Pondicherry (or Puducherry)Tourism
“The French Riviera of the East”
Pondicherry, officially known as Puducherry, and commonly referred to as just Pondy, is one of the seven Union Territories of India which is bounded by the southern state of Tamil Nadu. This former French colony is a perfect amalgamation of the traditional Indian sensibilities and French architecture, making it a dreamy escape that offers the best of both worlds.
The streets of the French Quarter of Pondicherry, also known as White Town, are dotted with charming mustard-yellow colonial structures with bougainvillaea laden walls. These are interspersed with cosy cafes and chic boutiques that offer delectable French cuisine and beverages. Simply strolling down these streets, can give the traveller an insight into the fairytale charm of Pondicherry.
Topped with authentic French bakeries, bohemian stores and cobble-stoned paths that are delightful for a leisurely stroll or a bicycle ride, Pondicherry has a lot to offer. So head on down to this dream town of the Indian Coast and chug a few beers (at the Union Territory prices; bid adieu to state taxes) or just read a book in one of the quaint cafes.
Come explore the boulevards and rues (the French word for streets) of Pondicherry with Travel12Go that will ultimately take you down to the gorgeous seaside promenade, and witness the Bay of Bengal playfully splashing the shores of the famous Rock beach.
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Paradise Beach, also known as Plage Paradiso, is situated in Chunnambar, close to Pondicherry town. Adorned with the golden sand, this is a little-isolated beach. To reach here, you have to take a ferry across the backwaters, which takes around 20-30 minutes. There are a few shacks along the main entrance to the beach, and you can get fresh coconut water and some simple snacks – don’t expect any fancy street food though.
Part of the fun in reaching the beach is the beautiful ferry from the boathouse – the backwaters on the way to the beach are green and have thick mangrove forests. Especially after the monsoons, the backwaters are fresh and green. You can spot a lot of birds while on the ride – and photography enthusiasts would relish the opportunity to get some great photos here.
The currents in the water are high, so it is advisable to not go deep in the water. Paradise beach is a great spot to reach early morning and get a view of the sunrise on the eastern coast. A variety of water sports facilities are available here as well. The travellers can try fishing as well: fishing rods and nets are easily available for rent.
Located in the White Town of Pondicherry, Aurobindo Ashram has been named after its creator- Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. The foundation of this ashram was laid on 24th November in the year 1926 when he was surrounded by his disciples all over after he retired from politics and settled in Pondicherry. This ashram was set up with the aim of helping people attain moksha and inner peace. Thousands of tourists from all over the country visit the ashram to experience and achieve spiritual knowledge. The ashram is by far one of the wealthiest ashrams in the world. Also, the ashram does not have any branches and solely exists in Pondicherry.
At present, the Ashram has over five hundred devotees, five hundred students involved in the democratic progress school and thirteen hundred patients. All these people live in the Ashram’s main building which comprises of a block of houses which are connected with each other. These houses are located nearby the ashram at walking distance.
“The City of Dawn”
Located around 15 km from the city of Pondicherry, Auroville is located in Tamil Nadu and was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, a disciple of Aurobindo and fondly known as the ‘Mother’ of Sri Aurobindo Society. This place is the epitome of tranquillity and proves as the perfect escape for the ones in search of peace. The best way to experience Auroville ashram is to actually just sit in one of the cafes, and talk to some of the residents here about their experience of living in the city.
Conceived as the ‘Universal Town’, Auroville is an experimental township where people from across the world of all cultures and traditions come and live together in peace. People from 124 countries including Indians from 23 different states came together with some of their native soil brought from their homelands and deposited in a marble urn. Currently, over 2,800 people from over 195 different nationalities are the official residents of this township. The Aurovilleans as they call themselves live together on the principles of peace, harmony, sustainable living and ‘divine consciousness’ which was the philosophy of the Mother.
Packed with enchanting marine life, Pondicherry offers an amazing adventure of scuba diving off the country’s East Coast. A dive into the sea will let you explore the rich life comprising of beautiful natural coral reefs and other exotic creatures such as manta rays, kingfish, sea snakes, lionfish, butterflies, crustaceans, moray eels and many more. Apart from that, if it is your lucky day you might even spot whale sharks, even sharks, dolphins and turtles. You also have an option of enjoying the dive at an artificial reef and experience the thrill of the activity making Pondicherry an irresistible diving destination.