Puducherry, better known as Pondicherry, is popular throughout the country as a French town on the Coromandel Coast. This part of India displays a fascinating mix of the French and Indian cultures, and it is this unique quality of the city that draws millions of tourists to Puducherry. The colonial charm and laid-back vibes of the place are perfect if you are planning a seaside vacation. Pondicherry’s sunny beaches, beautiful promenades, cobble-stoned streets, classic mustard-yellow heritage buildings, colonial churches, French bakeries, cozy cafes, chic bohemian boutiques, ancient temples, and spiritual centers are ever-ready to impress you. What’s the wait for? Lay your hands on the best flight deals available at Indian Eagle and fly down South. Read through our list of the seven best tourist places to visit in Pondicherry.
1. Paradise Beach
Also known as Plage Paradiso, Paradise Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Pondicherry. A beautiful isolated beach, it can be reached through a ferry ride from Chunnambar. This half-hour ride along the stunning backwaters surrounded by thick mangrove forests is extremely scenic and refreshing. This palm-lined beach is known for its golden sands, clear blue waters, and cool breezes. Swimming is not advisable as the water currents are high, but you can enjoy a variety of activities like sunbathing, fishing, beach volleyball, and more. You will also find many small shops near the beach selling water sports equipment, beach umbrellas, nets, and fishing rods.
2. Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo, this ashram is an important place to visit in Pondicherry for spiritually inclined people. Set in a serene place away from the bustle of the city, Sri Aurobindo Ashram aims to guide spiritual seekers to attain inner peace. The ashram hosts a variety of activities such as yoga, meditation, sports, sessions on spirituality, etc. Besides the guesthouses, there is also a library, a spiritual center, a playground, and an art gallery in the ashram. It is where you can find the samadhis of Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother) under a frangipani tree at the ashram’s courtyard.
Arikamedu is famous for its excavated sites that grab the attention of history buffs. A half an hour drive from Pondicherry gets you to this ancient Roman trade center. The archaeological excavations conducted at this site provided invaluable evidence related to the early Indo-Roman trade links during the reign of Augustus Caesar. Nothing was previously known about India’s ties with the Roman Empire prior to these excavations. So, this archaeological site that first shed light on Indo-Roman trade ties has gained much prominence since then.
4. Serenity Beach
Very popular among surfers, Serenity Beach is one of the famous tourist places to visit in Pondicherry located at a distance of 10 km from the town. This beach offers a variety of water sports, from boating, kayaking, and canoeing to surfing. Serene Beach is also popular for its surfing schools that offer surfing classes for beginners as well. If you are not much into water sports, you can simply enjoy the immense natural beauty and serene ambiance of the beach. The melodious music of the waves lapping on the shore is quite relaxing!
5. White Town
Replete with mustard-yellow mansions, colonial villas, heritage hotels, restaurants, quirky cafes, elegant boutiques, art galleries, antique furniture shops, and lush boulevards, White Town puts on display the impressive colonial culture of Pondicherry. An evening stroll along the tree-lined pathways admiring the French architecture of this ‘French Colony of Pondicherry’ is a classic thing to do here. The chic French cafes in this neighborhood are quite popular for the French delicacies they serve. Love branded clothes? The high-end boutiques of French Quarters are perfect shopping destinations for people like you!
6. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. As a popular pilgrim place to visit in Pondicherry, this temple attracts thousands of devotees every year. Built in a beautiful South Indian style of temple architecture, Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple has carvings of different forms of Gods as well as scenes from Hindu mythologies on its walls. A gold-plated kodi kambam, golden vimana, and the ornate golden chariot (made of teak wood and gold) on which the idol of Lord Ganesha rests are some of the architectural highlights of this beautiful temple in Pondicherry.
7. Ousteri Wetland and National Park
Sprawled across an area of 390 hectares, this wetland is formed of an artificial fresh-water lake called Ousteri Lake or Osudu Lake. Ousteri Wetland, which is home to diverse species of aqua-fauna and avifauna, is one of Asia’s important wetlands. The national park also features distinct varieties of plants and trees. Boating at sunset and bird-watching are the most popular activities to do at Ousteri Lake. More than 40 species of migratory birds, including Openbill Stork, Golden Oriole, and Painted Stork, migrate to this place rich in biodiversity.