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Why Travel Puducherry / Pondicherry?

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General Information about Puducherry / Pondicherry

Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, Puducherry is a quiet little town on the southern coast of India. The Union Territory of Puducherry comprises of four coastal regions namely Puducherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Puducherry and Karaikal are situated on the East Coast of Tamil Nadu, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe on the West Coast in Kerala. The unmistakable French connection, the tree lined boulevards, the quaint colonial heritage buildings, the spiritual sceneries, the endless stretches of unspoilt virgin beaches and backwaters and a surprising choice of restaurants serving a melange of cuisines provide a heady mix of experience that draws travellers from near and far to the city. It is the perfect place to come if you want to take the pace of life down a few notches.

The city of Puducherry is the Capital of this Union Territory. It lies on the east coast about 162 kms south of Chennai (Madras) located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. There are no hills or forests in this region. The major soil types found here are red ferralitic, black clay and coastal alluvial.

It is affectionately known as Pondy, and has been officially known by the alternative name Puducherry in Tamil (New Town) since 2006.

Few drive for a spiritual break, few drive for a beach getaway and few to explore the quaint French colonies, Pondicherry is one of the remarkable getaways from Bangalore. It is approximately 310 kilometers away. The major attractions in Pondicherry are the Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach; Sri Aurobindo Ashram; Auroville; Children’s Park & Dupleix Statue, Gandhi statue, Nehru Statue, Le Café, French War Memorial, 19th Century Light House, Bharathi Park, Governors Palace, French War Memorial, Romain Rolland Library, Legislative Assembly, Pondicherry Museum and the French Institute of Pondicherry at Saint-Louis Street.

The majority speaks Tamil in Pondicherry, while there is a community of French people in Pondicherry and a number of French institutions such as the consulate of France in Pondicherry, the French Institute of Pondicherry, and L'Alliance française.

How to reach :
Road : Pondicherry is connected to Chennai via the East Coast Road through Mahabalipuram. The Pondicherry Road Transport Corporation runs buses within the city. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation operates Volvo air-conditioned services from Chennai to Pondicherry. There are daily bus services from several main stops from Chennai. The Pondicherry road transport corporation also operates Volvo buses to Chennai and to various places.

Rail : PDY/Puducherry (Pondicherry) is connected by train to all metros: Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai, as well as other important cities such as Kanyakumari, Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore,Visakhapatnam and Mangalore.


Places of Interest :
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.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram
While the sea is a popular draw for tourists, Pondicherry no longer has the beautiful sand beaches that once graced its coastline. The breakwater to the harbour and other hard structures constructed on the shore caused extreme coastal erosion and the sand from Pondicherry's famous Promenade Beach was permitted to disappear entirely. As a result of the town's seawall and groyne construction, the beaches further up the coast to the north have also been lost. An enormous deposition of sand has accrued to the south of the harbour breakwater, but this is not a commodious beach and is not easily accessible from the town.

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram, located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most important ashrams in India, founded by the renowned Freedom Fighter and spiritual philosopher Sri Aurobindo. 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[clarification needed] 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[clarification needed] 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" procession 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. Pondicherry being once a French colony has good French cuisine i.e. Cafe des Arts, Rendezvous, Le Dupleix, Villa Shanti. Some other notable restaurants for pizzas Cafe Xtasi, Auro Pizza and Tanto Pizzeria and for bakeries Hot Breads, Daily Breads, Bon Bakes, Grand Bakery and Zuka Choco-La.

Pondicherry, officially known as Puducherry since 2006, is the capital city of the union territory known by the same name. Both the city and the territory boast of a rich legacy inherited from French colonialism which has contributed massively to the unique culture and heritage of the region. The union territory of Pondicherry is constitutive of four coastal provinces that are spread across three Indian states: Yanam (in Andhra Pradesh), Pondicherry city, Karaikal (both situated on eastern coasts of Tamil Nadu) and Mahe (located across the western coasts of Kerala). Placed on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, the city of Pondicherry lies at a distance of about 162 km from Chennai. The region was under the French rule and was a major French colony from 16704 until 1954. The French enjoyed an uninterrupted rule in Pondicherry for about three centuries and left a great legacy which has manifested best the culture and architecture of the city. A Potpourri Of Sightseeing Choices - Tourist Places In And Around Pondicherry For a traveller who seeks a diversified travel experience, Pondicherry offers an excellent destination. The city has four fine beaches namely the Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Serenity Beach and Auroville Beach, which presents visitors with a rejuvenating holidaying experience. Another chief attraction of the place is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, one of the best-known ashrams and meditation centres in India. Auroville city, also known as the City of Dawn, attracts tourists with its unique culture, heritage monuments and architecture. Pondicherry houses a number of monuments and statutes including the Gandhi Statue, the Matrimandir, the French War Memorial, Joseph Francois Dupleix statue and the marble statue of Joan of Arc, located on Goubert Avenue. Other attractions of the city which demand a visit include the Pondicherry Museum, Jawahar Toy Museum, the Botanical Garden, Ousteri Wetland and National Park, the Bharathidasan Museum, Arikamedu, the Statue of Dupleix and the Raj Niwas. The city has an interesting amalgam of religious places that consist of churches and Hindu temples. The most visited religious spots of Pondicherry are the Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (also known as The Church of Our Lady of Angels), the Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple and Kanniga Parameswari Temple. City Of Unique Architectures Pondicherry, a city blessed with sea and unique architecture, gives a mind-blowing experience to travellers when explored on feet. The entire city is constructed in a grid pattern and is best known for its significant degree of French influence. Many streets of the city have French names and palatial houses as well as villas, built in colonial architecture, that offer a magnificent sight to the visitors. The city is separated into two quarters namely the French Quarter (also known as White Town or Ville Blanche) and the Indian quarter (known otherwise as Black Town or Ville Noire). The former is characterised by building built in typical colonial architecture and the latter boasts of ancient Tamil styles and designs. The fusion of these two unique styles gives the city of Pondicherry an air of elegance and distinctiveness. Amazing Cuisines Pondicherry, with its culture imbued with French and Tamil influences, offers a mosaic of culinary wonders to food lovers. Travellers can enjoy authentic French baguettes, brioches and pastries in this city along with traditional Tamil and Kerala cuisines. Le Club, Blue Dragon, Statsanga, Rendezvous, Sea Gulls, Le Café, La Coromandel and La Terrasse are some of the recommended places for an exquisite dining experience. The streets and boutiques of the city serve as a paradise for those who enjoy shopping. The wide-ranging array of handicrafts, fabrics, stones, wooden sculptures, mats, pottery, perfumes, incenses, mirror works, lamps and candles offer an excellent shopping experience to those who stroll through the city. International Yoga Festival during December, the French Food Festival during the month of August and the shopping festival of January rate among the most frequented festivals of the region. How To Reach Pondicherry The city of Pondicherry enjoys good connectivity by rail and road. The region is pleasantly weathered and draws travellers from across the globe all through the year. Best Time To Visit Pondicherry With its unique cultural traits, excellent food varieties and a wide range of sightseeing options, Pondicherry is a true delight to travellers who long for a different travel experience.

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