oldest standing structure in Pondicherry. This temple is dedicated to Vishnu.

This is located in a small town called 'Villianur', 11 kms. from Pondicherry. The main shrine housing the 'Shivlinga' and the shrines dedicated to the Devi and Murugan date back to the 12th century Chola period. This temple has a little bit of French heritage attached to it, though not in its architecture, but in some of its traditions.

Located on Subbayah Salai, this white and brown neo-gothic church is one of Pondicherry's finest Catholic churches. It was built by French missionaries in the 1700's in a contrasting Neo-Gothic manner, with towers flanking a central gable and stained glass windows on the side. The church has an imposing entrance and the beautiful stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ's life. Further along the southern boulevard is the cemetery which has some interesting tombs with ornate marble decorations.

The Church of our Lady of the Angels on rue Roman Rolland was built in 1852 in the Greek Roman architectural style. Its façade flanked by two unadorned square towers, faces east towards the ocean. The interior is roofed by a barrel vault, with a great dome rising over the crossing. The pastel peach and lime colors give it a very serene appearance.

In 1867, the MEP missionaries of Pondicherry wished to build a Chapel at Villianur which is 13 Kilometers away from Pondicherry on the road to Villupuram. Hence the diocese has bought a piece of land at Villianur and Rev.Fr.Gou on, they procurator of the Pondicherry mission after a long negotiation with the Hindu temple authorities of Thirukameswarer Gogilambigai Temple.started to build a Chapel at Kanuvapet on the outskirts of Villianur, with the amount of the thanksgiving offering of Dr.Lephine's family for the miraculous cure of his daughter in exchange.

Meeran mosque is the oldest mosque in Pondicherry. It was built before 350 years. It has the old gothic Islam architecture in it. It was built by Arcod Navab. It has four lofty pillars below its dome, with Meerhath near it and Meember next to it