Places to Visit in Pondicherry

  • Post last modified:12 April 2022
  • Reading time:21 mins read

Pondicherry, now known as Puducherry is and has always been one of the favourite places to visit in Tamil Nadu. Sharing the border with Tamil Nadu has a massive influence on this city in terms of culture and the influx of tourists. Pondicherry boasts a rich historic value and was home to the French East India Company. The city is known for its colonial buildings, shrines and statues.

From beautiful monuments to serene beaches, there are a lot of places to visit in Pondicherry. Visit this city to witness a perfect amalgamation of French and Indian culture that reflects in its architecture and food. Pondicherry is the most populated city of the Pondicherry Union Territory. It is a destination that one can easily explore by themselves.

All you need is your backpack full of essentials and a free mind to grasp the positive vibes around. With an array of places to choose from, seek help in this article where we bring you the best places to see in Pondicherry.


10 Places to Visit in Pondicherry

  1. Paradise Beach
  2. Aurobindo Ashram
  3. Auroville
  4. Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
  5. Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple
  6. Seaside Promenade
  7. Serenity Beach
  8. Chunnambar Boat House
  9. Arikamedu
  10. Pondicherry Botanical Garden

Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach Pondicherry
Paradise Beach Pondicherry

Walk right into the lap of serenity by visiting Paradise Beach. Staying true to its name, Paradise Beach provides its visitors with a heavenly feeling. However, to access this beach, one needs to get a boat ride from Pondicherry town. Indulge yourself in a short yet peaceful trip amidst mangroves and calming backwaters. It is one of the best places to visit in Pondicherry with family.

The strong currents of the sea urge the visitors to enjoy the majestic water body from a distance. Nevertheless, dip your feet in the soft sand around here while enjoying sunset to make the most of your evening. Travellers can also choose one of the many shacks at the beach for a quick refreshment or a fresh sip of coconut water. Paradise Beach is also a haven for shutterbugs.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Major Attractions: Sunset/Sunrise view, Rocky Beach

Ideal duration to explore: 2 hours

Things to do: Bird Watching

Aurobindo Ashram

Aurobindo Ashram
Aurobindo Ashram

Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, a politician turned spiritual leader, established the Aurobindo Ashram in 1926. Today, the Ashram is one of the most famous places in Pondicherry. Tourists from all over flock to this place to learn and achieve spiritual knowledge. Sri Aurobindo set up this ashram for the very purpose of helping people find their inner peace.

Aurobindo Ashram is one of its kind and is considered one of the wealthiest ashrams in the world. The Ashram comprises a block of houses and a library. Tourists also visit the samadhis of Shri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa, referred to as the Mother. Mirra Alfassa took care of the Ashram after Shri Aurobindo passed away. As of today, this massive Ashram is spread throughout 400 buildings and is worth your visit.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 04:30 AM to 11:00 PM

Major Attractions: Samadhis of Shri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa

Ideal duration to explore: 1-2 hours

Things to do: Meditation, Learn about spirituality

Auroville

Auroville
Auroville

Dubbed ‘The City of Dawn’, Auroville is an experimental township located about 15 kilometres from the city of Pondicherry. Founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, a disciple of Aurobindo, Auroville is a part of every travellers’ list of must-visit places in Pondicherry. Auroville is a world on its own where people from various countries, castes and cultures live together in peace. Auroville houses about 2800 people from over 195 nations (that’s pretty much the whole world) as of now.

Visit Auroville to indulge yourself in moments of tranquillity. From meditation to yoga, one can find various activities to find mental peace while here. The major attraction within the township is the Matrimandir. The aesthetically appealing golden sphere is called “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection.” It is mandatory to maintain silence in and around Matrimandir.

Best Time To Visit: November to March

Major Attractions: Matrimandir,

Ideal duration to explore: 1-2 days

Things to do: Indulge with people from all over the world, enter and learn more about the world of spirituality and inner peace

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A visit to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is certain to end your search for a holy place when in Pondicherry. Set up by French Missionaries in 1908, the shrine received the status of Basilica (higher authority of the church) in 2011. Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the 21 Basilicas in India and the only one in Pondicherry. Reflecting Gothic architecture in every way, this Basilica must be included in your places to visit in Pondicherry.

Upon entering the shrine, one can come across meticulously carved biblical words in Latin. On the stained glass panels of this century-old Basilica, one can find the paintings of the lives of Christ along with the saints of the Catholic Church. If your travel is pre-planned, then make sure you match your schedule with New Year, Christmas or Easter eves. These occasions are celebrated lavishly by the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM, Sunday from 08:00 AM to 06:30 PM

Major Attractions: Paintings of the lives of Christ along with the saints of the Catholic Church

Ideal duration to explore: 1 hour

Things to do: Celebrate New Year, Christmas and Easter fests

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple is a shrine that has stood the test of time. This five century-old temple is dedicated to the elephant god Ganesha. The major attraction within the temple is a majestic idol of Vinayaka called Vellakkaran Pillai. Vinayak Chaturthi and Brahmotsavam are celebrated with ardour over here. Devotees visit in large numbers particularly during the 18th day of Brahmotsavam.

If you are an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha then Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple has to be one of the destinations in Pondicherry that must be visited by you. No famous religious sanctum in the world goes without a legend and Manakula Vinayagar Temple is no different.

As per renowned folklore, a French traveller tried to remove the Ganesha idol from the temple. However, each time the idol was removed, it reappeared. Giving in to the power of the lord, the Frenchman turned a dedicated devotee of Ganesha.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 05:45 AM to 12:30 PM; Monday to Sunday from 04:00 PM to 09:30 PM

Major Attractions: Vellakkaran Pillai

Idol Ideal duration to explore: 1 hour

Things to do: Vinayak Chaturthi and Brahmotsavam celebrations

Seaside Promenade

Seaside Promenade Pondicherry
Seaside Promenade Pondicherry

A lazy stroll around the Seaside Promenade might be just the break that you need away from the busy life you have been living. Enjoy the grandeur of French-colonial architecture on one side and the beautiful horizon on the other. The calming decibels of water splashing against the rocks is second to none. Seaside Promenade is one of the best places to visit in Pondicherry for couples.

Seaside Promenade is very well maintained and is home to numerous cafes. This location is also close to many popular attractions. Make sure you visit the Gandhi statue, the war memorial and the town hall nearby. Whether you choose to enjoy a sunrise, sunset, or a starry night, Seaside Promenade is just the right place for you. Top your trip to this destination by grabbing a nice meal from one of the restaurants lined up along the promenade.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday around the clock

Major Attractions: Gandhi Statue, War Memorial, Town Hall

Ideal duration to explore: 1-2 hours

Things to do: Evening walk, photography, street-food

Serenity Beach

Serenity Beach Pondicherry
Serenity Beach Pondicherry

Surrounded by tall palm trees stands the pride of Pondicherry coastal town, the Serenity Beach. Staying true to its name, Serenity Beach is where visitors come to revel in peace. Despite its popularity, the Beach is not overcrowded and thus is amongst the beautiful places in Pondicherry. Serenity Beach is visited mostly by couples and families.

The expansive beach has portions of sandy and rocky areas. Do not forget to get an extra pair of lenses to capture the beautiful sun rising from the majestic Bay of Bengal. Surfing is a major attraction around here. Visitors also happen to take a look into the fishing boats anchored by the shore when in Serenity Beach.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday around the clock

Major Attractions: Sunset point, Fishing boats

Ideal duration to explore: 1-2 hours

Things to do: Photography, evening walk

Chunnambar Boat House

Chunnambar Boat House
Chunnambar Boat House

Do not mistake Chunnambar Boat House for one of those boathouses found in the backwaters of Kerala. Nestled 8 kilometres from Pondicherry, Chunnambar Boat House facilitates the tourists to take a thrilling boat ride downstream. Situated in the Pondy-Cuddalore Road, Chunnambar Boat House is easily accessible.

It is one of the perfect places to visit in Pondicherry in the morning. Indulge yourself in making the most of the water sports on the beach while being sun kissed. Or go for night camping downstream in one of the boats. Chunnambar Boat House is a haven for group vacationers. It is also one of the most famous summer destinations in Pondicherry.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Major Attractions: Boating, Night Camping

Ideal duration to explore: 2-3 hours

Things to do: Beach Sports

Arikamedu

Arikamedu Pondicherry
Arikamedu Pondicherry

Arikamedu stands as a sign of one of the first known human civilisations in the world. Travel down the road for about 7 kilometres towards the south of Pondicherry to visit one of the ancient archaeological sites in the world. The abandoned city of Arikamedu dates back to the 1st century BC and was a trade hub for Indo-Roman traders. Arikamedu is a popular tourist place in Pondicherry among history lovers.

This heritage site is rich with relics of walls, columns and mortars that have seen the world evolve for thousands of years. Use your imagination to picturise yourself back to the time when this place took its birth. The atmosphere here smells of early urban settlement. The shabby 18th century French Jesuit Mission building is one of the major attractions at this location. The ruins represent the rich economic relationship between the east and the west.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 04:00 PM

Major Attractions: 18th century French Jesuit Mission building

Ideal duration to explore: 2-3 hours

Things to do: Check out ancient relics, learn more about Indo-Roman trade relations

Pondicherry Botanical Garden

Pondicherry Botanical Garden
Pondicherry Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden in Pondicherry is a location in the city that is pleasing to the eyes. Situated in the heart of the city, the Botanical Garden is one of the popular places in Pondicherry. The garden sprawls over 22 acres of land and was established in 1826. Influenced massively by French culture, the beautifully organised garden is home to over 1500 species of trees.

Breathe in fresh oxygen while enjoying a beautiful view of the neatly arranged flower beds while here. The gravel lined route is just perfect for an evening stroll around the garden. The Botanical Garden in Pondicherry has placards with information about every tree and is visited mostly for educational purposes.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Major Attractions: Wide variety of trees

Ideal duration to explore: 1-2 hours Things to do: Learn about trees in depth

In conclusion, Pondicherry is a striking city with an array of French-Indo culture that caters to every traveller’s desires. A well-planned trip to this Union Territory can help you make the most of your vacation. Visitors from around the world visit Pondicherry for leisure and knowledge.

Pondicherry, one of the tourist hotspots in South India, must be visited at least once in a lifetime. One can refresh themselves by simply taking a walk around one of the beaches. Or update their knowledge by learning about the city’s influential history. Pondicherry is a place for all.


FAQ

Are 2 days enough for Pondicherry?

One can easily cover all major tourist attractions in Pondicherry within a day or two. However, if you are a fan of making the most of your trip by exploring leisurely then you should consider more than 2 days.

Which is the best time to visit Pondicherry?

Pondicherry is a year-round destination. But the period between October to March is considered the best time to visit. The soothing climate during this period is just perfect to roam around the city.

Is Pondicherry expensive to visit?

Pondicherry is a tourist place that can’t be too harsh on one’s pocket. Though not the cheapest, expect mid-range expenses while you consider visiting Pondicherry. However, the same also depends on the nature of your trip.

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