Puducherry, formerly known as Pondicherry, is one of the 8 Union Territories of India. Located in the Puducherry district, it rests upon the Southeast coast of India. It is bounded by the state of Tamil Nadu wherein most of its culture and language is parallel to it. Pondicherry – A uniquely coalesced Union Territory, is crowned as the ‘Little France in India’. Its French legacy is perpetuated in its French Quarter, with tree-lined thoroughfares, rural experience, cuisine tours, mustard-coloured colonial villas, and voguish boutiques. The footstones during the epoch of Goths, the edifying museums, religious places, and the manifestation of weaving reckons to the pulchritude of Pondicherry.
The transcendence in sculptural artistry, the stupendous premises of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the noteworthy puppet shows, the French colonial buildings and the commodious, unblemished streets are some of the best things to see in Pondicherry.
Hang on! Be ready to shake a leg in the bars and pubs, and groove to your favorite number in the nightclubs. But when you are dead on your feet and have had head over heels loud music and all you yearn for is peace, you can spend time in the Rock Beach watching the descending sun or having a bonfire night with your dear ones. You can even progress for a thirst-quenching walk on the Promenade beach and feel the gentle breeze caress your face.
Some of the best things to do in Pondicherry include surfing at the Serenity Beach, scuba diving, riding bicycles across the town, exploring the French masterpieces, hitting the most happening cafes and restaurants, riding on a boat ride to Paradise Island and oh! don’t miss out on watersports at the Karaikal Beach.
Here is a list of top 20 things to do and tourist places to visit in Pondicherry
1) Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Eminently known for tranquility, godliness and spirituality, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is the most famous place of Pondicherry. The ashram is located in the Eastern part of Pondicherry, was established by Aurobindo Ghosh and his followers in 1926 after he stepped away from politics to concentrate on spirituality. Later on, the responsibilities were taken up by ‘the Mother’ earlier known as Mirra Alfassa who was also his spiritual moderator. The ashram is worldwide popular for attaining enlightenment and healing humanity.
2) Paradise Beach
Nature has enthroned Pondicherry incredibly with impeccable beauty and the winsomeness of the Paradise Beach bears testimony to this fact. The austere, dark grey igneous rocks resting on the beds of impenetrable luxuriant greenery along the beach that bears resemblance to pearls on a string.
Paradise Beach is amongst the most famous beaches in Pondicherry as well as the best tourist places in Pondicherry. The Paradise Beach is situated close to Cuddalore main road. The beach is fairly pretentious with clarion water and sun kissed adorably smooth sand. Apart from feasting on the panorama, you can also satiate yourself into a profusion of beach bustle like Squat bike, go hiking, boat riding, fishing, play Volleyball and much more.
3) The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the most famous church in Pondicherry. The church is situated near MG Road close to the Railway Station. The church which is an oriental exemplification of the Gothic architecture is humongous with prosperous interiors and strong memorial.
This church was set up by the French missionaries in 1908. One can espy Biblical words intricately engraved on the entrance along with the figures of Jesus and Mother Mary on the door at the entrance. New Year, Christmas Eve, and Easter Day are celebrated at the church sumptuously.
4) Statue of Gandhi
The statue of Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi stands in boldness and durability. It is one of the famous places in Pondicherry that holds numerous cultural and musical activities. The 4-metre statue was built by Roy Choudhary, a prominent sculptor. The eight beautiful carved monolithic granite pillars that envelop the statue of Mahatma Gandhi is like icing on the cake.
Acknowledged as the “City of Dawn” is an experimental township in Viluppuram district falling almost in Tamil Nadu. The fundamental target is to make humans realize the importance of human unity. Auroville aspires to unite humans from all walks of life and from all parts of the world against impediments like caste, creed, status, and religion and help them live in harmony. It is one of the best places to visit in Pondicherry.
The elephantine golden globe-like structure at the center of Auroville is the Matrimandir, which is an enormous meditation center where one can focus on the betterment of one’s inner self.
6) Ousteri Lake
Also referred to as Osudu Lake is entitled as the most significant freshwater lake in the Pondicherry region. The strenuous, clear dark blue tranquil is located on the Vazhudavur road in Pondicherry 10 km away from the main township of Pondicherry.
The lake is abode to innumerable migratory birds, scarlet golden fishes and other flora and fauna. The bird sanctuary heightens the charm of the lake. The celestial breathtaking view of the wetland attracts populous photographers from all nooks and corners.
7) Scuba Diving in Pondicherry
Lounging on the eastern coast of India with all complacency, Pondicherry is the best destination to kick start the enjoyment of underwater adventures like Scuba Diving. The experience of diving and watching aquatic animals at work is unforgettable.
The supervisors teach you everything from a beginners course to the advanced course in Scuba diving. They even allow one dive experience in the Bay of Bengal, teaching the basics of breathing and acquainting with the uses of proper equipment required for scuba dives.
8) Immaculate Conception Cathedral
The name ‘Immaculate Conception Cathedral’ itself asseverates tranquility and peace of mind. From its stunning location to its magnificent interiors, matchless pearly-golden exteriors and the grandiose gateway, the church becomes the best tourist places in Pondicherry. Having an impeccable blend of the architectural design of Indian and French, also being close to the beach, it provides a harmonious ambiance. You can meditate and pray earnestly, photograph, dine at the eateries or probably spend some cash shopping at the local bazaars.
9) Old Lighthouse
It was constructed in the 19th century by the French rulers in Pondicherry, the old lighthouse is one of the most important historical places in Pondicherry.
It once offered the only light for guiding the ships in the sea across the Red Hills. The tower was built on the rectangle base and the height of the lighthouse is 29 meters. Its light beam could be seen from a distance of 15 miles for those enamored with history must visit the Old Lighthouse and try their hand on photography as well.
10) Botanical Gardens
When you are fatigued travelling, you might catch up with the remarkable educational private garden of Pondicherry wherein you can adore a diverse collection of flowers. If you are with a kid, you cannot afford to miss visiting the Botanical Gardens as there is an extensive play area for kids, an aquarium having lordly red-bellied ferocious fishes, toy train ride at just rupees 10 and a musical fountain too. So, what stops you? Come and delve into the rosiest full-blown, scented brilliant flowers.
11) Pondicherry Museum
Pondicherry Museum, which files evidence of diverse influences in the Union Territory from early Romans, to Cholas, Dutch, English and French presence, is yet another a must visit place in Pondicherry.
Pondicherry boasts of a unique blend of culture and heritage retaining colonial buildings, statues, and museums.
Pondicherry museum through its works and tales displays you the tale of the region in three different eras. The first was the era of Greek & Roman trade through the objects excavated from Arikamedu. The second one would be the era of the Pallava & Chola dynasties through the statues and stone sculptures. Other orts from this include arms, burial urns, and glass beads. And the third one would be the era of French colonialism in the region through the church leftovers and French furniture.
12) Shopping in Pondy Bazaar
A trip is incomplete without shopping right? In that sense, Pondicherry is shoppers stop where you can buy anything and everything starting from unique ornaments, cutleries and crockeries, handmade art pieces and souvenirs to weaved apparels or Shreenivas silks. The best display of perfectionists and artists are seen in the Pondy Bazaar.
Pondy bazaar also houses a range of branded stores like Soch, Mochi, Levis, Wrangler, Fastrack, Nike and others. If nothing then you can simply try the local street food of Pondy bazaar.
13) Cafe Xtasi
Café Xtasi is situated on Mission street, Kurichi Kuppam. Café Xtasi is renowned for its mouth-watering and crispy-crust pizza, Café Xtasi is an absolute destination for pizza lovers of course as well as foodies. From pasta, burgers, jumbo pizzas, chicken 65 to cocktails and mocktails, Café Xtasi has it all. Some of the famous dishes offered on its menu are pork chops, peri-peri chicken, pasta etc.
14) Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Constructed three centuries ago, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pondicherry. This is a Ganesha temple and has religious importance attached to it. The interiors of the temple and the stone walls are appealingly embellished with carvings of forty incarnations of Lord Ganesha.
During the mega-festival months of August and September, people from all around the world visit this temple thus it becomes too jam-packed. The temple attracts a large number of devotees especially on the 18th day of Brahmotsavam festival.
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15) Rock Beach
The Rock beach with extensive golden sands and pristine water is one of the top most places for sightseeing in Pondicherry. The paradisiacal sandy beach is one place where you can watch the horizon kiss the dark-blue water, sun as if descending down into the water body, and when the sky blushes vermillion red and yellow! Oh, incredible. You can spend hours feasting on its beauty without getting bored. The beach does get crowded on weekends. Alongside you can have eateries or chill in restaurants.
16) Bharati Park
Bharati Park located in the central region of the old colonial town of Pondicherry is a perfect picnic spot for friends and families. It is one of the best places to visit in Pondicherry. This is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city where you can rejuvenate yourself in the lap of nature. Surrounded by the rich green grass, the fragrant flowers and watching butterflies move in an enigmatic way is so bewitching.
The park is covered in lush greenery with well-maintained lawns. If you are visiting the park with kids, do not miss taking them to the kids’ play area, which features many play equipment like swings and slides.
17) Bicycles in Pondicherry
Bicycle riding is prevalent in Pondicherry. The localities, the guides as well as the tourists love to explore the city on bicycles. The primary aim is to achieve the goals for sustainability and sustain health benefits. Numerous rental bikes are available for the customer charging according to the distance and time.
18) Auroville Beach
This beach is the perfect spot for self-absorption and contemplation which is barely 30-minute-drive from Pondicherry.
It holds in its bosom tons of positive vibes, imperturbability, composure, self-possession and all those qualities that are needed to heal you from within. Absence of savoury delicacies, absence of clamour and commotion but trust me you will be nowhere to be found on Earth, immersed in calmness and beauty of the horizon. It is favourite amongst surfers because of its shallow waters that are perfect for beginners. The ashram people usually come to meditate and spend some quality time.
19) Water Sports
You love getting drenched in water and have fun, don’t you? Well if the answer is Yes then, Pondicherry offers a plethora of captivating water sport activities like speedboat rides, parasailing, kayaks, scuba diving, pedal boats. Kick backwater sports like surfing, free diving, scuba diving, and bodyboarding are probably the best things to do in Pondicherry.
For those who love thrill and adventure, get ready to immerse in the pristine water, get ready to explore the unexplored underwater, behold the adorableness of the corals, turtles, sea plants and fishes.
20) Goubert Market
For those who love thrill and adventure, get ready to immerse in the pristine water, get ready to explore the unexplored underwater, behold the adorableness of the corals, Goubert Market is located on the edge of the French Quarter of Vellala Street. It is yet another place which tops the bucket list, especially for seafood lovers. One can find ample breeds of fishes, prawns, oysters and much more. Apart from these, you can also find women crying out their vegetables, fish, and grocery items. The best time to visit Pondicherry is between October to March as the temperature usually ranges between 15-30 degree celsius.
Get your shopping bags and explore the streets of the Goubert market of Pondicherry! turtles, sea plants and fishes.