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Pondicherry Travel Guide

Pondicherry is one of the eight Union Territories in the Indian Republic. A quite little town situated in the Southern Coast of the Indian sub-continent, stands witness to the French settlement. The serenity and calmness of the Pondicherry beaches, the spiritual mood of the Aurbindo Ashram, the fun and liveliness of the local fairs and festivals, all make Pondicherry sightseeing, most sought after weekend getaway from two metro cities – Chennai and Bangalore. The boulevards lines with trees, colonial buildings, virgin beaches and restaurants serving a wide variety of cuisines – this is the short description of the wonderful Pondicherry attractions. The town is known for its French culture and Pondicherry tourism is never complete without a visit to the French monuments and buildings. Pondicherry is the most opted getaway from both Bangalore and Chennai, both of which are three hours away. Pondicherry attractions include destinations like Auroville, Aurbindo Ashram, the French heritage monuments, the various art galleries, the botanical garden and the exotic beaches. Pondicherry tourism also includes visits to places of worship like Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple and the Kanniga Parameswari Temple, Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Meeran Mosque and Kuthba Mosque. The diversity of these places of worship makes Pondicherry a classic example of religious tolerance in India. Pondicherry Travel Guide: Places to visit Arekamedu: The earliest Indo-Roman trading center, this town is a major part of Pondicherry tourism. Mailam Murugan Temple, Mandagupattu, Ousteri Lake and Tiruvakkarai are some of the places of tourist interest in Arekamedu. Auroville: The most important of the Pondicherry attractions, Auroville or the City of Dawn is a modern concept in education and urban living. This is an experimental township where men and women of all countries and creed live in progressive harmony. The lotus shaped urn placed at the entrance of Auroville contains soil from 124 countries which was resurrected to signify the universal oneness during the inaugural ceremony. The Peace area in Auroville contains Matrimandir with 12 gardens, the Amphitheatre and the Banyan tree – signifying three varied characteristics. Botanical Gardens: Created in 1826, the botanical gardens are one of the prime Pondicherry attractions with a collection of 1500 species. Anglo-French Textile Mills: The textile mills are in existence for over a century now. The world class fabrics made in the Anglo-French Textile Mills are also one of the most gifted items from Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo Ashram: Another important place in Pondicherry sightseeing, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is now a famed place for practice of Internal Yoga. Development of art, culture and agriculture are the primary activities in the Ashram. Pondicherry Beach: Pondicherry sightseeing is incomplete without a visit to the famed virgin beaches. The four famous Pondicherry beaches include Paradise beach, Auroville beach, Promenade beach and Serenity beach. Promenade beach is by far the most famous one and has several landmarks such as War Memorial, the Heritage Town hall, the Statue of Joan of Arc, Joseph François Dupleix statue and the Old Light House. Paradise beach can be accessed only by a boat and the beauty of this place is doubled by the calm flowing creek on one side. Auroville beach is famous with swimmers, particular the amateurs because of its small waves and shallow waters. Historical Places: Le Café, French Consulate General, the Romain Rolland Library, Alliance Francaise are some of the heritage sites in Pondicherry while French Institute of the Far East and Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education are the other famous educational and research institutions. Pondicherry Travel Guide: Shopping The most exciting of the Pondicherry attractions include shopping because of the region’s duty free status. The khadi as well as other fabrics such as poplin, corduroy, cambric and satin are available at attractive prices. Artistic ceramic products, high-quality leather products and designer apparels are also famous with shoppers in Pondicherry. Pondicherry Travel Guide: Accommodation Being a beach town, there are many beach resorts in Pondicherry. These resorts offer the best of the worlds with comfortable stay and other value-added services like spa and Ayurvedic treatments, make Pondicherry tourism attractive for both Indian and international tourists. The Dune Eco Beach Village, Nalla Eco Beach Resort, the Oasis, Ocean Spray resort, the Mango Hill, the Neem Tree and the Kailash Beach Resort are amongst the most famous resorts. Given the kind of facilities and services offered, the resorts charges are the higher end, though there are budget as well as other economical accommodation options in Pondicherry. Pondicherry Travel Information: How to Reach Chennai is the closest airport to Pondicherry, which is around 135 kms away. Trichy (220 kms) and Bangalore (320 kms) are other nearby airports. The nearest railhead is Villupuram, which has trains plying from Chennai, Madurai and Trichy. Pondicherry is well-connected by buses from Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Trichy and Chidambaram. Pondicherry Travel Information: Best Time to Visit Pondicherry tourism is best explored during the months of December to February, when the weather is pleasant and the climate is blissful. The summers are extremely hot and humid with temperatures as high as 400C. Monsoons could be messier with quick tempered storms filling the streets for a day or two making road transport irritating. Best time to visit Pondicherry The best time to visit Pondicherry is between the months of October to March. How to Reach Pondicherry By Air: The nearest airport is at Chennai, which is served by all major domestic as well as international airlines. Pondicherry is 150 Kms from Chennai.. By Road: A good network of roads, national, and state highways connect Pondicherry with major cities in Tamilnadu. There are direct buses available from Pondicherry to all-important cities of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.. By Rail: The closest railway station is at Villupuram (36kms), which is linked to Chennai, Madurai, and Trivandrum.

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