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PONDICHERRY (INDIA)

STATE :-  PONDICHERRY

 

DISTANCE

 

CONNECTION
  • Air : The nearest airport is in Chennai from where you can take a private taxi or bus which is ideally the best way to get to Pondicherry
  • Rail : Villupuram is the nearest rail connection to Pondicherry (about 45 minutes away). Regular trains run between Chennai, Madurai, Trichy and Villupuram. Chennai (135 km, two and half hours away) has better connectivity to the rest of India.
  • Road : Buses are frequent from Chennai and it takes approximately four hours to get there. The fare for a private A/C buses from Chennai to Pondicherry.

 

ABOUT PONDICHERRY

The Union Territory of Pondicherry with a 32 km long coastline on the Coromandel Coast is a well-planned French Boulevard town. A perfect family holiday destination, it has everything that helps one to relax and enjoy. The numerous palm-fringed beaches, splendid seafront resorts, beautiful backwaters, wondrous opportunities and facilities for water sports centre, fabulous tiny fishing villages and hamlets and handy harbor make it a much-beloved tourist spot. Its highlights are the pier, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the world-class Auroville city and the internationally acclaimed Yoga centers. Besides the city of Pondicherry as its capital lying 162 km South of Chennai, the other regions included in this Union Territory are Karaikal, 132 km South of Pondicherry, Yanam in the East Godavari district in Andhra Pradhesh and Mahe in the Cannanore District of Kerala.

PLACES OF INTERESTS IN PONDICHERRY
  • Beach : The 1500 meter long beach that borders the town on the eastern side is clean and is an ideal place for swimming and sun bathing. There are two monuments of historical importance on the beach. One is the 4m. Tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi and the other is the War Memorial, built by the French in commemoration of the soldiers who died in the First World War. The Light House which stands 29m. high is further down the beach and is over 150 years old.
  • Yoga and Meditation : There is an air of spirituality in Pondicherry that comes on strong. Even since the revolutionary-turned-'Yogi' from Bengal, Sri Aurobindo, settled here, peace-seekers from all around the world have beaten a track into Pondicherry.
  • Aurobindo Ashram : The ashram culture is all pervading in Pondicherry, within homes and shops and all over. Largely, through the everywhereness of two charismatic portraits. One of Sri Aurobindo sometimes pictured as an earnest young man and more often as a serene sage.
  • Museum : Opened in 1984, this museum has on display some fine antiques apart from sections devoted to archaeology, geology, sculpture, handicrafts, objects of art, printing and armaments.
  • Botanical Gardens : Just off West Boulevard, the gardens planned by C.S. Perrotet in 1826, have a good collection of exotic flowering plants from India and abroad. There is also an aquarium here which has some rare species of ornamental fish.
  • Auro Ville : This city of dawn was designed by the French architect Roger Arger and was started as an experimental commune where people of all nationalities irrespective of caste, creed or religion would live together in harmony.
  • Sathanur : The dam here is built on the River Pennar and is situated amidst forested hills. Apart from its scenic beauty and cool climate, other attractions are a swimming pool and a crocodile park.
  • Gingee : Gingee is one of the finest forts in South India. Its origin dates back to the 9th century when it was a stronghold of the Cholas but the fort as it looks today is the handiwork of the Vijaynagara kings who made it an impregnable citadel. The fortified city is built on the seven hills, the most prominent of which are Krishnagiri, Chandragiri and Rajagiri.

 

RELIGIOUS PLACES IN PONDICHERRY
  • Tiruvannamalai : Situated at the foot of a hill in Tiruvannamalai is one of the most important Siva temples in the south. The Arunachaleswara temple is dedicated to Lingodbhava or Jyothy Lingam i.e. God incarnate as Fire. The tall imposing outer gopurams of the temple are a magnificent sight, conveying as they do, an impression of great dignity and majesty.
  • The Varadaraja Temple : This very notable and important Vishnu temple in town was built in 12 th century. This holy temple is situated towards the west of Gandhi Road off the Tyagraja Street.
  • Vedapureeswarer Temple : This 18 th century Shiva temple boasts of stone inscriptions and a swayambhulinga in Pondicherry Temples. And gopuram a recently renovated colorful tower is also there to relish.
  • Manakkula Vinayakar Temple : Manakkula vinayakar tample is situated just behind Raj Nivas and shares a close distance with Arabindo Ashram. It is believed that there was a Frenchman who tried to destroy the deity. But the image of the deity kept appearing. And it was after his numerous futile efforts that he turned into a staunch believer of religion. However, to come to this temple back from its history it can be said that in this holy temple Vellakkaran (White Man) and Pillai (Ganesha) are found. Apart from this, an elephant can also be found here.
  • Karikal Ammaiyar Temple : This holy temple houses an image of lady saint. This lady saint is believed to be one among 63 saints of Lord Shiva. As per the legend goes, it is believed that Lord Shiva incarnated as an ascetic and sought alms from a lady called “Punithavathi" from Karaikal. And on that spot itself this beautiful temple was built where she lived and prayed.

 

WHEN TO GO PONDICHERRY

The best time to visit puducherry is between January and March and August to October.

WEATHER FORECAST
  • Winter : Runs from December through February. Daily temperature around 30° C and nights are pleasant, even cool. This is high tourist season in puducherry.
  • Summer : From March through July has hot and humid climate. Temperature routinely touching 40° C in May and June. Normally around 35° C to 38° C.
  • Monsoon : The monsoon on the west coast brings temporary relief towards the end of July and in August which results in milder temperatures and occasional showers which might continue right upto the month of October. The North West Monsoon in October through December brings cooler whether. The monsoon develops through out this period, peaking in November and occasional quick tempered storm fill the streets for a day or so. Throughout the year, evening sea breezes can bring relief.
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN PONDICHERRY

A unique cocktail of its French connection and inherent culture, Pondicherry is a medley of the west and the east. The fire walking festival is one of the most prominent events in Pondicherry where the participants lead an austere life and fast for 40 days and on the day of the festival, walk on a pyre of fire. Sedal is another festival very popular yet shocking where devotees impose self-torture on as penance.

A repulsively attractive sight is when people pierce small silver hooks and spears in their tongues or other delicate parts of their body, sometimes, the number go to as many as 100 needles pierced all over their body! A direct inheritance from the pagan festivals of France, Masquerade or Mask festival of Pondicherry is celebrated in March or April.

The International Yoga Festival held in Pondicherry from 4th to 7th January every year, is one of the most famous festivals of Pondicherry. Live show and talks, healthy yogic food and cultural programs featuring Indian classical dance and music are the main highlights here. Other festivals here include the Mangani festival (held annually in July), Kandoori festival, St Theresa festival (October) and the feast of the Lady of Lourdes celebrated by Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The Masimagam Festival is celebrated on the full-moon day in the Tamil month of Masi, where devotees take a dip in the morning in the sea to get rid of all their sins.

FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN PONDICHERRY

For the most authentic French dishes ever dished out in India, Pondicherry is the place. You can relax into a chair and read the morning newspaper over a superb breakfast here. But this is not all. For people who like typical south Indian cuisine, there are enough restaurants which serve it too.

Surguru, Cafe des Arts - Made in Gallery, Promenade, Satsanga, Don Giovanni, Hot Breads, New Creation, That's Y Food, Asian House.

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