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Puducherry Attractions

Aurobindo Ashram
Promenade Beach
Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Indian Subcontinent >> India >> Puducherry >> Sightseeing in Puducherry

Sightseeing in Puducherry

As far as sightseeing goes Pondicherry has quite a bit to offer to the traveller.

Shree Aurobindo and The Mother, his most eminent disciple, set up the Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville in 1926. Together they explored the possibilities of yoga and meditation as a path to salvation. At the Ashram residents continue to practice their teachings and run a lot of the cultural activity in Pondicherry. There is an educational centre, which occasionally hosts lectures, screens films and holds play performances.

The sun, surf and sand are best at the beaches a little outside town. Called Serenity, Quiet and Reppo they manage to live up to their name. The town beach has a 4-meter high statue of Mahatma Gandhi and French World War I memorial. There is a 150-year-old lighthouse which is also one of the good places to see in Puducherry. The French Institute is in a stylish colonial building. It has some remarkable old French books that are very rare. The Romain Rolland library has over 60,000 volumes and overlooks the sea. Along with the ‘kepis’ capped cops and its streets being called ‘rue’, it is the churches that help the town retain its European charm.

The church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception or Notre Dame de la Conception is almost 300 years old. The church to Our Lady of Angels is famous for an oil painting that was gifted by Napoleon III. The most magnificent however is the grand gothic Sacred Heart Church with 3 stained glass panels of the life of Christ. Just outside town is a copy of the Basilica at Lourdes.

Many temples around Pondicherry are dedicated to Ganesh, the half man half pachyderm god who is the Destroyer of all Obstacles. The oldest ones date back to the 10th century Chola Empire. The Vinaynagar Manakula temple has a golden dome and a collection of 40 beautiful friezes. The temple to the local goddess Drowpattiamman has a fire festival in July-August.

The Botanical Gardens are worth a visit and pleasant for a stroll. The aquarium here has a collection of exotic ornamental fish. The Pondicherry Museum has a really eclectic collection of this, that and the other. It has an art collection, Pallava sculptures, handicraft, weaponry, archaeology, geology and the old French Governor Dupleix’s bed, an old palanquin and such interesting odds and ends! The Jawahar Toy Museum has a collection of dolls dressed up to represent every state in India.


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