Places to visit in Pondicherry
There is no shortage of places to visit in Pondicherry, there is something for everyone! The tiny union territory of Pondicherry was once the largest French colony in India. And even today that French influence is still visible, you will feel it especially when you take a walk around the villas in French quarter.
Here are the list of places to visit in Pondicherry and some top things things to do as well:
Old French Architecture
Believe me, you will fall in love with the old colonial architecture in Pondicherry, the moment you set your feet in this town. Pretty yellow white houses gives a consistent look as well as enhances the aesthetics of this former Indian french colony.
Located right in the center of Pondicherry is old Pillayar temple dedicated to a Lord Pillayar, a form of Ganesha. And frequented by local and tourists alike.
And while you are there don’t forget to get the blessing from Lakshmi, the temple elephant. Interestingly the temple Elephant at Vittala temple in Hampi is also named, Lakshmi. If you are just in time you can partake in the evening aarti and immerse yourself in the charged atmosphere.
It is one of those rare temples in south India where foreigners are allowed inside. The French quarter and the beach are close by so you can combine all three in one walk. Not to be missed is the marvelous golden chariot.
Sacred Heart of Jesus
Sacred Heart of Jesus is an old church situated on MG Road, bang opposite to Pondicherry railway station. The church was constructed in 1907 and its gothic architecture style is a marvel to look at.
Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges
Also known as Our Lady of Angels Church, Puducherry is a roman catholic church looking out over the Bay of Bengal. The church is located in white town close to the rocky beach and the Gandhi statue. The church was constructed in the year 1855 in the Greco Roman architectural style. French service is conducted daily beside Tamil and English; fine limestone work on the façade of the church will catch your eye.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral
Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful Pondicherry church. Several hundreds visitors throng to the church everyday during the peak tourist season in Pondicherry.
Founded by the great spiritual teacher Sri Aurbindo, Auroville is a fledging self-supporting community. For those who are still wondering what this place is all about, in essence Auroville is a spiritual retreat and a Yoga center.
Auroville is located around fifteen kilometers from center of Pondicherry, at a time houses more than 2000 people.
Sri Aurbindo left freedom movement when he found his call in spirituality, in 1926 he founded the Aurobindo ashram. The township itself was established much later in 1968. Later after his death, the community grew under the guidance of The Mother, Mirra Alfassa, a woman originally from Paris who spent her days preaching the philosophy of Sri Aurbindo.
You can read more about The Mother here:
You may roam around freely in the area but certain areas are inaccessible and you need to have proper pass. Bureau Central, the information center, issues pass.
You can stay overnight in a guest house in the Ashram but you need to book in advance as accommodation generally get sold out.
If you further interested in exploring the philosophy and teachings of Sri Aurbindo, a complete list of work by Sri Aurbindo is available to download in pdf form from the official website below:
Things to do in Pondicherry
- Lazy walk around the mission street.
- Watch the sunrise on the beach,
- Eat in several of the french style cafes
How to reach Pondicherry from Bangalore
Distance between Bangalore and Pondicherry is only 320 kilometers which can be easily covered 5-6 hours. It is best that you visit Pondicherry from Bangalore by car, otherwise you can take the Bangalore to Pondicherry overnight train. The Yesvantpur-Puducherry Weekly Express starts at 9 PM from Bangalore and reaches Pondicherry early at 07:15 AM.