Although India is a country with unity in diversity, you can experience France in it, if that’s what you are looking to. Pondicherry, one of the seven Union Territories of India, has long been witnessing a major influx of tourists from every nook and corner of the world. Officially known as Puducherry, this former French colony is a fine blend of French architecture and conventional Indian sensibilities. If you are looking for tranquility and serenity, Pondicherry is a perfect getaway this summer.
Listed Below are the Best 10 Places to Visit in Pondicherry you Must Explore.
1. Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges
2. Immaculate Conception Cathedral
3. Pondicherry Beach / Promenade Beach
4. Chunnambar Boat House
5. Sri Aurobindo Ashram
6. Pondicherry Museum
7. Bharathi Park / Government Park
8. Manakula Vinayagar Temple
9. Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
10. French War Memorial
Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges
Located in the White Town, Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges is a French church in Puducherry. Also known as the “Church of Our Lady of Angels”, this church is one of the most explore attractions in the union territory that no backpacker even thinks of missing. Your trip to Pondicherry is deemed incomplete if you overlook such a fabulous attraction. Present at the corner of Surcoof Street and Dumas Street, the architecture found in this magnificent church will leave you speechless.
You can find a multitude of stunningly beautiful paintings as well as sculptures that are worthy of your sight. In fact, Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges is the oldest church in Pondicherry, as it was founded in 1855. Known for its remarkable masonry, the church has an appearance that has been inspired by those in France. While you can make the most of the beauty of this awe-inspiring church at any time, the best months to visit the church are from September-February.
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Immaculate Conception Cathedral
About 300 years old, Immaculate Conception Cathedral is unquestionably one of the most exquisite pieces of architecture that you certainly don’t want to miss. It was built by the very first Jesuit Fathers that came to Pondicherry back in 1689. It is the cathedral mother church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the French colony and Cuddalore.
There is no denying the fact that this church is one of the truly breathtaking sights in Pondicherry. It was visited by Mother Teresa during her tour of the union territory. This amazing church can leave any visitor mesmerized with its alluring look. This church has a history which will fascinate you deep inside. The various statues are incredibly maintained with the major attraction being the ‘bell tower’, which has got the massive bell hanging in it.
Pondicherry Beach / Promenade Beach
If you are looking to ‘cool off’ this summer in mind-blowing Pondicherry, make sure you visit the Promenade Beach. Regarded as one of the French colony’s most popular places, this beach is a perfect option to soak in the sun. If you have a fondness for nature or looking for an experience of a lifetime, Promenade Beach is where you should head out to.
Stretching for approximately 1.5 km, this beach is truly a wonderland for all the holiday-makers who travel to the French colony to check out its mind-boggling sightseeing spots and other places to explore. Moreover, the Promenade Beach is home to some of the most brilliant landmarks, such as the statue of Joan of Arc, the Heritage Town Hall, and the War Memorial. If you’re into sports, you can enjoy sports like swimming and volleyball on the beach.
Chunnambar Boat House:
At a distance of 6 km from Pondicherry Bus Station is the Chunnambar Boat House – one of the most popular destinations catching the fancy of tourists from all over. Located along the Cuddalore Main Road, this boathouse is also known as Paradise Beach. While getting kissed by the sun, you can get the most out of the beach sports all day long. It is famous for backwaters and entices a lot of boating enthusiasts. The backwater is located at a point where the Chunnambar River converges with the Bay of Bengal.
PTTDC (short for Pondicherry Tourism and Transport Development Corporation) manage this backwater resort, which is known as Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort. You’ll be spoilt for choice as the resort offers a wide range of fun activities, such as yachting, trekking, beach games, and backwater boat trips.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram:
Located in Pondicherry is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a well-known spiritual community. Founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother), this ashram is one of the top-notch attractions exerting a pull on thousands of people from all the corners of the world. Also, this ashram is a place of Samadhi Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
With a vibrant community of 2000 people living and working throughout the French colony, there’s no denying Sri Aurobindo Ashram has gained recognition all around the world. Various departments look after the basic requirements of the people living in the ashram, including food, clothing, and shelter. Members of this ashram regularly take part in diverse activities, like asanas, swimming, sports, and strength training.
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Located on Saint Louis Street, the Pondicherry Museum is an art and history museum that attracts history buffs from far and wide. One of the most popular museums in Pondicherry, you can witness a great collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties.
There’s an outstanding gallery with sculptures in this museum. It has significantly preserved the remnants of archaeological findings from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. Apart from these, there are swords, guns, crockery, paintings, terracotta figures, burial urns, mirrors, and many other items of significance that date back to different periods in time.
Bharathi Park / Government Park:
Bharathi Park, which is commonly known as ‘Government Park’, is the most ideal greenery of a French town called Pondicherry. The presence of a myriad of trees provides the much-needed comfort from the blazing sun in summers. This park has gained immense popularity due to its striking features. Also, there’s a small pond in which the children can enjoy swimming.
Bharathi Park used to be the location of the first French garrison and Fort Louis that was demolished by the British. In 2006, the park was revamped and many new sections were incorporated to make it seem more stunning. It’s a serene park where you can have a great time with your loved ones or enjoy a morning/evening walk.
Manakula Vinayagar Temple:
The Manakula Vinayagar Temple is a magnificent and incredibly stunning temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu lord Ganesha. Built before the 15th century, this temple still stands tall in its splendid glory. It is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Pondicherry. The French colony might be a place laden with churches in almost every corner, but Manakula Vinayagar Temple is exceptionally popular among Hindu devotees. Moreover, a lot of visitors from all over flock to this temple to witness its magnificence. Being more than 500 years old, it still boasts of its illustrious history and is one of the oldest temples in the area. Many festivals and celebrations are held throughout the year at the temple.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
One of the unparalleled examples of Gothic architecture in India, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the most sanctified places of Pondicherry. Located just 2.5 km away from the bus station on the south boulevard, this church was established by the French missionaries in 1908 and was given the status of the ‘Basilica’ in 2011. This church is quite big, as it can easily accommodate close to 150 people at a time.
Known to be one of Pondicherry’s most beautiful Catholic Churches, it extraordinarily showcases the Gothic architecture. You can even see biblical words engraved on the entrance in Latin. Aside from these, there are images of Jesus and Mother Mary at the entrance door. A lot of people gather together at the church to celebrate occasions like Christmas Eve, Easter Day, and New Year in a wonderful way. If you are visiting Pondicherry, then a visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a must. It will take you to the world of serenity far away from the hustle and bustle of town.
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French War Memorial:
French War Memorial is one of the most popular attractions in Pondicherry. Located on the Goubert Avenue, it is built in 1971 to commemorate the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives during WWI (First World War).
There are four stark white columns with a life-size statue of a soldier, who’s leaning on a rifle. The memorial has a small garden built around the monument and is gorgeously lit on the Bastille Day, which is celebrated on 14th July.
Nicknamed “Paris of the East”, Pondicherry along the Bay of Bengal is captivating in every sense of the word. It will leave you in awe with its intriguing sightseeing spots. The attractions showcase the French culture in our own country. What you will take back home is a collection of golden memories that you will treasure for years to come. Pondicherry is a place you will keep visiting over and over again.