Pondicherry (or Puducherry), was a French colonial settlement in India, until 1954. It is now a Union Territory town, bound by the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu. This French capital of India is a destination that offers serenity and sanctity in its true sense. The city is calm and its urban architecture, depicting French style, attracts people from all over the world. Besides sightseeing, you don’t need to worry about what to do in Pondicherry, for the tiny holiday destination has a lot to offer to make it a fun-filled trip for you.
Read on to find out the 12 best things to do in Pondicherry:
1. Enjoy the beautiful sunrise
This tiny coastal city boasts some beautiful and untouched beaches. Additionally, the city has many beachside promenades. All this adds up to some wonderful locations to observe some of the most amazing sunrises in the country. So, wake up early in the morning or stay up all night long, but don’t miss the sunrise, for watching the sun rise from the vast expanse of the Bay of Bengal is one of the best things to do in Pondicherry.
Address: White Town, Puducherry, 605001
2. Heritage Walk
THE HINDU- Pondicherry Heritage Festival - a walk to soak in the heritage of former French enclave...Posted by INTACH Pondicherry on Sunday, 26 February 2017
Fringed with a diverse range of history and culture, Pondicherry makes it to the list of best historical places in the country. No matter in which corner of Pondy you are, you will always find yourself engulfed by its heart-warming locales and diversity! Explore this gorgeous French colony with a heritage walk through lively marketplaces and silent yet colourful lanes and witness how life thrives in this region. During the course of your walk, interact with the locals and get a glimpse of their daily life.
Also, while strolling around, you can witness how perfectly the French essence in Pondicherry was blended with Tamil lifestyle and cultures. A visit to Indian Square, in Vaishali Street, will offer you the best picture of how these two cultures embrace one another. On a whole, in the list of the things to do in Pondicherry, a heritage walk is the best and most convenient way to learn about and get acquainted with this rustic union territory.
Website: Heritage Walk
3. Take a boat ride to Paradise Beach with the Chunnambar Boat House
This popular venue offers spectacular boating facilities in the Chunnambar River, with lush, green plantations and backwaters as the backdrop. Located along Cuddalore Main Road, this is an amazing location for relaxing and chilling out. One can also sunbathe here and enjoy magnificent views of the sunset. Boats usually take people up to the placid and picturesque Paradise Beach, also known as Plage Paradiso.
Along with boating to the beach, there are some interesting and thrilling things to do in Pondicherry, especially this part of the city. You can go backwater boating, hiking, picnicking, and overnight camping in tree houses in the backwaters. From here, people can also take short cruises to the sea. You could be lucky and spot dolphins, too!
Chunnambar Boat House
Address: National Highway 45A, Near Water Sports Complex, Nonankuppam, Puducherry 605007
Website: Chunnambar Boat House
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4. Visit Aurobindo Ashram
Collection of Darshan Days in Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Rare Collection of Darshan Days in Sri Aurobindo AshramPosted by Pondicherry Mother on Monday, 7 April 2014
This ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo, in 1926, when he decided to withdraw from public view and continue his spiritual growth. The place is now visited by thousands of spiritual seekers from all over the world. If inner peace is what you seek, this is where you should be headed. The ashram gives a lot of importance to yoga as it helps in transforming body and mind.
Address: No. 9, Near Junction of Manakula Vinayagar, Kovil Street and Marine Street, White Town, Marine Street, Puducherry, 605002
Website: Aurobindo Ashram
Amazing Ariel Video of Matri Mandir, Auroville ! I Love Pondicherry ✅ Follow us @ www.Instagram.com/ILovePondicherry Credit: vimeo.com/164078347 ( Auroville International USA )Posted by I Love Pondicherry on Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator, Mirra Alfassa, also known as Mother, founded Auroville, in 1968. Her aim was to create a town where people of all nationalities could live in peace and progressive harmony, and true to her ideal, the place is full of calm and composure. Several workshops and therapies in and around the area help people get over their personal demons and be at peace once again. Even for the casual visitor, Auroville is an enchanting place.
One of the best things about Pondicherry are the beaches. There are four main beaches: Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach. They are never too crowded and, compared to other beaches in India, the beaches in Pondicherry are pretty clean and well kept. And there is nothing quite as refreshing as sitting by a beautiful beach!
Website: Beaches in Pondicherry
7. Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is one of the most enthralling and fun things to do in Pondicherry. In fact, Pondicherry is the only diving spot on the eastern coast of India. The place is characterized by natural coral reef, rocky pop-ups, man-made folds, and a plethora of marine organisms. The marine life includes coral, lionfish, grouper, kingfish, moray eels, manta rays, parrot fish, sea snakes, triggerfish, angelfish, bannerfish, and crustaceans. Scuba Diving is organised by Temple Adventures.
Scuba Diving at Temple Adventures
Address: 9, Archbishop Gandhi Street, Colas Nagar, 1st Road Opposite Indira Gandhi, Stadium,, Puducherry, 605001
Website: Temple Adventures
There are 32 churches in Pondicherry, such as the Church of Our Lady of Angels, Sacred Heart Church, Dupleix Church, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, to name a few of the biggest and oldest ones. Their beauty lies in the French architecture and the solace they hold within. Irrespective of your religion, just a few minutes of silence and reflection within these churches can put your mind at peace.
Website: Churches in Pondicherry
9. Old Lighthouse
One of Pondicherry’s most famous landmarks, the lighthouse was constructed in 1836, and at that time, was considered very modern because of its unique, round tower. It is not operational today but still remains a very interesting tourist attraction.
Address: Old Lighthouse, Goubert Ave, White Town, Puducherry, 605001
Website: Old Lighthouse
10. Gandhi Statue
As if to remind you that you’re in India, not France, there is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi not too far away from the memorial. Located on the Promenade, the statue is surrounded by eight monolithic granite pillars, from the 17th century. The entire monument is very striking, especially when seen from a distance.
Address: Near Beach, Beach Rd, Puducherry, 605001
Website: Gandhi Statue
Join a local tour guide on a Pondy Cycle Tour and get to know Pondicherry beyond its French heritage and colonial history. This is a slow-paced cycling with an average duration of 2.5 hours. The tour package includes a vintage Indian customised bicycle with basket, safety helmet and a bottle of water. The route will pass through the Muslim area to Kuruchikuppam (fishermen village) via Goubert Market and the Heritage French town. You’ll have numerous stops in between for photo opportunity. At the end of the tour, enjoy your breakfast in a lovely tropical garden and choose between a traditional South Indian or a French menu. The tour departs every day at 7:00 am from Sita Cultural Centre.
Pondy Cycle Tour
Price: 22 USD
Duration: 2.5 hours
Kolam is a traditional symbol of auspiciousness. They are beautifully designed, geometrical and multi-coloured drawings created every day on the floor in front of the house. In Hindu, kolams are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi to help the family drive away evil spirits. Rice is often used to make kolam patterns since these are meant to feed the birds and small insects. Discover more about this interesting art by joining a 1.5-hour workshop with our local artist. You will learn the techniques of kolam and practice creating your own masterpiece. This can be booked between 9 am to 12 noon and includes transport from your hotel to the workshop’s venue.
Traditional Kolam initiation with Anita
Price: 10 USD
Duration: 1.5 hours
Visit the Indian version of France
Step into Pondicherry and you’ll wonder if you’re in India or France. I, myself am a proud Pondicherrian. It is a quaint little place and you can see everything there is to see in Pondicherry, in one day. But if you have more time, you can just relax, slow down and find meaning and purpose in the simple things in life. From yoga and meditation to pottery or just sitting by the beach, there are numerous ways to unwind in Pondicherry.
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