This picturesque quaint beach town existed as the largest French colony in pre-Independence India. The French influence is yet visible in its streets, cuisine, and old homes. Interestingly, you can hear the locals speak fluently in French, Tamil, and English. It offers a variety of entertainment, recreational, and spiritual facilities to tourists of all ages. From site-seeing, meditation, and yoga to strolling on the beach, there are countless ways to enjoy your stay in Pondicherry.
Here’s the handy list of top 5 must-see places in this idyllic city that you shouldn’t forget to visit, if you’re planning to travel to Pondicherry:
One of the major attractions of this coastal city is the beaches. These stretches of sand are pretty clean, devoid of trash, and well-maintained by the local government body. Pondicherry boasts of 4 prime beaches, namely, Paradise beach, Promenade beach, Serenity beach, and Auroville beach.
This beach area consists of white-gold sand which is soft in nature. Cool, transparent blue water lapping at its border enhances its scenic beauty many times over. You will have to rent a boat from Chunnambar Boat House to reach this place.
As the name suggests, it is a peaceful and less crowded beach. You won’t find any hawkers and no commercial activities is allowed, here. If you’re looking for a quiet stroll during night-time or want to bask in the sunlight, without noise pollution, then this is the perfect place to be!
Just like the Serenity Beach, this place is a hit with tourists and locals who wants to enjoy its calm surroundings, cool breeze, and a walk on its pristine sand.
This beach is noisier than the other three lovely beaches. Unlike the trio, the sand of this bustling beach is rather coarse.
Founded by Mirra Alfassa, in 1968, in the memory of Sri Aurobindo, this small township attracts spiritual seekers, philosophers, and random tourists, from all over the world. People of different nationalities spend time here to attend workshops related to spirituality or undergo spiritual-healing sessions.
3. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh Ashram
This spiritual ashram was set up in 1926 and is a must-see place for all spiritual seekers who visit India. It has calm, clutter-free, and clean surroundings and is quite well-maintained. If you are searching for inner peace or just want to revel in the beauty of this place, you won’t be left disappointed!
4. Le Café
It is open 24×7 and one of the most popular joints in Pondicherry. This place offers wide variety of high-quality liquors and cocktails served by experienced bartenders. You can also snack on various scrumptious meals such as steaks, crepes, and pizzas. It also houses a garden restaurant where you can hang-out with your family and friends.
5. Pondicherry Museum
It is one-of-its-kind museum and houses many relics, sculptures, and other historical artifacts belonging to Ancient Rome, French settlers, Dutch travelers, and British era. Almost all archaeological findings excavated from the ancient port-city ‘Arikmedu’ are now on display here. According to the historians, it was a trading port between erstwhile Rome and Tamil Nadu.
You can also visit Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple which is home to a massive 15 meters-high chariot. During ‘Brahmotsavam’, the annual temple festival of Pondicherry, a procession of priests and devotees pull the temple chariot. There are other major city-attractions such as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the French Quarters. The former is a famous Catholic church whereas the latter colony houses numerous magnificent villas and structures built based on French architectural style. You can also explore the remnants of the Gingee Fort. Declared as a national monument in the year 1921, this impressive fort draws tourists, throughout the year. For families with kids, there is the Jawahar Toy Museum that contains over 140 toys and dolls collected from different parts of India.