"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf" ~ Tagore



Situated on Coromandel Coast, about 160 kms. South of Madras, lies the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The French ruled this territory for 300 years and today it stands as a living monument of the French Culture in India.

Being a small, calm and quiet enclave off Tamil Nadu, it has imbibed the Tamilian culture and language.

What has brought international reputation to this coastal town is the Aurobindo Ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo in the year 1926. After Aurobindo's death, the Ashram came under the spiritual control of a French lady known as the "Mother", who died in 1973. Visitors throng to pay homage to the samadhis (final resting places) of these two spiritual companions at the Ashram premises. Aurobindo Ashram attracts hundreds of devotees - not only Indians, but also foreigners, because the doctrines taught there are based on a fusion of modern science and yoga.

Islands in the Sun


Scuba Diving

10 kms. away from the Aurobindo Ashram. Also known as the "City of Dawn" it is an experiment on international living in peace and harmony rising above all barriers of caste, creed and nationality.

The Ashram Beach office and Auroville authorities have put up photographic exhibition of their various activities. Tourists can also avail of the various booklets, journals pamphlets published here.

The manufacture of perfumes based on French technology is a lucrative business in Pondicherry.


Other Places of tourist interest in Pondicherry are:

The Raj Nivas
It is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry.

The Government Palace
It is located opposite the Raj Nivas and has well laid out lawns, flower beds and fountains.

The Botanical Garden
This garden is located at the junction of West Boulevard and Lal Bahadur Street and boasts of an acquarium with a large variety of fish.


The French Institute
This institute was founded in 1956 and financed by the French Government. It is rendering yeomen service in the field of religion, language, philosophy, history, art and archaeology. This institute has publications of translations of French scholars.

Romain Rolland Library and Museum
One of the oldest public libraries in India, it has a vast collection of French books and manuscripts. The museum attached to this library houses numerous articles of archaeological importance.

Ananda Ashram
This ashram situated at about 5 kms west of Pondicherry is said to be the ancient land of sage Agastya. Training in yoga is imparted here.


Churches of Pondicherry:

The three important churches of Pondicherry are:-

Eglise De Notre Des La Conception
This 18th century church was originally constructed by the Portuguese.

Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges
Roman architecture is predominant in this church. A huge oil portrait presented by Napoleon III, the French Emperor, is the proud exhibit here.

Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus
Built in the Gothic style of architecture, this church is dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus.

Temples of Pondicherry
There are about 350 temples in and around Pondicherry built by the Cholas between the 10th and 12th centuries.

However, the important ancient temples are:-

The temple of Lord Tirukameshwarar at Villianur 8 kms. from Pondicherry, has a 7th century idol.

Vedapurishiswarar Temple
In this temple the symbol of the Lord is believed to be a Swayambu Lingam.

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.