Pondicherry, a union territory of India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India and is located along the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal.
Interesting facts about Pondicherry Located on the southeast coast of India, Puducherry aka Pondicherry offers a glimpse of France in India.
Near Promenade Beach there is a White Town area, built in such a way that it resembles the cities of France. It is said that in 1673 the French people started migrating to Puducherry which is today a union territory.
they started building houses following the French style of architecture in order to feel at home. And before anyone realized it, the area was filled with these organized French residences, now known as Little France.
According to a legend, Pondicherry was known as Vedapuri and this place is also believed to be the abode of the revered sage Agastya. Pondicherry attracts a large number of tourists every year with its attractive tourist places.
Pondicherry has located 160 km to the south of Chennai and due to its small size, it is very easy to travel.
Pondicherry also attracted the attention of the Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French. Pondicherry came under French rule in 1673 and thereafter became the site of fighting between the British and the French.
Let us tell that before its independence in 1954, it remained the capital of French India for almost 300 years. In 2006, the name of Pondicherry was changed to Puducherry, which means ‘New Village’ in the Tamil language.
Pondicherry is a great tourist destination in India which is known for its untouched beaches. Tourists can witness the fascinating views of sunset and sunrise during their visit here.
Watching the sunrise over the deep blue waters of the Bay of Bengal here is a wonderful experience that everyone should be a part of. Steeped in French history and culture, this place attracts everyone with its French colonial buildings and monuments.
During a visit to Pondicherry, tourists can visit many fascinating places and spend quality time on the beaches here. It may be a small town but there is a lot to do here.
Tourists can enjoy several watersports here at Karaikal Beach and Paradise Beach, which include kayaking, jet skiing, canoeing, scuba diving, and backwater boating to name a few.
Pondicherry is the perfect place to visit if you want to experience the best of ancient history and culture.
History of Pondicherry
In the 4th century, the Pondicherry region was part of the Pallava Kingdom of Kanchipuram. For the following centuries, Pondicherry was occupied by various dynasties from the south.
In the 10th century AD, Pondicherry was conquered by the Cholas of Tondajavur (Tamil Nadu). In the 13th century, the Cholas were replaced by the Pandyas. Pondicherry later saw a series of Muslim invasions.
In 1673, the French East India Company established a trading center in Puducherry and the outpost became an important French settlement in India. Dutch and British trading companies also wanted to establish trade with India. As a result, there was a war between these countries, and in 1693, the Dutch captured Pondicherry.
In 1699, by the Treaty of Raiswick, the Dutch returned Pondicherry to France. The French acquired Mahi, Yanam, and Karaikal parts of Pondicherry in 1720, 1731, and 1798. During the years (1742-1763), Pondicherry fell into different hands.
On 16 January 1761, the British captured Pondicherry from the French. But by the Treaty of Paris, Pondicherry was again returned to the French but was taken again by the British in 1793, in the midst of the wars of the French Revolution.
In 1814, Pondicherry was again returned to France. When the British gained control of all of India in the late 1850s, they allowed France to keep their settlements in the country.
Until 1954, Pondicherry, Mahe, Yanam, Karaikal, and Chandranagar remained part of French India. In 1947, India’s independence set in motion the union of French Indian possessions with former British India.
In 1948, an agreement was reached between France and India to elect its political future to the Indian possessions of France. It was on 1 November 1954 that the bureaucracy was united with India and in 1963 Puducherry was organized as a union territory.
It took seven years for Puducherry to unite with India. Now in 1787 and 1791, the farmers of Karaikal agitated against the heavy tax imposed by the French. In 1927 and 1930, students came to the fore with the movement.
Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Bal Gangadhar Tilak visited Pondicherry and addressed meetings. There were police control arrests everywhere. This increased the anger of the people towards their rulers.
In the late 1930s, organizations known as Mahajan Sabhas were opened in Pondicherry and Karaikal. These groups, along with trade unions, launched a non-cooperation movement.
During World War II, Pondicherry supported France. The French India Congress was formed in 1946 with the goal of incorporating French possessions with India.
In 1948, the French People’s Convention expressed its determination to join French possessions with India. The government under Jawaharlal Nehru was apprehensive of annexing French Indian territories with the country. In June 1948, India signed an agreement with France, which gave power to the people to determine the political status of their land.
As a result in October 1948, municipal elections were held in Pondicherry, Karaikal, and Yanam. The French India Socialist Party, a pro-French group, took over all the municipalities except one. The new councilors accepted the self-government proposed by the French government. The Indian government continued to press for a coalition, promising a different status.
On 18 March 1954, the mayors and mayors of the Executive Council of Pondicherry and the surrounding seven communes announced their decision to merge with India without a plebiscite. When the Socialist Party was preparing to put forward a proposal for the merger, the French governor canceled it by adjourning the session.
This instigated the socialists and they planned to capture the communists one after the other and go to Pondicherry. The Communist Party was also ready to launch a campaign of direct action to integrate Pondicherry with India.
On 31 March 1954, the leaders of the Socialist Party hoisted the Indian National Flag above the Netampakkam Police Station. National Youth Congress started Satyagraha. The processions of freedom fighters were lathi-charged and the flags raised by the people were confiscated and torn down by the French Indian Police.
On 13 October 1954, India and France issued a joint statement declaring a modus operandi to determine the status of French settlements. On 18 October 1954, elected members of the House of Representatives and Municipal Councilors of Pondicherry and Karaikal participated in a plebiscite at Keelur.
Of the 178 members, 170 supported the merger of the French Indian territories with the Motherland. Three days later an agreement on the transfer of French territories was signed between the two countries in New Delhi.
On 16 August 1962, India and France exchanged approval, whereby France granted India full sovereignty over the territories it occupied.
From 1 July 1963, Pondicherry and the other enclaves of Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam were administered as the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
Tourist Places In And Around Pondicherry
Pondicherry is an excellent destination for the traveler who wishes to have a varied travel experience. The city has four wonderful beaches – Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Serenity Beach, and Auroville Beach which offer a new holiday experience to the travelers visiting here.
Another major attraction of this place is Sri Aurobindo Ashram, India’s famous ashram and yoga center.
The city of Auroville, also known as the City of Mornings, attracts tourists with its unique culture, heritage monuments, and architecture.
There are many monuments and statues in Pondicherry such as the statue of Gandhiji, the Matrimandir, the French War Memorial, the statue of Joseph Francois Dupleix, and the statue of Joan of Arc, made of marble on Gubert Marg.
Other attractions of the city are Pondicherry Museum, Jawahar Toy Museum, Botanical Garden, Osteria Wetland, Bharathidasan Museum and National Park, Arikamedu, Dupleix Statue, and Raj Niwas.
The city has an interesting mix of religious places which include churches and Hindu temples. The most popular religious places of Pondicherry are – Eglais de Notre des Angels (also known as Church of Our Lady of Angels), The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Cathedral of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple, and Kanniga Parameshwari Temple.
The city of unique architecture, rich in the sea and unique architecture, Pondicherry gives a pleasant feeling to the travelers visiting here. The entire city is built on a grid pattern and is most known for its significant French influence.
Many of the city’s streets have French names and the palatial houses and villas made of colonial architecture offer a spectacular sight for travelers. This city is divided into two parts; the French part (also known as White Town or Ville Blanche) and the Indian part (also known as Black Town or Ville Noire).
The buildings built in traditional colonial architecture characterize the first part and the second part is characterized by ancient Tamil cuisine. Pondicherry, with its culture rich in French and Tamil influences, presents an astonishing mosaic of culinary delights for food lovers.
Along with traditional Tamil and Kerala cuisine, travelers can also indulge in genuine baguettes, brioches, and pastries in this city. Le Club, Blue Dragon, Satsang, Rendezvous, Gals Sea, Le Café, La Coromandel, and La Terrasse are some of the places that are recommended for a delicious dining experience.
The city streets and boutiques are a paradise for those who enjoy shopping. Handicrafts, fabrics, stones, wooden figurines, mats, pottery, perfumes, incense sticks, glass work, lamps, and candles provide a unique shopping experience for the strollers of the city streets.
The International Yoga Festival in December, the French Food Festival in August, and the Shopping Festival in January are among the major festivals in the region.
Places to visit in Pondicherry
Paradise Beach is a popular tourist destination in Pondicherry
Paradise Beach is a major attraction of Pondicherry which is located in Chunnambar near the city. This beach decorated with golden sand attracts tourists very much. This beach is one of the most visited places in Pondicherry where tourists can enjoy the cool sea breeze. The sand in Paradise Beach is very soft and granular.
A walk on the beach here gives a great experience for the tourists. You can see a variety of birds near this seed and photography enthusiasts can click some great pictures here. The currents of the water are very strong on this beach, so it is advisable not to go deep in the water here.
Tourists can get a fresh coconut water and some simple snacks during their visit to this beach. A great place to watch the sunrise view from Paradise Beach. You can sit on the beach and enjoy the waves and enjoy a variety of water sports.
Things to do at paradise beach
- enjoy water sports
- enjoy delicious food
- catch the beautiful view of the sunrise
Aurobindo Ashram, the main tourist attraction of Pondicherry
Aurobindo Ashram located in the White Town of Pondicherry is a famous site named after its creator Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. Let us tell you that the foundation of this ashram was laid on 24 November in the year 1926, when he settled in Pondicherry after retiring from politics. Mir Alfasa was one of Aurobindo’s followers who played a key role in the establishment of this ashram and took care of it soon after the death of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh in 1950. Please tell her that she was known as the ‘mother’ of the ashram. At present, the ashram consists of more than five hundred devotees, five hundred students, and thirteen hundred patients.
This ashram was established to help people attain salvation and inner peace. A large number of tourists visit the ashram to give peace to their minds. If you are going to visit Pondicherry and want to experience spiritual enlightenment then you must visit this ashram.
Pondicherry’s famous attraction is the Promenade Beach
Promenade Beach is a major tourist destination located in the city of Puducherry, India, which extends 1.2 km from War Memorial to Duplex Park on Gaubert Avenue. Promenade Beach is a famous venue that is often crowded with groups of people playing volleyball. Tourists can indulge in activities like jogging, walking, skating, yoga, and swimming in the evening on this beach.
There are many attractive places around the Promenade Beach, War Memorial, Statue of Joan of Arc, Heritage Town Hall, Old Lighthouse, and Mahatma Gandhi statue which tourists must visit. Tourists can see rocks and boulders on this serene beach. Apart from this, many famous restaurants are also located on the beach which serve traditional food.
Serenity Beach Good Place To Visit In Pondicherry Tourism
Serenity Beach, located 10 kilometers on the outskirts of Puducherry in Kottakuppam, gets its name from the spa-resort-in. This beach was originally known as Thanthirayan Kuppam Beach or plain Kottakupam Beach. If you are going to visit Pondicherry then you can visit this Serenity beach. This beach is very much liked by the honeymooners. If you want to sunbathe peacefully by lying on the sand on the beach then this beach is like heaven for you. Since this beach is located far away from the city, there is not much crowd of local tourists here.
Pondicherry’s famous tourist place Auroville
Auroville is also called a ‘Universal Town’ because people from all over the world of all cultures and traditions live peacefully here. Auroville, located about 15 km from Pondicherry city in Tamil Nadu, was founded in 1968 by Aurobindo’s disciple Mirra Alfasa. This universal township was inaugurated on 28 February 1968 with the agenda that it would be a place where people would be sufficiently prepared to forget their caste, creed, and nationality and become a center of uninterrupted education and progress. Let us tell you that currently, more than 2,800 people from more than 195 countries are the official residents of this township.
Historical Places To Visit In Pondicherry
Arikamedu is an ancient Roman trade center and fascinating historical site located within half an hour’s drive from the French colonial city of Pondicherry. The port city was occupied by the Romans, Cholas, and French from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD as a famous maritime center. The glass bead manufacturing factory of Arikemedu is the most famous in Puri. The first excavations at Arikemedu began in the 1940s and since then the excavations have been going on.
Pondicherry attractions Raj Niwas
Raj Niwas is one of the major tourist places in Pondicherry which was earlier known as Palais du Sarkar. The Raj Niwas is a building built in the eighteenth century which is currently serving as the residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry. The structure is not open to the general public but is still known as a major tourist destination. The old court can also be seen within a complex inside this building. The main attraction of the Raj Niwas is the monolithic pillars, which were brought here in the year 1751 from the Gingee Fort. Apart from this, some pillars of Gingee Fort surround the Gandhi Mandapam on Promenade Beach.
Pondicherry Botanical Garden Popular Place of Tourism
The Botanical Garden is a popular tourist attraction of Pondicherry which is also known as C.S. Perrotate was established in the year 1862. Let us tell you that this garden is a fish house with many exotic plants. Here tourists can see a wide range of plants that have been collected from different parts of India and around the world. This aquarium is a great place to spot a variety of aquatic creatures along with some fascinating fish. If you are planning to visit Pondicherry tourist places then you must include Botanical Garden in your list.
Pondicherry’s famous temple Gokilambal Thirukmeswara Temple
Gokilambal Thirukmeswara Temple is a very beautiful temple located in the small town of Villianur located at a distance of 11 km from Pondicherry which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Tourists can clearly see the French influence on this temple. A car festival held at the temple clearly shows its connection to French heritage. During this festival, a 15-meter-high chariot is pulled by the devotees on the streets of the city.
Pondicherry Lighthouse Beautiful Place to See in Pondicherry Tourism
The Lighthouse in Pondicherry is an attractive place where tourists can see amazing birds in many ways. Let us tell you that there are two lighthouses here – one old and one new. The old lighthouse located here is now closed to the public. The French planned to build a lighthouse to provide visitors with a perfect sight of the sea. This was followed by the construction of the old lighthouse in March 1836 under the guidance of A. Guerre. After being in existence for many years, it was closed in 1979. This was followed by the construction of another lighthouse in the same year which is one of the most visited attractions in Pondicherry. This lighthouse is 157 feet high, hosting cultural events, concerts, and commercial activities.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus places to visit in Pondicherry
This church is one of the most sacred and religious places in Pondicherry which is situated 2.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station on South Boulevard in the city. Located in Pondicherry, one of the 21 basilicas in India, this church was established in 1908 by French missionaries and was later given the status of basilica in 2011. If you are coming to visit the city then you must come to see this charming church. Occasions like New Year, Christmas, and Easter Day are celebrated in a grand manner in the church.
French War Memorial in Pondicherry
The French War Memorial is a fascinating structure located on Gobert Avenue that was built in memory of the soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. Let us tell you that every year on 14 July, this monument organizes an annual memorial ceremony, during which it is decorated very beautifully. If you are going to visit Pondicherry then you can also visit this French War Memorial.
Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, the main religious place of Pondicherry
Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple is an ancient temple located in Pondicherry which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The temple is said to have been established around 5 centuries ago. A large number of devotees visit this temple on the 18th day of Brahmotsavam. Vinayaka Chaturthi is a major festival of Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple which is celebrated with great enthusiasm here. It is said about the temple that a Frenchman tried to remove the idol of Ganesha from the temple but after the idol was removed, it reappeared there. Inspired by the power of the idol, he turned into a devotee of the Lord. If you are traveling to Pondicherry, then you can visit this temple from 5:45 am to 12:30 am and in the evening: from 4:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Pondicherry sightseeing Chidambaram
Chidambaram is a beautiful temple town situated at a distance of 63 km from Pondicherry which is famous for Lord Nataraja temple and the famous chariot festival. Chidambaram has located 250 km from the city of Chennai which has had religious significance since ancient times.
Let us tell that many dynasties including the Cholas, Pandyas, Vijayanagara rulers, Marathas, and British ruled at this place. The city boasts of rich heritage and traditions owing to various cultural influences. Chidambaram is famous for its many temples. If you are going to visit Pondicherry then you can go to visit the temples located in Chidambaram.
Varadaraja Perumal Temple Place to see in Pondicherry Tourism
Varadaraja Perumal Temple is an ancient temple dating back to the 12th century, which has a distinct religious significance of its own. Varadaraja Perumal is one such temple whose structure attracts everyone towards it.
Pondicherry Tourist Place Yanam Beach Pondicherry
Yanam Beach is an ideal place for those who want to spend peaceful moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is a wonderful beach where tourists can do things like boat rides, ferry road walks, and enjoy the serene views of the beach.
Adventure Water Sports in Pondicherry
Pondicherry is a paradise for beach lovers. The attractive beaches here attract tourists very much. Here sunbathing by lying on the beaches gives a great experience for everyone. The beaches of Pondicherry are also famous for water sports. Tourists can enjoy water sports like scuba diving, parasailing, and banana boat rides here.
Local Food In Pondicherry
Pondicherry is one of the places in India where the influence of French cuisine is seen in the cuisine. There are many restaurants here that serve French cuisine. Some of the popular food here include Baguettes, Croissants, Italian Baked Beans, Stuffed Cabbage, and many more. Apart from this, the dish of other South Indian states can also be tasted in this union territory. Some of the popular restaurants in Pondicherry are La Maison Rose, Cafe Carte Blanche, Satsanga, Well Cafe, Cafe De Flore, and Le Café ) names are included.
Best Time To Visit Pondicherry
If you are planning to visit Pondicherry, then the best time to visit here is during the months of October to March. The temperature of the city during this time ranges from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius.
The summers here (April-June) are quite hot and the temperature at this time touches 40 degrees Celsius. Monsoon (July-September) season is also a good time to visit here. However, the best time to visit Pondicherry varies from person to person. Because this city changes every season and organizes various festivals which are very much liked by the tourists.
How to reach Pondicherry
Pondicherry is located in South India and is well connected by flights to the rest of the country and most of the major cities of the world. Apart from this it is very well connected to all the major cities of India through rail and road networks.
How to reach Pondicherry by flight
If you are going to travel to Pondicherry by plane, then Pondicherry Airport is the main airport here. Another option is the Karaikal airport from where you can take a flight. You can take the help of cabs or taxis to reach the city from the airport.
How to reach Pondicherry by road
Taking a road trip to Pondicherry can give you an immersive experience. There are many major taxi operators available to visit here which connect Chennai, Trichy, Bangalore, Coimbatore, etc.
How to reach Pondicherry by Train
Villupuram Railway Junction is the main railway station of Pondicherry which connects it to major cities Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai etc India.
Local Transport in Pondicherry
Many people prefer to rent motorcycles and cars to visit Pondicherry, as some of the attractions here are Auroville and Paradise Beach within a short distance of the main city. If you do not wish to drive yourself, there are a number of taxis and shared autos available that you can hire.