Pondicherry now Puducherry and fondly called Pondy is the nearest tourist destination to Chennai. Famed for its scenery, spirituality and architecture you can enjoy these pleasures here.
1. For peace
Founded in 1926, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is located in the heart of the Pondicherry. There are collective meditation sessions on evenings through the week, and you can also visit the ashram at other times.
Designed by popular architect Roger Anger, Auroville is a strategically planned, experimental township that aims to develop India through the idea of peaceful co-existence. The township, located close to Pondicherry is often referred to as the ‘City of Dawn’ and is named after Sri Aurobindo.
2. For Hindu Temples
The Manakula Vinayagar Temple in Pondicherry is famous and revered. This is the only temple were Lord Ganesha poses with his consorts and stands on three legs. The main tower is swathed in gold.
3. For beaches
About 8 km north of the city is Serenity Beach, which is aptly named. It’s a serene spot, where you can spend all day with friends and family. There’s also Paradise Beach, accessible by boat, as well as the Auroville Beach, which is ideal for swimming with its gentle waves and shallow waters. Look out for surfing schools on the beaches if you’d like to get active.
4. For heritage walks
The city is divided into the French Quarter and the Tamil Quarter by a canal, and the French portion is perfect for walking. Wander around to admire colonial architecture – the houses with balustrades and large wooden doors and windows make for beautiful photographs.
6. For Churches
Owing to its French history Pondicherry has many churches – worth visiting for their amazing architecture. The Sacred Heart Church is known for its grand Gothic Revival architecture. Take in vaulted arches and stained glass panels, depicting scenes from Christ’s life. The Immaculate Conception Cathedral, on the other hand, has half-moon arches, ornate columns and chandeliers, exuding old-world charm.
7. For Food
Pondicherry is a gourmet’s delight, where you can find various cuisines like French, Italian and South Indian blending together. Dine in romantic cafés with a beach view.
7. For Alcohol
Because Pondicherry is a union territory, alcohol is cheaper here than in most parts of India. Revel in choice international brands at prices far lesser than Chennai.