Pondicherry, renamed as Puducherry and lovingly called as Pondy, was a former French colony and today is one of the exotic locales on the East Coast of South India. It is made up of Pondicherry and Karaikal in the state of Tamil Nadu, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe in Kerala. Although, the Union Territory (UT) is made up of four small regions, all discussions of tourism are generally concentrated on Puducherry, the capital town of the UT. The culture and tradition of Puducherry is a blend of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, French and other European influences. This background provides a cosmopolitan outlook to Pondy. The province is known for several historical, religious and scenic spots. It is your choice whether you wish to take a day’s trip or more. Some of the important places to visit arementioned below:
The Eglise de SacreCouer de Jesus, is one of the popular churches in the South boulevard region of Pondy. It serves as a distinctive landmark and stands out as an oriental specimen of the Gothic architectural splendor. The rare and exquisite designed stained glass panels, portraying the major events in the life of Lord Jesus depicts the European influence. Yet another church worth visiting is the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception(Notre Dame de la Conception; White Chapel, KapsKoil). The history of this church can be traced back to 1770 and it is notable for its Greco Roman architecture besides, an oil painting that is believed to have been presented by Napoleon III.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the refuge of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, is a must for anyone visiting the town. The peace and tranquility of the house, that hosts the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, provides a spiritual insight, into one of the visionary leaders of India. Auroville, conceived as an international Utopian town by The Mother, boasts of the unique Matri Mandir, an abode of meditation and reflection. Auroville, is also known for its innumerable handicraft goods and for quaint eating places. This idealized township is, according to the Auroville management, is more than a tourist spot and visitors are asked to soak in the communal lifestyle of the Auroville community.
Chunnambar, a beach and backwater resort is located about seven kilometers from Pondicherry on the way to Cuddalore. The serenity and beauty of the beach makes it an ideal picnic spot to take boating rides and relax. Arikamedu, is the ancient Roman trade centre situated 4 kms. South of Puducherry close to Ariyankuppam river. This port town, historically linking it to the second century was the trading post of Romans. Later the Cholas and French too left their mark on this port town. A great part of this territory is in ruins and still a visit can remind you of not only the historical roots but rejuvenate you with its lush, green richness. Tiruvakkarai is probably the only national fossil-wood park. The petrified trees date from the Cretaceous Age (100 million years ago) and provide us a peep into out hoary past. The place is also home to the famous Chandramouliswara Temple, built during the Chola reign.
Two small towns, close to Pondy and known for their temples, churches and history are Villianur and Ariyankuppam. Villianur, noted for the temple, Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple and the St Lourde’s Church is a quiet serene place to visit. Similarly, Ariyankuppam is the abode of the Sengazhuneer Amman Temple and Church of Our Lady of Good Health. The temple’s festival during the Tamil month of Aadi brings in innumerable visitors to the place. The church founded in 1690 is thought to be the oldest church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Puducherry and Cuddalore. Yet another place of religious significance is Karaikal which has besides the temples for Lord Shiva and Vishnu, a small temple devoted to the planetary king, Shani.
In addition to visiting temples, churches and historical places, Pondy is also a place where one can go scuba diving and surfing. Diving provides you the pleasure of viewing Lion fish, King fish, Moray eels, Eagle and Manta rays, sea snakes,and Tiger fish. For more information on scuba diving log onto:http://www.templeadventures.com/and for surfing log onto: http://www.surfschoolindia.com/
The above are only few of the spots of interest in Puducherry. As Pondy is part of Tamil Nadu, there are many regions that one can visit from Pondy. Most of them could be covered on road within a one way drive of 2-21/2 hours.Some of the places of tourist interest are the Arunachaleshwar temple at Tiruvannamalai (106 kms), Nataraja temple at Chidambaram (73 kms), the Danish fort at Tharangambadi (114 kms ), the Brihadeeshwara temple at Gangaikondacholapuram (100 kms), Gingee forts at Gingee (70 kms), the Dargah at Nagore (140kms), the mangrove forest at Pitchavaram (70 kms), the church at Velankanni (120 kms), and the Shore temple and fresco at Mammalapuram (100 kms).
For further details of Pondy tourism visit the following websites:
Check for the a map of the region at:Click for view Pondicherry Map
Other Details About Pondicherry:
Climate in Pondicherry :
Weather in February would be between 30 to 35 degree celsius. Nights would be cool and will not require any warm clothing. Being a coastal town, expect the usual humidity as in any city on a sea coast.
How To Reach Pondicherry:
Pondicherry can be reached by air or rail upto Chennai and then by a road drive of about 160 kms. A few trains ply from Kerala, Delhi, Mumbai, Howrah, and Bhuvaneshwar but these run only on certain days and one can check the same at https://indiarailinfo.com/ and http://www.indianrail.gov.in/or https://www.90di.com/travel/ Besides Chennai, the other railway station close to Puducherry is Villupuram. (40 km away). It is well connected by road from neighbouring states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra by bus.
Airport to Pondicherry Drive is about 21/2 to 3 hours journey.
While travelling either by the East Coast Road (ECR) or the Bypass Road one can avail refreshments and rest rooms at any of the following restaurants: AdyarAnandaBhavan (Popularly known as A2B) ; Hotel Sangeetha; Hotel AnandhaBhavan and Hotel Mamalla (This is only present on ECR Road)
Road travel from Chennai on the East Coast road (ECR) is very scenic and is usually recommended. For A/C buses from Chennai one can do online booking at http://www.busindia.com/PRTC-Pondicherry-Online-Booking.jsp
For taxi operators one can check out online. We still provide you names of few that you could approach:
- Sri Chakra travels (contact:+91-413-4200355 and +91-9345448048),
- Kalki travels (contact: +91-413 220 2202 and +91-9751797904),
- Siva Shakthi travels (contact:+91-413 2221992 and +91-9443279892,
- Comfort travels(contact:+91-413 2223724 and +91-9442555959),
- Independent car drivers: Mr. Selvaraj (contact:+91-919944338676) and Mr. Ranganathan (contact:+91-9944008916).
SIGHT SEEING TRIP:
On 11th afternoon at 12 pm a trip would be arranged to local places of interest or to Pitchavaram and Chidambaram. This is dependent on the number of interested conference participants. Please note that your registration does not cover the cost of the trip and depending on the number and vehicle arranged, nominal fee for the trip will be charged. This would be intimated to you before the start of the conference. In case you are interested in the trip please email our contact id:firstname.lastname@example.org before January 15, 2018 so that we can finalise the itinerary. Here is a brief about Chidambaram and Pitchavaram.
Chidambaram – the temple town is a two-hour drive from Pondicherry. Charged with spiritual aura, the antiquity and historical shrines of the commune invigorates one’s soul and mind. The legendary Tillai Nataraja KoothanKovil, spread over 40 acres has a history that can be traced back to the 12th and 13th century. With a magnificent temple tower made of gold, inspiring Shaivite history and remarkable architecture representing the Akasa – the sky (one of the five prime elements of nature), the temple is also home to an annual dance festival. The memories of the Vedic past & historic tradition engraved in the temple sculptures will indubitably haunt one’s memory and linger. Pitchavaram is situated sixteen kilometers from Chidambaram. This eco-tourist spot is the world’s second largest mangrove forest. The backwater connected by Vellar and Coleroon rivers provides opportunity for rowing and canoeing. The lush green ecosystem a breeding ground for a variety of migrant birds. Be it the squabble of birds on the straits at Pitchavaram or the majestic edifices of erstwhile kingdoms in Chidambaram, the visit would certainly break the urban/academic monotony.