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French Heritage 
Travel Essential
Pondicherry Airport
State Union Territory
City Pondicherry
Airport-Nearest airport    at Chennai 
Distance from Airport 47 Km/27 Mile
Railway Junctions Viluppuram
Local Languages Tamil
Pondicherry  Sightseeing

Although there are many places of interest, the following are the most notable :

Shri Aurobindo Ashram:Shri Aurobindo, the great seer, poet and prophet of the twentieth century, made Pondicherry his home from 1910 till his death in 1950. His vision and ideals continue to draw people from all over the world.

Auroville:Located 10 kms north of Pondicherry town, Auroville is envisioned as a Universal Town, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs, can live in peace and harmony. The construction of this 'universal town' was started in 1968 under the guidance of The Mother, a Paris-born painter musician who became Sri Aurobindo's disciple and close companion from 1924 till his death in 1950. The development of this utopia is still in progress. Several countries have offered to set up permanent pavilions, reflecting the culture and ethos of their countries.

Pondicherry Museum:On display are the findings of Arikamedu, the Chola bronzes and sculptures, glimpses of French heritage, specimens of modern and traditional handicraft, paintings, armouries, carvings and many other things of historical interest.

Chunnambar Resort - Water Sports Centre:Known for its virgin beaches and backwaters, Chunnambar has a Water Sports Centre which offers exciting boating experiences. It is also a great tourist spot.

Botanical Garden:Established by C.S. Perrotet in 1826, it preserves a large variety of exotic species of plants from all over India and abroad.

Villiayanur:Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswarar Temple, architecturally the finest in Pondicherry, is located 9.5 kms away. During May-June, a ten-day annual festival (Brahmothsavam) is held here which attracts hundreds of devotees. The temple car rising to a height of 15.25 metres is profusely decorated, pulled out from its usual position and taken on a procession around the town. It is an awe-inspiring sight.

Mansion of Ananda Rangapillai:Built in 1773, this mansion is a fine specimen of Indo-French architecture. Ananda Rangapillai was the courtier of Joseph Francois Dupleix, the Governor. The diary which Rangapillai maintained between 1736-60 is a book of great value as a source of information on the history of Pondicherry and the French in India.

Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus:Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this church is noted for its gothic architecture and stained glass panels which depict the entire life of Jesus Christ.

Anglo-French Textile Mills:Established over a century ago, a visit to the Anglo-French Textile Mills is an education in itself. The mill gives a ten percent rebate on purchases made by tourists who go on guided tours. The acclaimed fabrics and products of this mill make ideal mementoes and gifts.

The Pondicherry Museum has whole suites furnished in the French style in fashion, at the time of occupation. Marble sculptures include the Cupid and Psyche, Venus and Spring pieces. The Arms Gallery is yet another fascinating feature of this museum.  The Art Gallery contains invaluable archaeological finds pertaining to Roman, French and Hindu cultures. The Romain Rolland Library has over 60,000 volumes, including rare French books. The Manakula Vinaynagar Temple on Rue d'Orleans, the 12th century Sri Tirukameswarar Temple at Vilayanur and the 7th century Thiruvandar Temple are shrines built in the Chola period, in the 10th-12th centuries. The Sacred Heart Church, the Eglise de Notre Dame de Anges and the Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes are the other interesting historical sites.

Pondicherry is oval-shaped, with streets aligned at right angles. The skillfully planned township is distinguished by a 3 km long esplanade which skirts the town and encloses the tourist attractions.The Government Park is well-planned with flower beds and fountains, one of them dating back to the period of Napoleon III (1852-1870).  Raj Niwas, where Dupleix once lived, (now, the residence of an Indian Lt. Governor) has a garden with a sculpture of Lord Vishnu as the 'varaha avatar' (boar incarnation) together with the earth goddess Lakshmi. The Botanical Gardens, conceived in 1826, boast a variety of rare and exotic plants from India and abroad, and the Sama Koil church, once a temple of Shiva is impressive with a grotto of Mother Mary. The beautiful un-spoilt beach, the aquarium, Poet Bharathi and Bharatidasan memorial museums, First World War Memorial, Ousteri lake and Joan of Arc Square are the other spots of tourist interest.

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