Pondicherry

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If peace and a serene break is most sort of after then Pondicherry is surely one of the choicest holiday destination in southern India. The town offers an unique experience with its mix modern heritage and spiritual culture. Pondicherry was under French rule until 1954 and some of the people still speaks French. Enjoy the shopping, the French food, the bear, the sea air and plenty of Yoga & Meditation. There are numerous picturesque beaches which is very calm and peaceful.

Pondicherry is a popular tourist destination in South India. The city has many colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues which, combined with the systematic town planning and planned French style avenues, still preserve much of the colonial ambiance.

The most popular tourist destinations are the four beaches in Pondicherry, which are Promenade Beach (also known locally as the Rocky Beach), Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India. Auroville (City of Dawn) is an “experimental” township located 8 km north-west of Pondicherry. It is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.

There are a number of old and large churches in Pondicherry, most of which were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. A number of heritage buildings and monuments are present around the Promenade Beach, such as the Children’s Park & Dupleix Statue, Gandhi statue, Nehru Statue, Le Café, French War Memorial, 19th Century Light House, Bharathi Park, Governors Palace, Romain Rolland Library, Legislative Assembly, Pondicherry Museum and the French Institute of Pondicherry at Saint-Louis Street.

Puducherry is also popular for its eateries that cover a wide variety of cuisines ranging from French, Indian and Italian to Mexican, Thai and Chinese. Some restaurants also serve a unique Indo-French cuisine that gives tourists a taste of Puducherry’s colonial influences. Most popular eateries include Baker’s Street, The White Town Cafe, Zuka, Carte Blanche and La Maison Rose.

Puducherry Botanical Gardens is located south of the New Bus Stand. Chunnambar Backwater resort is situated 8 km from Pondicherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical resort is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. Boating and tree house are very popular.

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam on Manakula Vinayagar Street is a Hindu temple, which houses Lord Ganesha. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple was in existence before the French came and settled in Pondicherry i.e. before 1666. According to Sasthra, Lord GANESHA is named in 16 types based on his various forms, out of which this god facing the east coast near the Bay of Bengal was named as Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy, now called as Manakula Vinayagar. In Tamil, ‘Manal’ means sand and ‘Kulam’ means pond near the sea. Earlier, there was full of sand around the pond. So, the people called the god as Manal Kulathu Vinayagar [means God near the pond of sand]. Later, it was named as Manakula Vinayagar.

Thirukaameeswarar Temple is one of the ancient temples located in a rural town called Villianur (the ancient name is Vilvanallur, meaning “vilva marangal niraindha nalla vur”), which is located about 10 km away (towards Villupuram) from Pondicherry town. This temple is renowned as Periya Koil “Big Temple”. The prime god is Lord Shiva and the prime goddess is Goddess Kokilambigai. In addition, there are also other Hindu gods such as Murugan, Vinayagar, Thakshanamoorthy, Perumal, Bhramah, Chandikeshwarar, Natarajar, Navagrahah, and 63 Naayanmaars. The pioneers in this temple say that the age of this temple is about 1000+ years. It is thought to have been built by one of the Chola kings. There is also a huge “temple pond”. The “Ther Thiruvizha” (Car Festival) is celebrated at this temple.

Apart from sight seeing places for the tourists, there are a number of various bakeries and restaurants that cater to the Europeans taste buds. For others there are many Indian, Continental, Chinese and fast food restaurants to choose from.