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Puducherry

The French Rivera of the East

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  • General Information

    Other Name: Pondy, District: Pondicherry, State: Pondicherry, India
    Area: 492 Sq. Km.
    Languages Spoken: Tamil, French, English, Hindi and local dialects.
    Long Distance Code: +91-413
    Importance: Famous for the spiritual Aurobindo Ashram.
    Best Time to Visit: October to February
  • Description

    Pondicherry... the small little French settlement on the eastern coast of the Indian subcontinent, tucked into the vast state of Tamilnadu is one of the most beautiful and vibrant union territories of India. Fondly known as Pondy, this union territory of India is an amalgam of various cultures. A blend of spiritual aura with the Aurobindo Ashram, the French colonial heritage in the magnificent churches and the buildings, and the Tamil culture of the original inhabitants is what Pondicherry actually is. Along with its beautiful beaches and lovely resorts, this less explored land has many things to offer. Quiet beaches and colonial buildings, spiritual Aurobindo Ashram and Yoga training, wonderful cuisine, a blend of Tamil and French, and unique souvenirs to take along; this tiny and sleepy township is a tourists' paradise. One can explore into the state of Tamilnadu or can visit the other towns of Pondicherry, the Karaikal, the Mahe and the Yanam.<br />Pondicherry… actually a small cherry on the huge tree of Tamilnadu and obviously the juiciest one! The significance of unity in diversity acquires a new meaning in this place, lovingly called Pondy, Pondicherry. A place where the Boulevard streets still adorn the city, the lovely smell of the freshly baked breads and sambhar tour the city hand in hand, Pondicherry is a fine blend of two totally different international cultures living side by side without interference for centuries now. This once upon a time French colony takes you to a place within Tamilnadu which so much unlike Tamilnadu. The orthodox nature of the Tamilians is not so prominent and neither is the French unpretentious open nature so prominent here. The people have lived together and mingled with each other for centuries and that is evident from the daily life of the city, based on non - interference and sharing enjoyment. <br /> Long back Pondicherry bore the name of Vedapur, a seat of Vedic Culture, that's what it seems to be from the plaques found in some temples nearby. It is also believed that it was the abode of the great sage Agastya. Situated on the seashore it definitely was an important port for trading. It is believed that trading to the ancient cities of Greece and Rome in 100 B.C. took place from the port of Pondicherry. This has been proved with the remnants of the ancient port town which was excavated recently 6 kms from Pondicherry at Arikamedu.<br />The Pallava kingdom put its stronghold on Pondicherry in the early fourth century A.D. and soon after the Chola dynasty started ruling the region but only to give away to the Pandya kingdom of the south. Some coins of the Chola dynasty excavated, also at Arikamedu, prove the town to be a flourishing port town during the rule of the Chola dynasty. After a brief invasion by the Muslim rulers of the North, who established the Sultanate of Madurai, the Vijayanagar Empire took control of almost all the South of India and lasted till 1638, when the Sultan of Bijapur began to rule over Gingee. <br />By this time the Dutch, the Portuguese and the French had already started making steady advances at some invaluable port towns of India. Pondicherry was no different. The Portuguese and the Dutch started making advances here but could not establish a stronghold, partially because of the King of the Gingee. Instead he invited the French to give a tough fight to the Dutch. It was in 1638 A.D. that Pondicherry started with the foreign rule which went on for nearly 300 years in a row.<br />Many of the local inhabitants were converted to Christian, some by force and the others willingly. Along with Pondicherry the other three places of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam also came under the rule of the French.<br />Today's Pondicherry bears the marks of the by gone glorious era. The French Governors like Francois Martin and Dumas worked hard for the upliftment of the People of Pondicherry and tried to improve their living conditions. This French legacy is visible in the well-planned town, neatly laid roads, wide and vibrant beaches, beautiful promenades, architecturally imposing churches and public buildings. <br />It was much later the great saint Aurobindo Ghosh found solace in this place and built an Ashram here which has become a prominent place for spiritual seekers worldwide.<br />Although India gained freedom in 1947, Pondicherry and its districts were handed over only in 1954 and officially the treaty was signed in 1963. Since then Pondicherry has been the Union territory of India along with Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. <br />Pondicherry is very much an Indian town, and yet different from the rest. Its unique history and traditions have carved a niche of its own. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people here and the though the town bears an impression of a French colony, the surroundings are still traditionally sowed and crops are grown. The people originally of the Dravidian origin are hospitable clan. Some elderly people, who have seen the French rule, can speak fluent French and many have French passports as well. The food is essentially south Indian with a blend of French cuisine. Seafood is preferred here.<br />
  • Location

    Pondicherry has three other districts namely, Yanam, Mahe and Karaikal. Pondicherry itself is situated in the northern parts of the vast state of Tamilnadu and is located at the distance of 165 kms from Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu. Karaikal is also in the state of Tamilnadu in the district of Thanjavur at the distance of 150 kms from Pondicherry. Yanam lies in the state of Andhra Pradesh around 840 kms north east of Pondicherry while Mahe is in the state of Kerala around 650 kms east of Pondicherry.
  • Climate

    Situated on the eastern coast of the Indian Sub - Continent, this small Union Territory of India experiences a humid climate throughout the year. The winter months of December and January are pleasant and October, November and February are good.
Sri Aurobindo AshramSri Aurobindo Ashram is located in Pondicherry, a small coastal town 160 km south of Chennai, in South India. Visitors wanting to travel to Pondicherry will most likely have to pass through Chennai, whether they arrive there by air, train or road, and thereafter cover the remaining distance to Pondicherry by road, a journey which generally takes about 3 hours.

Several private and government-owned buses leave Chennai for Pondicherry every half-hour. However, visitors arriving at the Chennai Airport, or even those with a lot of luggage, might find it more convenient to hire a taxi for this leg of their journey.

Pondicherry is also connected directly by air with Bengaluru (Bangalore) with a few flights a week. There are convenient connections from Bengaluru to major Indian cities.

A limited number of rooms are available in Ashram guest houses for visitors coming for a short visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Since accommodation is limited and is often fully booked, it is advisable to make reservations in advance. A list of guest houses that accept advance bookings is provided here, along with a brief description of the facilities they provide. In case visitors come to the Ashram without a confirmed booking, they may approach the Bureau Central, which allots rooms according to requirements, provided accommodation is available.

While it is possible to enter the main Ashram building freely during visiting hours, some sections of the Ashram require that you obtain a pass before you can be allowed to enter. If you get accommodation in any of the Ashram Guest Houses, you will be given the appropriate passes. However, for those not staying at an Ashram guest house, the Bureau Central can help by providing information and the pass you might need.

The Bureau Central office, designed as an exhibition hall, also provides an introduction to the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and their method of spiritual practice, through permanent exhibits of photographs, captions, text, videos and books.

There are daily conducted tours for those interested in visiting the various units of the Ashram, the Pondicherry town, as well as the Auroville township.

Timings: 8AM–12PM, 2–6PM
The Promenade BeachA popular beach adoring the coastline of the city of Pondicherry, this long 1.2 kilometers is a haven for travelers and beach enthusiasts. Starting from the War memorial and ending at the Dupleix Park on the Goubert Avenue, the beach is also a favorite haunt for locals for the morning and evening walks besides being an all-time favorite picnic destination. As you explore the beach, you will find a statue of Mahatma Gandhi which is followed by a sea-facing restaurant to enjoy some local culinary delights.

For those who want to enjoy the warm moments and pick up some souvenirs there are small tea, snacks and souvenir shops from where you can pick a memory or enjoy some peanuts while taking in the cool breeze of the sea. The sunrise and sunset views from the beach are especially beautiful and so does the view of moon shimmering on the sea waters.
South Of Malabar Coast

South Of Malabar Coast
(17 Days / 16 Nights)

 82989
South Of Malabar Coast / PI-0370 (17 Days / 16 Nights)
Chennai-Mamallapuram-Puducherry-Thanjavur-Madurai-Kodaikanal-Munnar-Kochi-Mararikulam-Kochi-Chennai



Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Chennai - Mamallapuram
Day 2 : Mamallapuram
Day 3 : Mamallapuram - Puducherry
Day 4 : Puducherry
Day 5 : Thanjavur
Day 6 : Thanjavur
Day 7 : Thanjavur-Madurai
Day 8 : Madurai - Kodaikanal
Day 9 : Kodaikanal
Day 10 : Kodaikanal - Munnar
Day 11 : Munnar
Day 12 : Munnar-Kochi
Day 13 : Kochi
Day 14 : Kochi-Mararikulam
Day 15 : Mararikulam
Day 16 : Mararikulam
Day 17 : Mararikulam-Kochi-Chennai
Chennai Pondicherry Tour

Chennai Pondicherry Tour
(6 Days / 5 Nights)

 53844
Chennai Pondicherry Tour / PI-0108 (6 Days / 5 Nights)
Chennai-Kanchipuram-Mamallapuram-Thiruannamalai-Puducherry-Chennai

Though Pondicherry appears like a tiny speck on the sprawling Eastern coast of India, its glorious vedic past more than makes up for its size. Located just 162 kms south of Chennai, Pondicherry is fast becoming a major tourist draw. Gandhi Memorial, Kalakshetra, Mylapore temple and Marine beach are the major draw of this tour. Aurobindo ashram in Pondicherry will give your perfect peace of mind.

Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Chennai
Day 2 : Chennai
Day 3 : Chennai-Kanchipuram-Mamallapuram
Day 4 : Mamallapuram-Thiruannamalai-Puducherry
Day 5 : Puducherry
Day 6 : Puducherry-Chennai
Chennai Trichy Tour

Chennai Trichy Tour
(7 Days / 6 Nights)

 46386
Chennai Trichy Tour / PI-0111 (7 Days / 6 Nights)
Chennai-Mamallapuram-Puducherry-Thanjavur-Tiruchirappalli

This tour gives you a glimpse of the cultural richness of the various South Indian cities. This tour covers the heritage sites of the state of Tamil Nadu while also taking you on a vedic sojourn in Puducherry where get a taste of real peace and relaxation in the famous Aurobindo Ashram.

Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Chennai
Day 2 : Chennai-Mamallapuram
Day 3 : Mamallapuram
Day 4 : Mamallapuram-Puducherry
Day 5 : Puducherry-Thanjavur
Day 6 : Thanjavur-Tiruchirappalli
Day 7 : Tiruchirappalli
Kerala & Tamil Nadu Tour

Kerala & Tamil Nadu Tour
(14 Days / 13 Nights)

 86456
Kerala & Tamil Nadu Tour / PI-0277 (14 Days / 13 Nights)
Chennai-Kanchipuram-Mamallapuram-Puducherry-Thanjavur-Madurai-Thekkady-Kumarakom-Kottayam-Alappuzha-Kochi-Chennai

Welcome to this bedazzling tour that takes you through two of the most beautiful states of India. Starting from God’s own country Kerala, the tour proceeds to a land of rich cultural heritage Tamil nadu. Offering a true blend of ancient and modern world, this holiday takes you to magnificent beaches, picturesque wildlife sanctuaries and enthralling temples.

Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Chennai
Day 2 : Chennai
Day 3 : Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mamallapuram
Day 4 : Mamallapuram - Puducherry
Day 5 : Puducherry - Thanjavur
Day 6 : Thanjavur-Madurai
Day 7 : Madurai
Day 8 : Madurai-Thekkady
Day 9 : Thekkady-Kumarakom
Day 10 : Kumarakom
Day 11 : Kumarakom - Kottayam - Alappuzha
Day 12 : Alappuzha - Kochi
Day 13 : Kochi
Day 14 : Kochi-Chennai
South India Tour Palaces & Temples

South India Tour Palaces & Temples
(16 Days / 15 Nights)

 112319
South India Tour Palaces & Temples / PI-0367 (16 Days / 15 Nights)
Bengaluru-Mysore-Ooty-Coimbatore-Kochi-Thekkady-Periyar-Kumarakom-Kovalam-Madurai-Thanjavur-Puducherry-Chennai



Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Bengaluru
Day 2 : Bengaluru - Mysore
Day 3 : Mysore
Day 4 : Mysore - Ooty
Day 5 : Ooty-Coimbatore-Kochi
Day 6 : Kochi
Day 7 : Kochi-Thekkady
Day 8 : Periyar - Kumarakom
Day 9 : Kumarakom - Kovalam
Day 10 : Kovalam
Day 11 : Kovalam - Madurai
Day 12 : Madurai - Thanjavur
Day 13 : Thanjavur - Puducherry
Day 14 : Puducherry - Chennai
Day 15 : Chennai
Day 16 : Chennai
Dravidian Heritage

Dravidian Heritage
(15 Days / 14 Nights)

On Request
Dravidian Heritage / PC-644 (15 Days / 14 Nights)
Chennai-Covelong-Kanchipuram-Mamallapuram-Covelong-Puducherry-Chidambaram-Swamimalai-Thanjavur-Tiruchirappalli-Madurai-Thekkady-Kochi-Guruvayur-Kozhikode-Mysore-Chikmaglur-Shravanabelagola-Bengaluru

South India, stretching south of the Vindhya Mountain ranges down to the coastal areas surrounded by the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, covers a vast swathe of the Deccan plateau. The states in this region are Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, all four of which have their own languages, slightly differing from each other, but vastly different from the language and culture of the Indian heartland in the North and West. South India has two major claims to being a tourist attraction. Thousands of miles of pristine coastline and sandy beaches, dotted with sea side resorts and the ancient Hindu heritage architecture, temples and remnants of the Indus valley civilization. Boat trips on the backwater canals and protected wetlands, not to mention the health spas and Ayurveda clinics, make for a rejuvenating vacation, and most tourists leave Kerala in much better shape, mentally and physically, than when they came in.

Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Chennai-Covelong
Day 2 : Covelong-Kanchipuram-Mamallapuram-Covelong
Day 3 : Covelong-Puducherry
Day 4 : Puducherry-Chidambaram-Swamimalai
Day 5 : Swamimalai-Thanjavur-Tiruchirappalli-Madurai
Day 6 : Madurai
Day 7 : Madurai-Thekkady
Day 8 : Thekkady-Kochi
Day 9 : Kochi
Day 10 : Kochi-Guruvayur-Kozhikode
Day 11 : Kozhikode-Mysore
Day 12 : Mysore
Day 13 : Mysore-Chikmaglur
Day 14 : Chikmaglur-Shravanabelagola-Bengaluru
Day 15 : Bengaluru
Tour to Tamil Nadu

Tour to Tamil Nadu
(16 Days / 15 Nights)

On Request
Tour to Tamil Nadu / PI-0396 (16 Days / 15 Nights)
Chennai-Mamallapuram-Kanchipuram-Chennai-Puducherry-Tiruchirappalli-Madurai-Rameshwaram or Kodaikanai-Madurai-Kanya Kumari-Kovalam-Thekkady-Periyar-Kottayam-Alappuzha-Kochi-Ooty-Coonoor



Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Chennai
Day 2 : Chennai - Mamallapuram - Kanchipuram - Chennai
Day 3 : Chennai - Puducherry
Day 4 : Puducherry
Day 5 : Puducherry - Tiruchirappalli
Day 6 : Tiruchirappalli - Madurai
Day 7 : Madurai - Rameshwaram or Kodaikanai-Madurai
Day 8 : Madurai - Kanya Kumari - Kovalam
Day 9 : Kovalam
Day 10 : Kovalam-Thekkady
Day 11 : Periyar - Kottayam
Day 12 : Alappuzha - Kochi
Day 13 : Kochi
Day 14 : Kochi-Ooty
Day 15 : Ooty - Coonoor
Day 16 : Coonoor

Puducherry, India Tours

HOTEL DU PARC
0 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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THE RESIDENCY
2 Star
Puducherry, India
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MAISON PERUMAL
2 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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DE'L'ORIENT -Neem...
0 Star
Puducherry, India
 3421
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ZEST BIG BEACH
3 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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The Sunway GRT Grand
3 Star
Puducherry, India
 3677
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ACCORD METROPOLITAN
5 Star
Puducherry, India
 4709
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CALVE, A WELCOMHE...
3 Star
Puducherry, India
 4076
Details

LA VILLA SHANTI
4 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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The Windflower Re...
5 Star
Puducherry, India
 4521
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DUNE ECO VILLAGE ...
5 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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ACCORD PUDUCHERRY
5 Star
Puducherry, India
 6593
Details

Hotel Atithi
3 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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Palais de Mahe
4 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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MASS HOTEL
3 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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GINGER PONDICHERRY
3 Star
Puducherry, India
 2281
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HOTEL ANNAMALAI I...
3 Star
Puducherry, India
Price on Request
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ANANDAHA INN
3 Star
Puducherry, India
 1882
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LE DUPLEIX
3 Star
Puducherry, India
 5518
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PONDICHERRY ASHOK...
3 Star
Puducherry, India
 2827
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