Pondicherry is a small Union Territory, located in South-East India, next to Tamil Nadu. It is also known as India’s ‘French Capital’. This vibrant city brims with heritage buildings, unspoiled vast beaches, churches, ancient temples, Tamil and French quarters. It also boasts of having a colonial ambiance. Previously, it was a French colony offers tourists with a whole lot of things to indulge in and enjoy. Since this small city witnesses lots of tourist traffic throughout the year, you should book your choice of pondicherry hotels much in advance.
Top places to visit in Pondicherry
Boating expedition at Chunnambar Backwater:
You love watersports. If so, then you are sure to enjoy boating at the backwaters of the Chunnambar River. Located along Cuddalore Main Road is Chunnambar Boat House. It offers tourists exciting boat rides on its namesake river. You can have an ethereal experience boating over their serene backwaters. It offers stunning views of exotic birds and the verdant beauty of the region. You can choose between motorboats and pedal boats for the ride.
Enjoy the beach:
The beaches here are serene, unblemished, and allows tourists of all ages to relax, kick back, soak the sun, enjoy the cool waters, or have sunbathed. Promenade Beach is one of Pondy’s longest beaches. You can walk and enjoy the cool breeze at the beach. Also, get to view the beautiful and heavenly sunset with its glorious pink and orange hues reflecting the turquoise-colored water. If you are interested in water sports, then do visit Karaikal Beach and Paradise Beach. For Surfing, Serenity Beach is undoubtedly the place to be. To experience quiet, calm and to derive peace of mind, Mahe Beach is the ideal spot.
It is among the best spots to be at Pondy to view the setting sun. This man-made lake boasts of being home to different types of migratory and residential birds. Thus, it is a paradise, especially for bird lovers. Do check out the egrets, golden orioles, openbill storks, white ibises, storks, white-breasted water hens, and greater flamingos.
This is another sport that you are to fall in love with here because of Pondy’s impressive water clarity. Different types of marine life can be noticed here, thus making it among the country’s best locations to enjoy scuba diving. The diving sites here plunge to depths of about 5-40 meters. It is a wonderful place for both professionals and novices alike. You can come across some of the beautiful sea creatures like corals, sea snakes, manta rays, triggerfish, moray eels, kingfish, parrotfish, angelfish, lionfish, etc. Some of the favoured diving sites here are 4 Corners, Aravind’s Wall, Coral Shark Reef, The Hole, Temple Reef. You can enjoy scuba diving here much to your satisfaction. The rates charged are also quite reasonable. Temple Adventures is located at Colas Nagar, Indira Gandhi Stadium.
Visit temples and churches:
There are several churches and temples located all over Pondicherry. A few are architecturally brilliant and others are known for their simplicity and serenity. Some of the must-visit places include Manakula Vinayagar Temple for elephant blessings, stone ornately carved walls, and a huge golden chariot. You should also visit Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwar Temple featuring a beautiful and colorful exterior as well as ornate sculptures. The Sacred Heart Basilica of Jesus boasts of having Gothic architecture. The other one to visit is Conception Cathedral considered to be over three centuries old and indeed an architectural marvel.
Ride two wheeler and explore the beautiful French Colony:
Pondicherry is a very small city and can be explored very quickly on two wheels. The journey takes you across its rich cultural heritage and diversity. You can check out the Green quarters referred to as the Muslim quarters, French colonies, and Tamil quarters. Also are present numerous cultural and historical places of interest. You can avail bicycle guided tours that include Sita Cultural Center and Pondy Cycle tour. You can also opt for walking tours like the Heritage Walking Tour offered by English and French-speaking guides.
It is among the most popularly visited museums in Pondicherry. It houses numerous cultural and historical treasures, ranging from antiquities to modern-day collections. The different rooms boast having a wide range of rare and unique stone sculptures, including bronzes that were once part of the Pallava and Chola dynasties. Also are present pre-Christian artefacts and relics belonging to the Roman empires and Arikamedu Roman settlements. The museum has a geology room, fossil room, French furniture, handicrafts along other artifacts.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram:
This ashram was established by the spiritual guru Sri Aurobindo along with a French woman, referred to as popularly as the ‘Mother’, in 1926. If you seek spiritual happiness, then you should make it a point to visit this ashram. You can enjoy participating in yoga practices and a wide range of meditation sessions. You are sure to experience peace of mind, calmness, and immense satisfaction. It is located close to Manakula Vinayagar Kovil St. and Marine St. junction.
French War Memorial:
You can pay homage to those valiant soldiers who had laid their lives in the First World War. This memorial was constructed in 1971. On 14th July, every year, there is held an annual remembrance to honor those brave hearts.
Pondicherry Botanical Garden:
This is a must visit place for horticulture and architecture buffs. It has been designed in Ornate French style and boasts of having pruned trees, stunning flower beds, toy train rides, fountains, Japanese rock structure and an aquarium. This garden is spread over an area of about 22 acres, comprising of about 1,500 plant species collected from all over the world. The weekend musical fountain show is another popular highlight here. Show time however varies based on the season. It is located at Orleanpet, Marimalai Adigal Salai.
Pondicherry hotels offer top class accommodations at reasonable price rates. You can book online using your smartphone and confirm your choice of room.