Pondicherry (Puducherry) is a union territory of India (Locals prefer calling it Puducherry). It is located exactly 150 km’s from Chennai airport. Famous for its French colonies and also known as the French capital of India, Pondicherry is a hidden gem and is one of the most underrated travel destinations of India. It is full of beautiful beaches, French colonies, mouth-watering seafood, backwaters and is a home to the world famous Auroville universal city. It also has some really beautiful churches! You can just relax at a beautiful palm beach or roam around in the French colonies, I found it to be the perfect destination for unwinding from the mundane life.
Things You Just Cannot Miss Out On In Puducherry:
Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township in Viluppuram district mostly in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, with some parts in the Union Territory of Pondicherry, in South India. Founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator known as “the Mother”) and designed by architect Roger Anger. It was built to somewhat create a transcendental community where human unity is given the utmost importance and materialism is discouraged. It is THE PLACE if you want to indulge in some inner peace and silence. You can find a lot of people practicing yoga and meditating here, it’s simply a very peaceful place.
2. French Colonies:
The most beautiful part of Pondicherry is the French colonies. The mesmerizing French Architecture could make you question whether you actually are in India. The reason for Pondicherry having such french influence is due to the old trade routes and wars in 1674’s. The French colonies exist in the locality called the white town.
There are a lot of beaches in and around Pondicherry. All of them are really clean and not so crowded, to name a few, serenity beach, paradise beach, promenade beach and Auroville beach. I preferred my resort beach the most (Club Mahindra Pondicherry), as it was a bit untouched and clean. Also, if by any chance you are coming to Puducherry via Chennai, don’t miss out on the beach known as Kovalam beach. It’s the most beautiful & cleanest beach I’ve ever been to in India.
4. Aurobindo Ashram:
The Ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926 to renounce from public life and head towards his own spiritual progression. The place is now visited by a lot of spiritual seekers from all over the world. It is the best place if you want to indulge in yoga and meditation! They take yoga very seriously! Also, no pictures were allowed to be taken inside the ashram, so I could only manage to get a single picture of the front.
There are 32 churches in Pondicherry such as Church of Our Lady of Angels, Sacred Heart Church, Dupleix Church, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Conception Cathedral to take the name of a few of the biggest and the oldest ones. Their beauty lies in the French architecture and the solace they hold within.
You can find a variety of cuisine in Pondicherry like Seafood, French cuisine, continental, as well as local South Indian food. From idli-dosa to king prawns to a nice steak and wine, you can get it all here.
7.Pichavaram Mangrove Forest:
If you have some extra time I would strongly recommend you to put on your shoes and travel an hour and a half from Pondicherry to the pichavaram mangrove forest! It is a place to be. You definitely cannot miss out on it as it is simply surreal. It is the 2nd largest mangrove forest in the WORLD! When you reach there, you shall notice that the government has built some really good boating facilities for the tourists. I would recommend you to take the non-motorized boat as motorized boats are not allowed inside the canals of the mangroves and visiting a mangrove forest without going into the canals is an incomplete experience altogether.
And the list can go on!
But these are the most important things you ought to do when in Puducherry. SO what are you waiting for? Pack those bags and Head Out!!!!!!!!!