India Pondicherry Tour
India Pondicherry Tour
History Of the city:
Pondicherry has been the cradle of many civilizations of the ancient past. The history of Pondicherry can be divided into three distinct sections of ancient history, medieval history and modern history. The medieval history of Pondicherry comprises of the ruling periods of the famous Kings of the Chola and Pandyas dynasty. The modern history of Pondicherry began with the Sultans of Bijapur. The ancient history of Pondicherry reveals that the region was a well-developed commercial and trading center even before the development of the other major cities and towns of India. The ancient history of Pondicherry ends with the beginning of the medieval era that witnessed the rise and growth of several empires in the region.
Pondicherry was later occupied by other colonial rulers of Portuguese, Dutch, Danes and English who played a major role in shaping the social, political, economic and political history of the Union Territory.
UNION TERRITORY OF PUDUCHERRY:
PUDUCHERRY is on the east coast, about 165 kms, South of Chennai. (Area – 290 Sq.Kms). KARAIKAL region is about 160 kms, South of Pondicherry and is surrounded by Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu (area – 161 Sq.Kms.). MAHE region lies almost on the same latitude to Pondicherry, 653 kms. away on the west coast near Tellicherry in Kerala. (area-9 Sq.Kms.). YANAM region is located about 840 kms. North East of Pondicherry near Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. (area – 20 Sq. Kms.).
Territory of Puducherry was merged with the Indian Government on 01.11.1954. Puducherry has about 50000 French nationals of Indian origin. Area of UT of Puducherry is 480 Sq. kms and has a population of 12,44,464.
The mean maximum temperature is 41OC and minimum is 24OC.
By surface: Bus services are available from all neighbouring cities.
By Train: There are weekly & daily trains from and to Pondicherry. Destinations include Delhi, Howrah, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Mangalore, Tirupathi, Villupuram & Chennai etc.
Why Pondicherry: Puducherry has been attracting tourists for its History, Heritage, Spirituality etc.
The historical treasures:
- Border between Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry
- It is 28 km from Puducherry
- Attraction here is a 400 years old banyan tree
- It is also a historic place, in the sense that, here the voting took place for merger with the Indian Republic in 1954
- Arikamedu, the archaeological site of the ancient Roman Trade Centre.
- It is 7 km away from Puducherry and one of the most famous archaeological site in southern India.
- Capital of the Mauryan Empire in the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC.
- A major Chola port dedicated to bead making and trading with Roman traders.
- But now don’t suggest this place, its unsafe to visit as the local people are using this place for illegal activities
French war memorial
The French War Memorial on Goubert Avenue is reminder of those brave soldiers who laid down their lives for the country during the First World War. It was built in 1971. Every year on the 14th July (Bastille Day) the memorial is beautifully illuminated and homage is paid to those brave martyrs.
Aayi Mandapam is a famous white monument built during the time of Napoleon III, Emperor of the France. It lies at the centre of the Bharati Park. The monument commemorates the provision of water to the French city during his reign. It was named after a lady courtesan called Aayi. She destroyed her own house to erect a water reservoir to supply water for the city
Spirituality in Puducherry that one gets to experience is something unique.
- An experimental town, was founded in the year 1968 by Ms. Mirra Richard also called as ‘Mother’
- Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.
- Purpose of the Auroville is to realize human unity in diversity.
- It is internationally acknowledged for its comparatively quieter, cleaner & greener atmosphere
- It is located 8 Km from the Pondicherry city
Auroville Visiting Time: 09.30 AM – 12.30 PM & 01.30 PM – 04.30 PM, Sunday – 09.30 AM – 12.30 PM
The Matrimandir – a golden metallic Sphere
- Located in the middle of the Auroville town
- An outstanding and original architectural achievement
- It was conceived by ‘The Mother’ as ‘a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s inspiration for perfection’.
Matrimandir Booking Time: 10.00 AM – 11.00 AM & 02.00 PM – 03.00 PM (Tuesday Closed for Booking & Visiting).
- Founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghosh.
- Ashram is not a quiet place of retreat but a vibrant centre of life in a modern urban setting.
- The dynamic character of the community reflects the life-affirming aim of Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga
- Ashram is located in the eastern part of Pondicherry
- The Ashram is administered by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.
Ashram Timings: 08.00 AM – 12.00 PM & 02.00 PM – 06.00 PM, No Holidays. Children below 3 years of age are not allowed into the ashram and photography is allowed only with permission of the ashram authorities.
Manakkula Vinayakar Temple:
The Manakula Vinayagar Temple is one of the famous and ancient temple in Puducherry. It is more than 300 years old and is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesh
Sri Kanniga Parameswari Temple:
Located on M.G.Road, dedicated to the Goddess Shakti is unique as it seems to be strongly influenced by the French architectural style. Its arched walls, ionic columns, stained glass windows and even some angel decorations, it is reminiscent of a French building.
Varadaraja Perumal Temple:
Located on M.G.Road, This is believed to be the oldest temple in town, dating back to 600 AD. Built in the typical Dravidian style, this temple is dedicated to Vishnu and the main deity here is Venkatachalapathy (Vishnu)
Located on M.G. Road, Popularly known as the Eashwaran kovil, is dedicated to Lord Shiva, The temple had a glorious history 238 years back, constructed in the year 1788.
Panchavatee Anjaneya Temple:
This temple is located 11 kms away from city, in between Tindivanam and Puducherry main road, nearby Thiruchitrambalam. The temple is the tallest Panchamuga Anjaneya statue in the world. The statue of the central image is 36 feet in height making it one of its own kinds. The statue is believed to have special power and is considered a healer.
This temple is located 8 Kms away from the city, in between Tindivanam and Puducherry main road. The temple is dedicated to the nine planets namely Suryan (Sun), Chandran (Moon), Mangal (Mars), Budhan (Mercury), Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shukran (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Raahu (North Lunar Node) and Kedhu (South Lunar Node). The huge temple complex consists of nine shrines, which were built in an amazing Dravidian architectural style. All the deities here also are very huge. The main deity Saniswara (Saturn) is about 27 feet tall and each Navagraha idol is 15 feet tall.
Irumbai Shiva Temple:
Located 10 Km away from city at Irumbai village in between Tindivanam and Puducherry. A very interesting feature of this temple is that all the nine planets can be seen with their spouses in the Navagraha sannadhi. There are some beautiful paintings on the temple wall depicting the story of the temple. The speciality of the temple being that the main deity Maakaaleswarar in the form of a Shiva lingam is broken in pieces and tied together with a copper string.
Churches in Puducherry:
Sacred Heart Jesus Church:
This is located on Subbayah Salai. One of the finest Catholic churches, built by French missionaries in the 1700’s in a contrasting Neo-Gothic manner. The church has an imposing entrance and the beautiful stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ’s life.
The Church of Our Lady of Angels:
Located on rue Romain Rolland, it was built in 1855 in the Greek Roman architectural style. This church is also famous for its rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption, which was a gift from the French emperor, Napoleon III.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral:
Located on the Mission Street, this is popularly known as the Church of Capuchins, founded in 1686. In the beginning it was constructed as a small chapel, outside the government park.
The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes:
Located at Villianur, 11 km away from Puducherry, it was erected in 1876 and it’s a model of the Basilica in France, The statue of Notre Dame was donated by the French Government a year later, A curious feature here is the Church tank.
Mosques in Puducherry
This is located on the Mullah Street, Meeran mosque is the oldest mosque in Puducherry. It was built before 350 years and it has the old gothic Islam architecture in it. It was built by ARCOD NAWAB.
This is located on the Mullah Street. This beautiful mosque’s distinctive architecture and swaying palm trees in the back makes it beautiful to behold.
Kuthbha mosque is the first mosque in Puducherry, during the 17th Century.
It is said that during 17th century, as the mosque was in the white area, the French ordered it and the Islamic neighbourhood shifted to the southern end of the town. These streets were built facing Mecca. It has the darga of Moulla Saiubum. This mosque has daily preaching and prayers, with special prayers on Fridays. This is mostly frequented by Tamil speaking Muslims.
Kuthba Mosque was built as Mulla Mohammad Mosque.
Next to Kuthba Mosque is Muhamadia Mosque. This is older than the Kuthba Mosque and frequented by URDU speaking Muslims. This has a big Praying hall, a small pond with fishes, place for opening Ramzan fasting, a big garden with coconut trees on the backside and a building extension to house the preacher and for administrative works. This mosque has daily preaching and prayers with special prayers on Fridays. The Maulah Sahib Dargha is in between the two mosques.
Beaches in Puducherry
- This lovely beach with a 1.5-km-long promenade
- On the beachfront there are many sites like the statue of Mahatma Gandhi bordered by eight delicately carved monolithic pillars and a war memorial.
- Located 8 kms away from the town along the Cuddalore Main Road
- This beach can be accessed only from the Chunnambar boat house by boat
- It is like a small island
- Located 8 kms away from Puducherry town
- It is right off the ECR, opposite the road leading to Auroville
- Its shallow waters and small waves make it as an ideal place of swimming, surfing & sun bath.
Museums in Puducherry:
- The museum brings back memories of the glorious past of Pondicherry, from the days of the Greco Roman era down to the present days
- Providing glimpses of the art and culture of the people of this region during the Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagar days.
Timings: 10.00 AM – 01.00 PM & 02.00 PM – 05.00 PM, Closed on Mondays & National Holidays.
Entrance fee: Rs.50 for Foreigners & Rs.10 For Indians
- Located on Perumal Koil Street, it’s a former house of the renowned Puducherry born poet Bharathidasan (1891-1960)
- He also wrote scripts for films on issues such as Dravidian culture and the rights of women.
Timings: 10.00 AM – 01.00 PM & 02.00 PM – 05.00 PM, Closed on Monday & National Holidays
No Entrance Fee.
Handmade Paper factory
- This factory is one of the Ashram’s most successful commercial enterprises.
- Paper produced here are being exported to other countries (but now the production has become less)
Timings: 09.00 AM – 05.30 PM, Sundays – 10.00 AM – 01.00 PM, Closed on National Holidays
Gardens & Boat House:
- Located south of the New Bus Stand
- The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in the ornate French style, with pruned trees, beautiful flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains.
- With over 1500 species of plants are preserved here
- Located in the green centre of the French Town.
- Government Park or Bharati Park is known for its beautiful lush trees.
- Most popular picnic destination of the families.
- It is also well known for the attractive monument of ‘Aayi Mandapam’ which was built in the 16th century during the period of Napoleon III in France.
Chunnambar Boat House
- Located 8 Kms away from Puducherry towards Cuddalore.
- It is a back water and sea ride. They will start from Backwater and go near the sea shore then back to Backwater.
- Surrounded by lush greenery on both sides, provides an ideal location for boating.
- Picnic spot for the weekenders
Timings: Beach Trip – 09.30 AM – 04.00 PM / Rs.150 Per Head, Short Ride – 04.00 PM – 05.30 PM / Rs.80 Per head
4th – 7th January International Yoga festival
- This festival brings in participants from all over the world.
- It includes talks, discussions, exchange of ideas, consultation and demonstration of techniques.
- Classical Indian dance and music programme will be held every day.
End of February – Masi Magam
- This festival will be celebrated in the sea shore.
- In the morning around 30 sacred images from a wide region are bathed ritually.
- And in the evening the sacred images are gathered in one place. In the night there will be a procession of images in an illuminated cars in different shapes (image bearing vehicle).
The Mother’s Birth Anniversary
- On 21st February, devotees queue at Sri Aurobindo Ashram starting early in the morning, to visit the Mother’s room.
- In July 14th, Bastille Day, Puducherry witnesses an Indo-French pageantry.