Until the year 2006, Pondicherry or Puducherry was earlier named as Putucceri. A union territory of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry was formed in the year 1962 out of the four former colonies of French India that include Pondicherry or Puducherry, Karaikal (next to India’s southeastern Coromandel Coast), Yanam, the delta region of the Godavari River, surrounded by Andhra Pradesh state and Mahe that lies on the western Malabar Coast, surrounded by Kerala state. The territory’s capital is the city of Puducherry in the Puducherry sector, just north of Cuddalore. The original name of the territory, Putucceri, is derived from the Tamil words putu that means new and Ceri that means village. The French corrupted this to Pondichéry, by which it was called until its name was officially changed to Puducherry in 2006.
Places to Visit in Pondicherry
1. Paradise Beach
Paradise Beach is one of the most famous beach spots to visit in Pondicherry. Located in Chunnambar, the sparkling golden sand that entertains a cold breeze all year round, making it the perfect spot for you to spread a mat, lay down and just breathe the surreal surroundings. Also known as the Plage Paradiso, the beach is secluded from most of the city, hence you will be required to take a ferry across the backwaters. It is a total of twenty to thirty-minute ferry ride. The incredible ferry ride is considered as one of the most magnificent experiences as it gives you the most incredible opportunity of grabbing a look of the backwaters and the thick green Mangrove forests. Do not forget to look up into the bright blue sky and see various kinds of birds flying across. The beach is the perfect spot for relaxation. A little jog or run on its pristine golden coastline makes the experience of spending time here beyond amazing. Since the currents in the water are high, it is advised to not take a dip into the pool. Don’t forget to grab some fresh coconut water and snacks while you are there.
2. Aurobindo Ashram
The popular Aurobindo Ashram of Pondicherry is named after the famous poet, yogi and nationalist Shri Aurobindo Ghosh. Its foundation was laid on the 24th of November in 1926 after he chooses to retire from the field of politics and settle in Pondicherry. The main aim behind bringing this ashram in the form to help people lead the path to moksha (release from the cycle of rebirth) and inner peace. Almost thousands of people from across the world come to the Aurobindo Ashram to attain a great level of peace within themselves. Hence it is marked as the wealthiest ashram in the world. Every year on the 24th of November, the Aurobindo Ashram celebrates its Foundation Day. It has further been described by Shri Aurobindo Ghosh that he expresses through his writings as ‘less been created than grown around me as its centre’. One of Aurobindo Ghosh’s follower Mirra Alfassa played an extremely essential role in the establishment of the ashram. After Sri Aurobindo Ghosh died in 1950, she took the Aurobindo Ashram in her hands. Later she began to be addressed as the ‘Mother’ of the ashram. Currently, the Ashram has over five hundred devotees and five hundred students involved in the democratic progress school and thirteen hundred patients. All these people live in the Ashram’s main building.
Auroville is the famous universal town that is visited by people from all over the world that come together to live under a single roof. The town is located 15 kilometres away from Pondicherry. It was founded in the year 1968 by Mirra Alfassa who was an ardent follower of Shri Aurobindo Gosh. She is famously known as the the ‘Mother’ of Sri Aurobindo Society. Auroville came into form on the 28th of February 1968 intending to provide an open space to people who wish to attain education and progress regardless of their caste, race or religion. People from around 124 countries including Indians of twenty-three different states have brought with themselves some of their native soil and deposited in a marble urn of Auroville. Currently, over 2,800 people from approximately 195 nationalities have attained official presidentship from this town. The residents have been lovingly named as the Aurovilleans who abide by the principles of peace, harmony, sustainable living and divine consciousness which was also the philosophy of Mirra Alfassa.
4. Promenade beach
The famous Promenade beach is a must-visit in Pondicherry in the state of Tamil Nadu. The beach stretches from the iconic Dupleix Park to Goubert Ave, a total of 1.2 kilometres. Due to the presence of significant monuments and landmarks nearby such as the War Memorial, the statue of the Joan of Arc, the heritage Town Hall, the old lighthouse, statue of Mahatma Gandhi, remains of the old pier, Dupleix Statue and the old customs house, this place has frequently been visited by a large number of tourists. Both the locals and tourists can be seen enjoying the arena by playing either volleyball, skating, swimming in the waters, jogging or walking around the stunning coastline. The Paradise beach also has numerous eatery options for visitors. The famous cafes and restaurants situated nearby serve some rich and authentic traditional food that will surely leave your taste buds amused and yourself full of glee. One of the most popular cafes near the beach is Le Cafe. Known heaven for seafood lovers, you will be able to spot a huge crowd outside the cafe waiting to be served.
5. Serenity Beach
Amongst the many beaches that the city of Pondicherry is known to house, the Serenity beach is marked as one of the most loved beaches. It is located 10 kilometres away from the border of Puducherry in Kottakuppam. Serenity Beach has been named after the Spa-Resort-Inn that is situated in the same spot. Due to its supreme peacefulness and pristine white sand next to turquoise blue waters, it was earlier called the Thanthirayan Kuppam Beach or the plain Kottakuppam Beach. The beach is the usual getaway spot for the natives of Pndicheery who wish to elope for the weekend. The appeasing view of the Bay of Bengal is enough to make your visit worthwhile. The beach is in an isolated spot, away from all the hustle-bustle of the city life. Hence, if you are looking for a peaceful spot where you wish to just relax, soak in the goddess of nature or a walk across to let loose all the worries of life. The Serenity beach is extremely important amongst the fishermen. A visitor will be able to spot the sea lined with boats. The waves of the sea provide the right conditions for surfing opportunities.
Must-Visit Cafes of Pondicherry
Pondicherry has one of the most renowned cafes that tourists can visit to enjoy a plate of gourmet food with some beer.
- The La Maison Rose is a very famous restaurant of Pondicherry that has a stunning French grandeur vibe to it. The place is the perfect dining spot as you get to enjoy the stunning view of the French colonial style villas alongside some great food. The tables have been neatly arranged next to tall mango trees that lets you reel in the charms of nature too. A must try around this cafe are its delicious Lamp Chops.
- The Le Cafe of Pondicherry is a famous cafe of Pondicherry that offer a seafront view of the great Bay of Bengal that will surely leave you in a mesmerized state of mind. People love relaxing in on the chairs with a glass of a drink that lets them enjoy themselves to the fullest. A nice cool breezy wind will certainly transfer you into a tranquil sense of mind. While chilling at the cafe do not forget to order a cup of cappuccino or some french fries for yourself.
- The Well cafe is located right outside the town of Auroville right next to some forest trees. The cafe is a simple casual eat-out spot that serves visitors with some great Mediterranean food. Order yourself a plate of salad, some hummus with falafel or a big fat juicy burger to energize you for a trip further downtown.
- If you are a big fan of the delicious Italian dish pizza and wish to search for the perfect cafe that will make the most perfect cheezy slices for you to devour then the Tanto cafe in Pondicherry is the perfect spot for you. The cafe serves one of the most delicious pizzas in the entire city of Pondicherry. They are known to use fresh garden toppings on their pizzas, making it even more delicious to eat. The cafe is surrounded by lush green trees and plant, giving you the most perfect setting to eat at and enjoy.
- The Café Des Arts in Pondicherry is a popular Bohemian cafe of Pondicherry that offer the most relaxing vibes. The cafe has a great old-world French charm to it that will surely leave you in a state of awe. Café Des Arts are famous for its chocolate waffles, a banana Nutella crepe, baguette sandwich and Croque Provençal. Do not forget to try their famous Hibiscus flower syrup drink that is a favourite amongst the crowd.
Some Fun Facts about Pondicherry
- The city of Pondicherry is known to house the third tallest Mahatma Gandhi statue in the World. A total of seventy countries in the world have their own Mahatma Gandhi statues. The Mahatma Gandhi statue in Patna is made up of bronze and is twenty-four metre tall, which is said to be among the tallest statues. The Mahatma Gandhi statue in Pondicherry is said to be thirteen feet tall and can be witnessed at the Promenade beach.
- You will not be able to see a lot of elephants on Pondicherry but there is an elephant that visits a local temple in Pondicherry. The Manakula Vinayagar Temple has a popular temple that has been devoted to the Hindu god Lord Ganesha. You will be able to spot many beautiful images on the ceilings of the Temple.
- The city of Pondicherry is officially known as Puducherry. In the year 2006, its name was changed. Its first name Putucceri where Putu meant ‘new’ in the local language of Tamil and Ceri meant ‘village’. The French changed it to Pondicherry later.
- In the entire East Coast of India, Pondicherry provides the perfect conditions to scuba dive and explore some colourful reefs and fishes. Divers will be able to spot some diverse fishes such as the angelfish, parrotfish, kingfish, lionfish, grouper, eagle rays, manta rays, sea snakes, triggerfish, bannerfish, and much more.
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