Pondicherry beaches are a must visit ones in Tamil Nadu, their brilliant colours radiating all over the city is a lovely sight to behold. Their long eternal shores dotted with few stalls and lots of foreign tourists basking in the sun will give you a feel of entering into a western nation. These beaches are touched with a tint of Anglo-French culture. With a coast line of 32 kms, well-planned French Boulevard town, palm-fringed beaches, resorts, backwaters, water sports centre, fishing villages, harbour, the pier, the famous Aurobindo Ashram, the international city of Auroville, world-renowned Yoga centres and other attractions, Pondicherry is the ideal place to spend your holidays with your family. There's something for every one.
The origin of Pondicherry is buried in legends. According to one view, the town was once called Vedapuri and was a seat of Vedic culture, and the abode of Sage Agastya. Prof. Jonvean Dubrouil, the French archeologist believes that the Ashram of Agastya was on the very spot where the main building of Sri Aurobindo Ashram stands today.
Remnants of an ancient port town have been excavated at Arikamedu, 6 kms from Pondicherry town, clearly proving that it had trade connections with Rome and Greece, around the period 100 BC and 100 AD.
Pondicherry continued to flourish even during the Chola period, as the discovery of the Chola coins from the eleventh and twelfth centuries indicate. These Chola coins and the artefacts from the excavations at Arikamedu can be viewed in the Pondicherry Museum.
By Air : The Nearest Airport is Chennai 155 kms away.
By Rail : The Nearest Railway Station is Puducherry.
By Road : You can easily get regular buses to Pondicherry from other major cities of the country.
Shri Aurobindo Ashram : Shri Aurobindo, the great seer, poet and prophet of the twentieth century, made Pondicherry his home from 1910 till his death in 1950. His vision and ideals continue to draw people from all over the world.
Auroville : Located 10 kms north of Pondicherry town, Auroville is envisioned as a Universal Town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. The construction of this 'universal town' was started in 1968 under the guidance of The Mother, a Paris-born painter musician who became Sri Aurobindo's disciple and close companion from 1924 till his death in 1950. The development of this utopia is still in progress. Several countries have offered to set up permanent pavilions, reflecting the culture and ethos of their countries.
Pondicherry Museum : On display are the findings of Arikamedu, the Chola bronzes and sculptures, glimpses of French heritage, specimens of modern and traditional handicraft, paintings, armouries, carvings and many other things of historical interest.
Chunnambar Resort - Water Sports Centre : Known for its virgin beaches and backwaters, Chunnambar has a Water Sports Centre which offers exciting boating experiences. It is also a great tourist spot.
Botanical Garden : Established by C.S. Perrotet in 1826, it preserves a large variety of exotic species of plants from all over India and abroad.
Villiayanur : Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswarar Temple, architecturally the finest in Pondicherry, is located 9.5 kms away. During May-June, a ten-day annual festival (Brahmothsavam) is held here which attracts hundreds of devotees. The temple car rising to a height of 15.25 metres is profusely decorated, pulled out from its usual position and taken on a procession around the town. It is an awe-inspiring sight.
Mansion of Ananda Rangapillai : Built in 1773, this mansion is a fine specimen of Indo-French architecture. Ananda Rangapillai was the courtier of Joseph Francois Dupleix, the Governor. The diary which Rangapillai maintained between 1736-60 is a book of great value as a source of information on the history of Pondicherry and the French in India.
Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus : Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this church is noted for its gothic architecture and stained glass panels which depict the entire life of Jesus Christ.
Anglo-French Textile Mills : Established over a century ago, a visit to the Anglo-French Textile Mills is an education in itself. The mill gives a ten percent rebate on purchases made by tourists who go on guided tours. The acclaimed fabrics and products of this mill make ideal mementoes and gifts.