Home » South India Tourist Destinations » Pondicherry
The Union Territory comprises of four coastal regions viz - Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Pondicherry and Karaikal are situated on the East Coasts in Tamilnadu, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe on the West Coast in Kerala. Pondicherry is the Capital of this Union Territory.
Pondicherry is on the east coast about 162 km south of Chennai (Madras) located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. There are no hills or forests in this region. The main soil types in this region are red ferrallitic, black clay and coastal alluvial.
Main languages spoken in Pondicherry are Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. English and French are other languages, which are spoken by a considerable number of people.
Botanical Gardens: The Botanical Gardens are located south of the New Bus Stand. The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in the ornate French style, with pruned trees, beautiful flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The gardens also have a musical fountain which is active over the weekends, with two shows in the evening.
Bharathi Park: The Government Park or Bharati Park is in the green centre of the French Town and its lush trees provide ample relieve from the scorching sun on a hot summer day. With children playing in ponds, on their hill or in the traffic park, grown-ups sitting or lying on granite benches, families on a picnic and occassional sit-ins of striking citizens, the park is the most appreciated public area in town.
The Raj Nivas: The residence of the Lt. Governor, formerly the Palace of the French Governor of Puducherry.
The Museum: The Museum is situated opposite the Raj Nivas on St Louis Street, houses an interesting collection of excavated artifacts from Roman Times and heritage from the French Period.
Keezhoor: There is a huge banyan tree near the village here. The canopy of the 400 year old tree covers a few acres at the very least. As part of the celebrations of 50th Anniversary of De-facto Puducherry, a permanent Exhibition of paintings relating to the merger of Puducherry was opened at the Kizhoor Monument.
Chunnambar: This tropical paradise is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cozy seaside tent for yourself. Overnighting within the tree-houses on the backwater banks provides a relishing experience of the great outdoors.
Auroville: This is an International and a Utopian city which is ten kilometers away from Pondicherry. This was founded by Mother Mirra Alfassa, the chief disciple of Sri Aurobindo. This place was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. This is the city of Dawn. The people worked hard to make this wasteland a lush green field. Today it is a jungle with criss cross paths. The city sprawls over an area of 25 Square Kilometres. One third of the population is community people and the remaining are farmers. The activities of the natives are afforestation, organic culture, educational research, health care, etc. at present there are 1500 people from nearly 30 countries. The people are from India (33%), French (18%) and Germans (15%).
Matri Mandir: This is a spiritual and a physical centre. It is a testimonial to The Mother's vision of unity and harmony to mankind. The remarkable monument in the form of a massive golden globe is a place for quite reflection and concentration. The inner sanctuary, unlike the traditional temple, does not enshrine an image of the mother but has an abstract representation of her notion of spirituality rendered in light and glass.
Villianur: Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple at Villianur is ten kilometers away from Pondicherry. It is noted for its fine architecture. The annual Temple car festival held on full moon day in the month of May-June attracts large number of devotees. The huge chariot is taken out during this time for procession. High officials take part in this car festival which is a grand one.
Gingee: This historical town is famous for the 700 year old fort sprawling over three hillocks. The fort is said to be built by the Kone Chiefs and remained the strong hold of the Vijayanagar Kings, Marathas, Mughals, Carnatic Nawabs, The French and The British. The fort gained popularity under Raja Desingh, the army chief of Nawab of Arcot. Within the fort there are two temples, a mosque and several interesting structures.
Pichchavaram: The exotic and popular tourist site on the backwaters interconnected by the Vellar and Kollidam system is 16 kilometers away from Chidambaram. The unique mangrove forests sprawling over an area of 28,000 acres are quite rare and are rated among the healthiest mangrove occurrences in the world. This is a beautiful place to watch.
How to get there:
Nearest Airport: The nearest airport is located in Chennai, which is around 135 km from Pondicherry. Trichy airport is 220 km away. Bangalore (320 km) and Madurai are the other nearby airports.
Nearest Railhead: Villupuram is the nearest junction; it is fairly well connected to places like Chennai, Madurai and Trichy.
Road: Pondicherry is best accessible by road, Pondicherry is well connected to all districts and major towns of various states like Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andra Pradesh.
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