A Little France in India Pondicherry Travel Plan

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This is my experience and handpicked travel spots to make a perfect Pondicheey Travel Plan. However, you can customize as per your need.

Pondicherry is now known as Puducherry and usual under Indian territory surrounded by TamilNadu. As history goes, it carries the history of French(East India Company), Dutch, Portuguese, British colonies along with Indian rulers like Pallava, Cholas, Pandya, Vijayanagar. I will try to cover the pieces of evidence wherever I can. In this post, I will also try to show our experiences so that it can be your travel guide.

No doubt, Pondicherry is one of the popular tourist destinations of South  India. Even though sea beaches disappoint you but you can get plenty of colonial buildings, churches, temples, status and overall a colonial ambience.

The climate in Pondicherry- the decider go or not to go?

Coming to today’s Pondicherry, the climate is typically tropical. It is a wet and dry coastal climate. During our visit, in October, we got the scorching sun and huge humidity. So if you are also planing for Pondicherry, avoid the summer seasons. Post monsoons months are ok and the winter season is best.

The next question about how to go to Pondicherry?

Rail-  Pondicherry is well connected with major cities like -Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, etc. you can refer to this link for more details about the railway connectivity.

Plane- Pondicherry airport is at Lawspet but with a very fewer flight operating. Spicejet is the only one that operates Hyderabad to Pondicherry. You can refer to this link to get details.

Road- Pondicherry is well connected with all parts of India. But the best of the lot is the east coast road from Chennai via Mahabalipuram.

Bus- Apart from these Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and Pondicherry Road Transport Corporation-run air-conditioned Volvo buses from Chennai to Pondicherry.

Our trip details-  Initially we were up for the road trip via Chennai from Hyderabad. But my daughter was less than one year then. So we took a mixed-mode of the journey. we flew till Chennai from Hyderabad and from there we took outstation Uber to go to Pondicherry. I will always prefer this route any day as the scenic beauty of the road. This route is just along the east coast.

East Coast Road Chennai to Pondicherry
East Coast Road Chennai to Pondicherry

Note– While booking the cab, make sure he is having the permit to enter to Pondicherry.

How many days do we need for this trip?

Pondicherry can be covered by 2 days but if you want to mix with the culture want a relaxed and slow-paced journey around Pondicherry, you need a full one week to cover. btw, Pondicherry is called the Paris of the east.

How to travel around Pondicherry?

Pondicherry is a small town. If time permits I must say that try walking or bicycling around Pondicherry. You will get new frames for your camera and memory every now and then. Every wall, every turn every building and common people will give you a fairy tale charm of Pondicherry.

The second-best alternative to walk is to hire a motorcycle. In the Pondicherry market, you can get plenty of shops that offer you a motorbike(scooter to bike to Enfield).

The third option is to hire an auto. You can get an auto with a good rate. Talk to your hotel reception for the average fair and bargain a little.

The last option is to have either an Ola or an Uber or a private taxi. Ola and Uber have some issues with the local auto and taxi operators. So you may have to walk a little to avail of these services. But overall they offer a good service.

I never opt for the bus, tempo travellers as they only commute to a fixed path and do not entertain any request to stop in between. If you are on a very tight budget, you can avail of this as they are very cheap. But you may compromise some of the important aspects of Pondicherry.

Must you see around Pondicherry( Pondicherry travel plan)

We had time around one week, hence we had covered most of the Pondicherry. But you can customize as per your need, budget, and priority.

Statues in Pondicherry

  • Gandhi statue
  • Dupleix statue or statue of Dupleix
  • Nehru statue
  • Statue of the Joan of Arc

Beaches in Pondicherry

  • Promenade beach
  • Paradise beach
  • Rock beach
  • Karaikal beach
  • Auroville beach
  • Yanam beach
  • Veerampattinam beach

Must visit in Pondicherry

  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Matrimandir (Auroville)

French culture in Pondicherry

  • White Town
  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral
  • Basilica of the sacred heart of Jesus
  • French war memorials
  • 19th Century lighthouse
  • Governor palace
  • Roman Rolland Library
  • French fort Louis
  • Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges

Hindu Culture in Pondicherry

  • Manakula Vinayagar temple (Lord Ganesh temple)
  • Bharati Park

Museums in Pondicherry

  • Pondicherry museum
  • Jawahar toy museum
  • Bharati and Bharatidasan memorial museum

General visiting places in Pondicherry

  • General assembly
  • French Institute of Pondicherry
  • Botanical Garden
  • Aayi mandapam
  • Gingee fort
  • Backwater water lakes and gardens
  • Government park
  • Promenade or Gurbert Avenue
  • Kuruchikuppam- the fishermen’s village
  • Ananda Ranga Pillai Museum
  • Pondicherry Bazar
  • Ousteri Lake
  • Cuny Embroidery Center
  • Kanniga Paramsweri temple
  • Iscon Temple Pondicherry
  • Ganesh Garden
  • Arikamendu
  • Roman Rolland Library

Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry

Sri Aurobindo Ashram is the prime attraction in Pondicherry and is located on Rue de la Marine at the white town. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is 3 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. It is also one of the important ashrams in India. Pondicherry travel plan is not completed without this place.

It was founded by the renowned freedom fighter and spiritual philosopher Sri Aurobindo Ghosh on 24th November 1926. This ashram does not have any branches.

Pondicherry travel plan is not completed without this place.

Mirra Alfassa, one of the followers of Sri Aurobindo took charge of this ashram after his death. she was known as the mother of the ashram.

I did not visit this place as kids below three years were not allowed. However, my wife and in-laws visited this place while I was playing with my daughter. I am narrating what she told me. The entry was free into the ashram.

Some of the facilities like the library, the main building, dining hall can be accessed upon receiving a gate pass from the ashram authority. You can meditate at meditation hall at the ashram or at the playground. If you wish to take their food, you need to take a pass and can avail breakfast, lunch, and dinner from ashram itself.

The best time to visit the ashram is early morning. My wife and inlaws took a cab to reach here. once they were done they visited the nearby ashram market. Once again they hired Uber to reach the hotel.

Auroville- City of the Down in Pondicherry

The next must-visit place is the Pondicherry is the Auroville. It is an experimental township located 8 KM west from Pondicherry bus stop. It is also known as “Universal Town”. It is founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa(the mother). People from 124 countries and all states of India donated their own soil here.

The architecture of the city is a very unique and interesting concept. The city is planned in a circle radius of 1.25kms. the centre of the city is the famous Matrimandir. The entire city is surrounded by a green belt.

Matri Mandir at Pondicherry
Matri Mandir at Pondicherry

We ventured this with a local uber who took us to the gate. Once we entered the green belt the temperature dropped and gave us new energy to go via walking. Matrimandir should be viewed by walking. we could see the tremendous efforts of several artists of different paintings, sculptures, etc. Once we reached that place, we experienced an unbelievable view of the city.

Beaches in Pondicherry in details

If you are a beach lover, want to play with the tides, waves, and seawater Pondicherry is not for you. Pondicherry is having just adequate sea beaches to quench the sea thirst. But mostly they are for checking far away or from knee-deep water.

Early days(back in 1735), the Frech government tried to put up a wall against the erosion of the beaches, but it was never a hard stoned structure. As a result of the fact, the Bay of Bengal slowly engulfed quite a big area. Now Indian govt has put up a heavy structure in order to stop the encroachment of the sea.

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Hence the sea Bay of Bengal is quite deadly here. Importantly there are lifeguards available most of the popular beaches. Pondicherry is however blessed with five beautiful beaches. All the beaches are having deep blue water that provides cool and refreshing air.

Most of the beaches are having cafes, resorts, and bars around them. So surely you can enjoy a nice sunrise and a stunning sunset with your favorite drinks.

Chunnambar Boat House

Chunnambar Boat House or Chunnambar Boat Jetty is 6 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. The boat ride(not the one take you to Paradise beach, the same jetty has another service of the boathouse. ) over pristine backwater of Pondicherry, reminds me of the days of Kumarakom.

It is a similar experience with a delight for all nature lovers, The traditional wooden cruiser is also best for relaxing, bird watching.

If you are a honeymoon couple, you can surely take a ride with your beloved. It is also famous for yachting, sunbathing.

Promenade beach in Pondicherry

Promenade beach is the third popular must-visit place in Pondicherry. Even if Promenade beach is not suitable for taking a bath(you can not enter into the sea here), you can actually go for a walk around the beach road.

The total stretch of the beach is 1.5 km. There are old and large churches of 18th and 19th century, heritage buildings, children parks, monuments, amusement parks, Gandhi maidan, War memorial, le cafe, Dupluix statue, etc. Do not forget to collect (buy) the shell fragments and other decorative sea elements from the locals.

This beach is often referred by the South’s marine drive.

Paradise beach in Pondicherry

Paradise beach is also known as Plage Paradiso. It is located at Chunnambar 8 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. The beach is having golden sand and it is a little far from the mainland Pondicherry. To access this beach you have two different options. They are as follows:

  • Take a large boat- traveling time will be 20-25 minutes with a  charge of rs 150 INR
  • Take a speed boat – travel time will be 10 minutes with a charge of rs 500 INR

when we reached in the Chunnambar jetty, it was already 12 noon and there was a huge queue for the normal boat. We had our 1-year-old daughter with us and we wanted to reach the beach as soon as possible. While the big boat is fun to ride, we opted for a speed boat.

The journey via the backwater was awsome. It was the post-monsoon season, hence the backwater was fresh and the surroundings were green. Within 10 minutes, we reached Paradise beach.

The first impression was that it was another decaying beach with very soft and grainy sand. After a minute walk from the dropping point, we found the toilet(with freshwater shower facility) and changing room(separate for gents and ladies). Just opposite to the toilet there is a rain dance. People were really enjoying the rain dance.

As the sun was emitting scorching heat, we quickly change our dress and jump into the sea. Almost immediately, we realized that the current of the Bay of Bengal is very high. We could not go at least the waist-deep.

There were several coastal guards who were busy controlling the crowd. One of the lifesaver guards told that the slope was uneven and the turbulence was high. While taking our bath, we saw some portion of the beach where the backwater meets the ocean was marked as a danger sign. The whole area was separated with a rope. The same guard said that there might be quicksand there.

My daughter enjoyed this bath, beach. Her first sea experience after all. As time passed, the sand became very hot and walk on the beach became very tough. We ran towards the changing room for shelter.

Just after the bath, we felt a noticeable thirst. Then we realized that there were no proper hotels or restaurants there. A makeshift canteen was unable to supply the water as the demand went very high. We looked for some other vendor who was selling coconut. It was pricy and burnt a hole in the purse. But without any other options, we had to take this.

Other than coconut, we saw options like ice cream, tea, other snacks.

Water sports in Paradise beach

During pick season, a variety of water sports were available but in our tenure of the visit, we did not get any of them except fishing. Fishing rods and nets were available on rent on the beach itself. We did not opt for it.

Scuba diving in Paradise beach

Pondicherry is the house of Manta rays, kingfish, sea snakes, lionfish, butterflies, moray, etc. You can dive in here to explore these creatures. It is said in your lucky day, you may get whale, sharks, dolphins, turtles, etc.

If you are traveling with a group, you can carry your own football, cricket kits, volleyball. Trust me it will be fun. Walking around this beautiful beach also another enjoyment. This beach is undisturbed and not littered by human mega population.

Best time to visit Paradise beach

The best time to visit Paradise beach would be early morning as soon as the ferry service starts or afternoon season or during dawn when the sun god would be a little merciful.

Things to carry while going to Paradise beach

  1. Sunscreen lotion, hat, mask, cap sunglasses
  2. Camera
  3. Playing kits
  4. Extra clothes if you are planning to swim
  5. Plenty of water bottles and snacks

Note for Bird watchers and Bird photographers

There is a special boat ride available that will give you a glance to see the birds closely. There are hundreds of local and migratory birds around this area. You can go with your lense ready. This trip will be worth every penny you spend. Just talk to the boat organizer for the right time and more information. Pondicherry was built on a grid system and divided by several canals. You can go to bird watching, beautiful sightseeing along the canals with a country boat.

Rock Beach in Pondicherry

Rock beach is another beach adjacent to White Town. It depicts black rocks residing and saving Pondicharry against the land erosion caused by the Bay of Bengal. It acts as a guard against the silent encroachment of the sea.

However, this beach is not suitable for swimming or take a bath. You can seat back on the boulders or have a walk on the boulders or on the pavement. You can also enjoy the sunset by seating on the boulders.

It also offers a spectacular view of the Bay of Bengal.

Karaikal beach in Pondicherry

Karaikal beach is one of the natural south Indian beaches that offers undisturbed leisure, tranquility, solitude, and piousness to the visitors. The pristine water of the Arasalar river will surely welcome you with its beauty. Authorities have put up several parks, seats, restaurants, and other joy rides to explore to enjoy and a pleasant stay here.

The day time activities are very much the same as any other beaches in India like boating, canoeing, kayaking. You can also enjoy playing cricket, beach football or beach volleyball.

My suggestion: Go here during sunset time. You will get an excellent view of the sunset. Just after the dawn, the roads are decorated with sodium vapor lamps that give a very nice view of the river, path and the sea.

There are plenty of parking places but the beach toilet facility is not that great. (maybe during our visit). However, you can surely opt for a nearby restaurant’s toilet facility.

Auroville beach in Pondicherry

Auroville beach is another popular beach among the locals as well as visitors. It is situated on the opposite side of the Auroville bound road near ECR. It is 9.5 km away from Pondicherry bus stop and 6km away from Auroville. The tide and slope both are gentle here. It is also safe to swim. (It is not advisable though).

You can seat back, relax and sip a cup of coffee or tea made by seaside local vendors. You can also take a tender coconut, fresh-cut guava, masala cucumber, semi-ripe masala mango, etc. On the other side of the beach approach road, there are several nonveg options like masala pomfret, fresh rohu fry, etc. We did not opt for these.

Serenity beach in Pondicherry

Serenity beach in Pondicherry is just another exotic beach that is safe for the swimmers. It is situated 7Km away from the Pondicherry Bus stop. Talk about the pristine beach, sparkling sand, glittering waves, colorful fishing boats, Serenity beach offers all. It is possibly the best beach on the East coast road.

Remember, we opted for a long 3 hours drive from Chennai instead of taking a direct flight to Pondicherry? This beach is the reason for that long drive via the East coast road.

This beach also offers several sports activities like boating, kayaking, canoeing, etc.  Of course, you can play beach cricket, football or volleyball, etc on the beach. Serenity beach is ideal for sunbathing under the palm tree.

Sadly though this beach does not have a proper toilet facility or proper changing room.

Yanam Beach in Pondicherry

Yanam beach is an encaved town and a separate district of Pondicherry. It is situated at the confluence of river Godavari and its tributary the river Coringa. Yanam is having a great history of 250 years and has an influence of French colonial.

Yanam beach is also known as Rajib Gandhi beach. It is an almost virgin beach that offers spectacular views of the sea. You can relax on the seashore or take a boat ride or swim.

Just remember, there is no proper toilet or changing room here.

Veerampattinam beach in Pondicherry

Veerampattinam is the largest coastal village in Pondicherry. This village is carrying a history of thousands of years.  The adjacent Veerampattinam beach is a kind of isolated beach and it is mainly used for only relaxing by the seashore. You can take bath in the Bay of Bengal but there will not be any coastal guard or lifesavers. Just remember, there is no proper toilet or changing room here.

With a small walk, you can see the Chole port. The Chole port was famous for trading with Romans. These old heritages need maintenance.

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The villagers offer a smile plus attitude to guide you all the nearby places but you can not get a decent shop or restaurants here. So if you plan to visit this beach, carry your food from Pondicherry itself along with plenty of water bottles.

French culture in Pondicherry

White Town in Pondicherry

The streets of the French quarter of Pondicherry are concentrated in White town. This small area is having an eye-catching charming and marvelous mustard yellow colonial structure with bougainvillea laden walls.

White town symbolizes a bright, vibrant culture and heritage of the colonial space. It gives you the French culture to the fullest. If you have to come here or planning to go here, do not miss to visit the Promenade hotel. It is very popular for Tamilians and seafood.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Pondicherry

Immaculate Conception Cathedral is locally known as Samba kovli and is 2.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. It is one of the oldest(300 years) churches in Pondicherry. It was started around 1791.  It depicts the Portuguese culture and architecture. The ark and architecture work around the cathedral is magnificent to see.

Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges in Pondicherry

Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges is 3 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. It is also known as The Church of Our Lady of Angels.

The Church was worked in 1865 by French Missionaries in the Greek-Roman structural style. It was designed according to the Basilica at Lourdes situated in Southern France. The stonework is finished utilizing the fine limestone, blended in with creme color like a white piece of the egg, giving it a surface that resembles a white marble. The congregation is named in the respect of Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of the Angels.

The veneer of the congregation has two enormous segments. The inside focal arch has eight round openings. The pastel peach and lime hues give it a tranquil appearance. This congregation is likewise popular for its uncommon oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was a blessing from the French Emperor, Napoleon III.

The burial ground beside the congregation has the tomb of Marquis de Bussy (dated 1785), who was one of the well-known governors of Pondicherry. Before the congregation is a statue of Mary with the newborn child Jesus in her arms. A marble statue of the gallant French warrior Joan of Arc is put in a nursery, before the Church.

This is another beautiful and eye-catching church of Pondicherry. It shows purely French architecture. The statue of mother merry is beautiful to see. Do not forget to click a picture of the heroic French warrior Joan of Arc.

French fort Louis in Pondicherry

As per local belief, this fort was constructed in early 1700. It is a pentagonal shape with the moat border. It is having five bastions and two gates. The underground chambers were used to store arms, ammunition, and foods.

Basilica of the sacred heart of Jesus in Pondicherry

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Pondicherry is 2.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. It is one of the 21 basilicas in India. It was constructed in 1907 and displays specimen of Gothic style architecture. It is an active pilgrimage spot for the Christians in India. It is having a grotto, parish hall, an adoration chapel.

It is also known for the parent church for Pondicherry for the catholic diocese. The structure is 50 meters long,48 meters wide and 19 meters high. It is having 24 columns. Do not miss Biblic words on the entrance written in Latin along with the image of a scarred heart of Jesus and mother merry.

You can visit this page for beautiful pictures.

French war memorials in Pondicherry

The French war memorial is a tribute to the warriors who lost their lives in world war-I(1916-1919). It is 3.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop.14th July of every year the monument is all decorated to display the major highlights.

Hindu Culture in Pondicherry

Manakula Vinayaka Temple in Pondicherry

Manakula temple is 3 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. It is a locally famous temple with the name of the Vellakkaran Pillai temple.Manakula temple was built in 1666 AD by the Chola’s. It is famous for Lord Ganesh and the elephant. It reminds us of the glorious fight against the French to save this temple.

Facing the east near the Bay of Bengal, the temple was known as Bhubaneswar Ganapathy. The temple is having a spread over 8000sq feet. It is 18 feet high. The gold plated kodikamban is a must-watch. The outside wall displays various forms of Ganesh with timelines and locations.

The elephant blesses visitors (of course you have to give her a coin) by touching them on the head with her trunk.

ISCON Pondicherry

This is definitely another tourist attraction with maha-mantra chanting, Vaishnav cafe, gift shop, and prasad.

Statues in Pondicherry

Mahatma Gandhi statue in Pondicherry

Mahatma Gandhi statue is 2.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. Mahatma Gandhi statue is another tourist attraction in the White Town. It is very near to the Jawaharlal Nehru statue.

Worked by the well-known stone worker Roy Choudhary from Madras School of Art and Crafts, it is one of the significant tourist spots in Pondicherry.

This four-meter square statue, the greatest Mahatma Gandhi statue in Asia, is encompassed by eight eminent stone columns that were brought from Gingee, a fortress some 70kms from Puducherry. The columns were raised in 1866, while the statue, put inverse the old Pier, was introduced on January 26, 1965. However, the artwork on the pillars is a treat to the eyes.

The square before the statue alluded to as Gandhi Tidal, plays host to different social and melodic exercises as the year progressed.

There is a passage underneath the Gandhi statue that leads right to Gingee. The Government even took endeavors to desilt the passage. In any case, after a couple of individuals passed on of suffocation while strolling through it, the passage was shut for acceptable during the 1960s.

Dupleix statue or statue of Dupleix in Pondicherry

The statue of Dupleix is 3 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. Dupleix was a great hero. He formed an alliance with local princes to prevent the British supremacy. However, with the defeat of French in the Second Carnatic war, Dupleix resigned his Governor’s post and returned to France.

This statue is made of pure granite. It is 3(2.88m exact) meters long proudly depicts the French colonial ruler. It is situated in the southern part of the garden otherwise known as Place de Republique.

Pondicherry however, remembered his historic act and maintain this statue.

Nehru statue in Pondicherry

Statue of the Joan of Arc

This is another trace that depicts its connection with the French. It shows the legendary French lady standing and overlooking the beautiful town.

Museums in Pondicherry

Museums in Pondicherry are must visiting places as they depict the art and culture of the local colonial Pondicherry. We visited three museums during our travel. They are as follows

Pondicherry museum

Pondicherry Museum is 3 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. Pondicherry Museum has a rare collection of several relics that shows the evidence of trade between Roman empires and Indian. There are several collections of coins, handcrafts and church relics. On a different note, this museum also displays the different modes of transport of Pondicherry. There are a handful of bronze statues of god and goddess.

This historical center has a brilliant display with models and has the remaining parts of archeological discoveries from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. This exhibition is known to have antiques having a place with Cholas and Pallava’s rule of Pondicherry and Karaikal. Entombment urns, French furnishings, earthenware figures, ceramics, weapons, swords, artistic creations, mirrors and a few different things going back to various periods are saved here.

The artwork area incorporates Tanjore and glass artistic creations, provincial prints and contemporary oils, pastels and water hues. It has bronze statues of a few divine beings and goddesses alongside handiworks, fine art, and sanctuary lights. The ground floor of the historical center has a palanquin and rickshaw (pousse-pousse) displayed.

The gallery likewise has a wide assortment of snail shells gathered from the seashores close Pondicherry.

Jawahar Toy Museum in Pondicherry

Jawahar toy museum is 2.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. Jawahar toy museum displays Pondicharry culture along with great Indian culture via a rare collection of 140+ toys and dolls. They are well maintained and decorative. You along with your kid will have surely a nice time here. (As we had!!!).

Furthermore, these dolls and toys depict different states of the country. There is a separate section of the museum that displays a fairyland with a puppet doll of Lord Ganesh.

It educates people about the importance of dolls and toys in Indian culture.

Bharati and Bharatidasan Memorial Museum in Pondicherry

Bharati and Kanakasubburatnam (bharatidasan) were two pillars of Tamil literature. Their houses were converted to a museum to display their original manuscripts, photographs, letters, and other writings.

Ananda Ranga Pillai Museum in Pondicherry

Ananda Ranga Pillai Museum is 2.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. If you are a history lover, this museum will surely be on your list. It depicts a rare collection and compilation of dubash dairies. It was told that these belonged to French Governor Dupleix.

btw, It is one of the oldest buildings in Pondicherry. This building was built in 1735 and named after a courtier of Governor Joseph Francois Dupleix.

Other Visiting places in details in Pondicherry

19th Century lighthouse or old lighthouse in Pondicherry

This lighthouse is not operational right now and not opened for the public either. It is now a humble reminder of the architectural marvel and engineering beauty of those days. The Old Light House is one of Pondicherry’s most celebrated tourist spots and is arranged on Goubert Avenue. It is 3 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop.

The designer of the task, Louis Guerre established the framework of this Lighthouse in 1835. The beacon is 29 meters high. Its round pinnacle sits on a square base with an establishment 9 meters deep to balance out the sandy ground on which it was assembled. In any case, the reference point had not landed from France so the beacon was not operational until July 1836.

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The beacon was viewed as very current for that time with its exceptional structure. Its light pillar could be seen from a separation of 15 miles. The light source comprised of six oil lights and two reflectors. The light source was changed over to electric lights in 1913. The new light had a scope of 26 nautical miles.

The beacon was closed down in the year 1979, however, it is an intriguing spot to visit.

Bharati Government Park in Pondicherry

Bharati Park is 3.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. Bharati park is the most organized and scenic park in India. Do not forget to click the beautiful flower beds here.

This was the garrison during French time and French fort Louis. The fort was destroyed by the British. Do not miss Aayi Mandapam here.

Pondicherry Bazar in Pondicherry

Pondicherry bazar is famous for shopping. You can get plenty of handicrafts at a very nominal rate. (you need to bargain hard though). The famous Pondicherry silk can be found here. We purchased Pondicharry silk saris.

Ousteri Lake in Pondicherry

Ousteri wetland and National park is a 3.9 square KM area is a home of a large variety of birds and aquatic species. You can visit this lake to be part of a stunning sunset or sunrise. apart from these, the lake also offers you jaw-dropping actions of the migratory and local birds. Keep your camera and zoom lense ready if you are visiting this place.

Pondicherry New Lighthouse

The new lighthouse opens between 3 pm to 5 pm for general access. The emptiness of the area will be great for the couple or just married. so you can hang around with your beloved with a cup of coffee. But we could not find it interesting as most of the things were not accessible for public use. The entry fee was nominal.

Promenade beach or Gurbert Avenue or Gurbert Market in Pondicherry

Promenade beach is 3.5 km away from Pondicherry bus stand and it is a long stretch of rocky beach with wide pavements and benches. The bank of the Promenade beach is known as Gurbert Avenue. The adjacent beach of Promenade is not usable to take bath. But the entire avenue is another prime place to visit around Pondicherry.

It is adjacent to the White town too. The avenue is designed to be the French style and has boulevards and swaying palm trees. It is ideal for an evening walk or morning walk.

You can explore the nearby food bazar, normal bazar, several shopping stores, and cafes. You can also enjoy the sunrise or sunset from here. There is no traffic movement during the evening time as the Pondicherry government deployed traffic police to guard. So you can walk with your kids with peace of mind.

Raj Niwas / Governor palace in Pondicherry

Raj Niwas is 3.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. Raj Niwas is the place where the French Governor Dupleix used to stay. It was otherwise known as Palais du Government. It was built during the 18th century. Now it is the official residence of the Governor of Pondicherry.

This palace is having several monolithic pillars and said that they were brought from Gingee fort during 1751. This building also depicts a harmonious blend with French and Indian culture.

If you are visiting this place, do not miss the water fountain, wooden pillars, and stoneworks.

Government park in Pondicherry

Apart from Raj Niwas, this park is surrounded by the assembly, ashram dining hall, government hospital, private club. The lush green lawns and flower garden will surely make you busy by clicking them into the frame. The park has another attraction that Aayi  Mandapam.

Aayi  Mandapam in Pondicherry

Aayi tower was built during Nepolean III’s ruling period. This tower depicts Greek Roman-style architecture. It named after Aayi the famous woman who destroyed her home and made a water tank for the people of Pondicherry.

Botanical Garden in Pondicherry

The Botanical garden is 1.5 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. It is spread over 22 acres with 28 plots. Interestingly each plot has a separate theme. The Botanical garden displays colorful flowers, musical fountain, gravel line parts, and very rare tree species. This garden is said to have 1500 types of plants.

Gingee Fort in Pondicherry

Gingee Fort is another best place for visiting for the history lovers. The fort is declared as a National monument in 1921. It depicts a unique architecture of the Indian past time.

Ariyankuppam or Arikamedu

Arikamedu is 7 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. Arikamedu is an ancient Roman trading center situated at the bank of the Ariyankuppam river. Ariyankuppam is a must-see place.

Ariyankuppam word was evolved from the Tamil word Arikamedu(that means an eroding mount). The port was established by the Roman and Cholas. This is the only place in India that talks about the Indo Roman connection.


Roman Rolland Library in Pondicherry

Roman Rolland Library is 3 km away from the Pondicherry bus stop. It was formally known as Bibliotheque Publique. It was established in 1827 and named after French scroller Romain Rolland.

It is one of the oldest libraries in the country.  This library is having 3,15,000 books in different languages. This library has also 15000 old and rare books in its collection.

Things you must buy from Pondicherry

Pondicherry is famous for its handmade paper, dolls, sticks, leather items, pottery (Pondicherry artist and ceramic work), textiles and cloths. Shopping in Pondicherry is famous as you have to count fewer taxes. Do not forget to visit the flower market in Pondicherry.

You may visit Artika Gallery, Kalikeka Art Gallery, Tasmai center for Art and culture, Aurodhan Heritage guest house. These shops depict several arts and crafts like quirky art, fashion, visual art, and sculptures.

Foods in Pondicherry

The food here is simply awesome and delicious. The taste is truly international with a blend of local. The colonial cuisines blend very well with the local cuisines. This feature provides totally exotic food flavors. The popular dishes of main Pondicharry are as follows:

PuriBondasCrab Masala FryCoconut curry
Masala PuriMutton rollsRoasted potatoesRoasted Tandoori potato
Soya dosaAssadPodanlagkalMixed curry
Stuffed cabbageItalian baked beans


Btw, Swiggy is operational in Pondicherry.

Popular cafes in Pondicherry

Pondicherry is also known as “Mini Goa” with full of cozy cafes. They mostly offer french cuisines and several Indo French beverages. Every nook and corner of the Pondicherry is having one of the other beautiful cafes. Below are the few, we tested our time. You can also google for further information.

Le cafe

It is the only 24X7 cafe in Pondicherry, situated on the beach road. It is best for its french fries, cappuccino, masala omelet, lasagna, etc. Btw, the old port office is now converted as Le cafe.

La Maison Rose

Boutique styled restaurant in the backdrop of Pondicherry villas. The seating is under the mango tree. It is famous for lamb, mutton chops.

Lighthouse Grill

My all-time favorite with a stunning view of the crystal blue Bay of Bengal. It is best for kinds of seafood especially prawns and crabs.

Cafe Des Arts

It is also another beautiful cafe. Best for waffles, banana Nutella crepe.

Cafe Carte Blanche

If you wish to take another option for seafood. This cafe is for you.

Sat Sanga

It is best for a quick light snack like green pepper steaks, Lemon pie, etc.

Well Cafe

Hummus is just damn delicious along with falafels.

Cafe de Flora

The best atmosphere for a cup of coffee. Apart from amazing coffee, you can taste the creases.

Rendezvous cafe

They have live music, candlelight dinner just to accompany your seafood crave. Must try steaks and apple pie.

Tanto Cafe

It is also famous for quick soft drinks like Ice Tea, Tiramasu, Panna Cotta, Pepperoni Pizza, Salad, Chocolate Cake, etc.

Best Homestays in Pondicherry

While the world web floods with several hotels in Pondicherry. This section talks about my favorite homestays. Now, remember, I never stayed on Homestay. While visiting I collected this information. But we have visited homestays just for blogging here.

Gratitude HeritageGratitude Heritage homestay depicts the Pondicherry of the Past with its magnificent French Colonial architecture.Wifi
Yoga session
Villa KalifieVilla Kalifie offers three-floored, air-conditioned rooms, overlooking the botanical gardenWifi
common kitchen
La Maison RadhaLa Maison Radha offers a three-bedrooms standard apartment.Ayurveda massaging
Cooking classes
A Le Ville CreoleA Le Ville Creole offers standard rooms with scenic views.Car and bike rental service
Nila HomestayNila Homestay offers heritage style rooms.
MantaManta offers standard rooms.Swimming pool
Ponni Illam HomestayPonni Illam Homestay offers standard rooms with scenic views.Affodable
Vehicle rental service
Villa UmerVilla Umer offers air-conditioned roomsWifi
Doctor on Call
24*7 room service
Car parking
Patricia Guest HousePatricia Guest House offers stand rooms that in turn depicts the Tamil and French culturesAffordable
Le Ciel HomestayLe Ciel Homestay offers a standard room with an attached bathroom.Kitchen
24*7 front desk
Medical assistance
AshrayamAshrayam offers a proper home-like atmosphere with a three-bedroom apartment.

Want to do something different in Pondicherry?

Apart from visiting several places,

  • you can take part in cooking classes conducted by several hotels or homestays. They offer French and Indian cooking classes for vegetarians and non-vegetarians dishes at a nominal fee.
  • You can visit the Sita Culture Center that teaches you how to make Kolam Cluny embroidery, cooking, Ayurveda medicine, yoga, pilate, learning of Tamil. They also sell French colonial embroidery which is off high quality. This is owned by Roman Catholics nuns to provide employment and income for underprivileged women in  Pondicherry.


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