Away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, Puducherry is a quiet little town on the Southern coast of India. The unmistakable French connection, the tree lined boulevards, the quaint colonial heritage buildings, the spiritual sceneries, the endless stretches of unspoilt virgin beaches and backwaters and a surprising choice of restaurants serving a mélange of cuisines provide a heady mix of experience that draws travelers from near and far to the city. It is perfect place to come if you want to take the pace of life down a few notches.

The colonial past of Puducherry is hard to miss even by the casual walker on the promenade beach. There stands the statue of Francois  Dupleix. Not too far away is one of Joan of Arc. It's a trip down France as  one crosses symmetrically aligned streets in Puducherry.

The Portuguese have been here, so have the Dutch, the Danes and the English. By the 18th century, this tiny fishing village had turned  into  a  grand port city. The French first set foot here in 1670 and left a part of them when their undisturbed rule finished in 1954. Not much has changed since. The history has become punctuated.

The air is filled with nostalgia and the present is living up to a heritage that speaks so much. A trip to Puducherry is like a journey in time with a vibrant present celebrating its interesting past; its history goes back  to  before Roman times, but factually started with the arrival of the French in 1673, who founded the town and built it to its present form, during the two and a half century they occupied it.

"Puducherry" is the French interpretation of the original name "Puducheri" meaning "new settlement". Many pilgrims have shared the town's hospitality on their way to the temple town of Rameshwaram, thus enriching its culture.

For detailed information please visit the following link: http://pondytourism.in/history-of-puducherry.php.

Puducherry's Domestic airport is connected to Bengaluru via daily flights - except for Tuesdays and Saturdays. The Air India flight departs Bengaluru at 3:35pm and reaches Pondicherry at 4:35. The return flight departs at 4:55 and reaches at 5:55. This is a 1 hour nonstop flight.

Flights are also available for Hyderabad on daily basis from Puducherry that departs Hyderabad at 9.45 am and from Puducherry at

11.45 am. Travellers can also drive down from the Domestic & International airports in Chennai, Trichy or Bengaluru. Both Chennai (151 kms)  and  Trichy (203 kms) are just few hours by road, while Bangalore (307 kms) is a little longer.

Daily connectivity to Villupuram, Chennai and Tirupathy  are  available. While tri-weekly trains connect Pondicherry to Bangalore and Mumbai, other cities like Kolkatta, Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Mangalore and Kanyakumari are connected by a weekly train.

The best connectivity is definitely by road. Multiple buses ply daily to and fro between Chennai and Bangalore. From hop-on hop-off local buses,   to air-conditioned multi-axle luxury ones, Pondy also offers overnighter luxury buses to Hyderabad (784 kms). Alternatively, one could just book a Taxi or coach for any of the above destinations.

Tourism Department, Puducherry has developed new beaches around Puducherry that includes Pondy Marina, Temple Beach, Eden Beach and Paradise Beach.

Every tourist to Pondy should visit Puducherry Art & Craft Village, a premier platform built to sustain and promote this regions indigenous, traditional and contemporary skill sets. Each piece on display is crafted by local artisans in a plethora of mediums including but not limited to terracotta, wood, paint, ceramic, textile, paper and glass. You can also enjoy majestic boat ride around the unexplored mangrove trails now at  Puducherry in Murungapakkam.

Puducherry Museum is a must visit in Pondicherry that has an  enviable collection of 81 intricately carved bronze sculptures from the Chola empire. Apart from the bronze statues collected from the Chola and Pallava dynasties, the museum also houses artifacts from the archaeological excavations at Arikamedu that takes one on time travel to centuries before.

Puducherry Tourism aims in taking Puducherry from a picnic spot of 2 days to weeklong destination by promoting M.I.C.E Tourism for conferences, events, meetings, weddings  and conferences that can happen  on weekdays. Steps are also being taken to create elite infrastructure to hold such events in Puducherry. This results in multitude of people staying in Puducherry during the weekdays thereby increasing the occupancy of rooms and promotes Puducherry as Weeklong destination.

To know about the wide range of accommodation facility ranging from guest houses, budget hotels to villas and luxury hotels/resorts please visit  the following link: http://pondytourism.in/accomodation.php .

Puducherry offers diverse flavors of cuisines that include Continental/Italian/Chinese etc., from around the world while major restaurants are with lounge/bar. There are  bounteous  spots  for  café/bakery, icecream parlors, fast food centre’s that Puducherry can offer. For more information on please click on the following link: http://pondytourism.in/restaurant.php .

The best time to visit Puducherry is between January to March and August to October.

Puducherry has wide range of clothing shops primarily around J.Nehru Street and electrical/electronic shop in and around Anna Salai. Puducherry also has wide range of boutique, antiques shop, jewelers, departmental stores, florist, pet shops, sports outlets, optical, pharmacy, book shops etc., For more information on the same please visit the following link: http://pondytourism.in/shopping.php .

Pondicherry      has     several     sites     of    religious     and     spiritual      interest. Additionally, visitors interested in religious sites in southern  India  will find Pondicherry to be an ideal base, as the city has excellent road connectivity as well as ample facilities for tourists.

Most of Pondicherry's temples, such as the famous Manukula Vinayagar Temple are built in the traditional Tamil  style,  while  some  such as the Kanniga Parameswari Temple also incorporate elements of colonial influence. The Basilica of  the Sacred Heart of  Jesus, the Eglise   de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels), the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception are some of the prominent churches of the city. Among the city's notable  mosques,  Meeran, Kuthba and Jamia are the names that come forth first.

Many travellers also visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the international township of Auroville. Visits to the Matrimandir in Auroville are possible in accordance with certain conditions.

Pondicherry is a budding destination for corporate and  other  meetings and events. Quality facilities are available at competitive prices, and the options are growing. Many hotels offer venues such as conference halls, boardrooms, lawns and banquet halls, as well as other necessary infrastructure such as wireless internet, audio-visual and video conferencing equipment etc.

Spaces and amenities to organize round-tables and  other conferences are also available at several clubs. For weddings, ceremonies and special parties, one can choose from a range of banquet halls. Sound and light equipment, caterers, decorators, and a variety of performers can be hired for corporate as well as social events. Duty-free alcohol, original wines and an amazing variety of cuisine make for memorable entertaining.

For pre- and post-conference tours, there are opportunities to do everything from heritage walks to shopping to adventure sports. Perhaps this is the reason an increasing number of companies  and  event  organisers are choosing this location to organise marketing conferences, marathons, retirement camps and other events.

Pondicherry offers tourists a host of recreational sports to  partake of. The best known of these is  the Chunnambar Water  Sports Complex.  On offer are pedal boats, kayaks, speed boat rides and the newly  introduced banana rides. It is an ideal destination for all kinds of thrill seekers.

Horse riding is yet another way to  get the  adrenaline flowing for  first timers as well as more committed riders. Very few places in the country offer you the chance to ride a thorough-bred or an Arabian  stallion.

Water babies can also kick back with surfing, body boarding, scuba diving and free diving, at the various beaches adjoining the town. Conditions are ideal for surfers of all skill-levels and the prices are unbeatable. Divers can explore marine life underwater and see stunning corals, fishes and sea plants. Lucky ones may spot turtles and  whale  sharks too.

The city's French quarter as well as Auroville's tree-lined roads and dirt-tracks can be explored on bicycle.  More  serious  cyclists  can  join open groups that go on cycling trips several times a week. Trips may be local, focused on improvised routes, hard exercise or road races.

The same paths are quite suitable for walks and hikes as well, and the Ousteri Wildlife Sanctuary is a particularly rewarding walk for wildlife enthusiasts. Others trails are ideally suited for trekking, and some spots make for excellent overnight camping trips.

Now if you’re ready to take it up a few notches, try rock climbing in the ravines near Auroville or abseiling/rappelling. If you’re not scared of heights try parasailing on the beach close to the new lighthouse.

If you just want to look then try a spectator  sport  Pondicherry-  style. Watch local players demonstrate their skill and concentration at pétanque, at the Joan of Arc statue. Popular in France and Spain, Pondicherry is the only place in India where this game is played.


Starting Point: Ashram Office (beach)

Walk ends at: Ashram Dining Room

Distance covered: 1 Km.

Approximate time taken: 30 to 45 minutes


Aurobindo Ashram has played a significant role in the socio-economic- spiritual fabric of Puducherry since its establishment almost a  century back Therefore it is not surprising that the Ashram and its  various branches together occupy some of the best heritage properties in Puducherry. The Ashram Walk covers the northern section of French Puducherry, taking you through many grand buildings of French lineage, including the Raj Nivas, French Institute. Also included in the walk are some shops that sell products manufactured by the different Ashram ancillaries.


Places Covered

  1. Ashram Office (starting point)
  2. Ashram Library
  3. French Consulate
  4. French Institute
  5. Ashram Playground
  6. Ashram Art House
  7. Le Foyer de Soldat - Legion Hall for soldiers who served  in  French wars.
  8. Ashram and Samadhi
  9. Golconde - Main residential quarters for the Ashramites.
  10. Auroshika (shop)
  11. La Tienda (shop)
  12. Boutique d' Auroville (shop)
  13. Auroshree (shop)
  14. Vak Bookshop (shop)


Starting Point: Puducherry Tourist Information Centre

Walk ends at: Puducherry Tourist Information Centre

Distance: Approx. 2 k.m

Approximate time taken: 1hr to 1.30 hrs


The buildings in French section of Puducherry are an enduring legacy of French history in India. It tells the story of a colonial adventure in a far away land, fighting many odds, overcoming a  new and  difficult terrain and the historic rivalry between the European powers of the  time  including the Danes, the Dutch and the British besides the French.


Places Covered

  1. Department of Tourism - Tourist Information Centre (starting point) Collect Maps and other information from the helpful information counter.
  2. Hotel de Vile - The building housed the town hall during the French administration. It is now the Puducherry Municipal Office.
  3. French War Memorial -
  4. Gandhi Statue - The statue of the most popular Indian leader on the beach front is surrounded by eight carved pillars from the nearby Gingee Fort.
  5. Toy Museum
  6. Old Light House - built in 1836 A.D
  7. Nehru Statue
  8. Romain Rolland Library
  9. Puducherry Museum - The museum hosed in a pleasant French period building has some interesting collections including some charming colonial furniture.
  10. Raj Nivas - This grand building is now the His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor's residence.
  11. Ashram Dining Room
  12. Cercle de Puducherry - A privileged member's only club, a throw back from the French times.
  13. Legislative Assembly
  14. Aayi Mandapam - A magnificent memorial built by the French to commemorate an Indian Temple dancer who lived 300 years before the French arrived in Puducherry.
  15. UCO Bank
  16. Puducherry Art Gallery
  17. Notre Dames des Anges Church is built in the Greco-Roman style in 1855 A.D
  18. Joan of Arc Statue
  19. Church of Capuchians - Now an orphanage, the church is one of the very few buildings that survived the British raid in 1761
  20. Lycee Francais
  21. Le Grand Hotel d Europe - The 1891 A.D building housed  of  the  oldest hostelries in Puducherry.
  22. Hotel Lagrenee de Meziere - This is now home to the sisters of Cluny Convent. See nimble fingered girls make embroidered  master  pieces  in the latest European styles.
  23. Hotel de L' Orient - This tastefully renovated heritage building is now one of Puducherry's best heritage hotel.
  24. Alliance Francaise - Learn a little French while in Puducherry. View French movies or borrow French books.
  25. Ashram Theatre
  26. Dupleix statue - A tribute to one of the most successful French governors in India.
  27. Ecole Francaise d' Extreme Orient - Visit the institute for information on courses on Indology, History or Architecture.
  28. Court


Starting Point: Easwaran Koil (Temple)

Walk ends at: VOC School

Distance: Approx. 2 kms

Approximate time taken: 1 hr


The buildings in the Tamil streets are characterized by  rows  of  tiled  roofed buildings almost joined together by continuous wall to wall constructions. While the older buildings more or less retain their 'Tamilness', the later constructions have acquired certain gallic features behind the Tamil facades. A synthesis  of  these two  styles  has  resulted in a town that has a unique 'Franco Tamil' architectural identity. Though unsympathetic modifications and extensions  have  ruined  many wonderful samples of the native quarters, increasing awareness and work by certain non governmental agencies like the INTACH, have ensured restoration of some of the structures.


Places Covered

  1. Easwaran Koil - Also called the VedapureeswarKoil, it is just 50 meters from the
  2. Varadharaja temple. These two temples act as  a  nucleus around which the town evolved.
  3. Easwaran Koil Street Houses - The wall to wall construction of houses give the Tamil street a homogenous look. All houses have a thalvaram (a covered verrandah that extends almost to the street) and  a  thinnai  (a  semi private space with benches for pilgrims and visitors). The central courtyard is probably the most distinctive feature inside the Tamil house.
  4. Bharathi Museum - This building became the residence of the Tamil poiet and nationalist, Bharathi who sought refuge here from the British. The building in the typical tamil style is now a museum containing Bharathi's works.
  5. Calve College
  6. Susheelabai School
  7. Calve Supraya Street Houses
  8. Big Market - Typical market scene in any Tamil city.
  9. Rangapillai Mansion - Residence of Ananda Rangapillai, the former Dubash to the French Governor. Get permission to visit.
  10. VOC School.

Pondicherry boasts a good number of general as well as specialty hospitals, testing facilities and labs, as  well as  many pharmacies across the city. Treatments cost a fraction of what they would in  many parts of  the Western world. A well-established tourist destination, the city offers many options for restful recuperation to patients.

One of the country's best known eye hospitals has a branch in the  city. High quality dental care is another prominent speciality. There is several government as well as private  hospitals  focused  on  obstetrics.  The city is also home to a veterinary college and hospital.

There are also many practitioners of complementary and alternative therapies. Indian therapies such  as  Ayurveda,  Siddha,  Marma  and several variants of Yoga can be tried out. Workshops for various types of meditative practices, including the well-known Vipassana and Art of  Living, can be found here. Massage and spa treatments are widely  available. Hypnotherapy, Pranayam, Tai Chi, Watsu, Homeopathy, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Reiki, and several other types of alternative medicine are practiced here.

Puducherry is a vibrant city that constantly offers something exciting, rejuvenating and fun filled to its visitors. Find the latest happenings in Puducherry here: http://pondytourism.in/events.php .

Clean and decent clothes,  preferably  cotton  is  suitable  as  Puducherry has a tropical climate. It is always good to use your discretion. The preferred clothes for men are pants and shirts, and women mostly wear either Indian clothes, pants and skirts or pants and blouses. Please avoid wearing beachwear in the city as it will invite curious and unwanted attention. Nudity is banned in Puducherry.

You can carry  the  usual  personal  effects  along  with  clothes.  Make  sure  you have the appropriate  voltage  (220V  in India)  personal  accessories  while  travelling.  Carry  prescriptions  of  medications  and  glasses.  Make sure you have the International driver’s license if you wish to drive. Carry enough local currency – worth $200 at least – at all times to pay for local services. Make sure your documents including cash, passport  and  credit  cards and tickets are secure with you at all times.

Like the rest of India and the UK, vehicles travel on the left side of the  road. An International Drivers License is required.

Preferably Travellers’ Cheques and cash in Indian currency up to $200 at all times to pay for local services. Credit cards are also widely accepted in Puducherry and India today.

Yes. Using credit cards to withdraw cash may be available at only a few places in Puducherry, so keep enough local cash to get along.

The Indian currency is called Rupees. One rupee is made of 100  naya paisa. A rough estimate is 1$ = 70 Indian rupees.

Puducherryians proudly speak Tamil and it is one of the Puducherry's official languages. There is a lot of variation in the  way  it  is  spoken among different communities and locations in Puducherry which  was partly due to history. English is  a  widely  spoken  and  understood language with an accent variation depending on the educational background of the speaker and the area of origin. Apart from Tamil and English, French is considered to be one of the official languages.

The coolest weather lasts from November to mid-March, with cool fresh mornings and evenings during the end of the year to dry sunny days nearing April.

Shorts, minis and tank tops are unadvisable  unless  you're  on  a  beach. But again, in small towns and cities people may tend to  stare  if  you  expose too much skin. Safe clothing would  be  trousers,  capris,  skirts,  tops and shirts. India has good cotton wear which is  trendy  and affordable. Buy yourself some Indian clothes. Women could try wearing a salwar-kameez which is very cool and comfortable  and  could  even improve the attitude of people towards them.

Well, you can start by ignoring them completely and if they get too persistent, give them a stern look. If you must give them something, let it be not more than 1 to 2 rupees.

Well, there are many phrases and words in  Tamil that would be  useful.   We would advise you to look at our “Learn Tamil' page in our website: http://pondytourism.in .

You can pick up a mobile phone connection from most  departmental  stores in Puducherry and they are even  available  at  small  roadside  stores. The service provided by these private companies  is  on  par  with the best in the world.

If you are from a foreign country, you may not be used to the drinking  water here. Hence we suggest you to pick up a bottle of mineral water  which is cheap and widely available, usually provided in flasks in hotel rooms. Order the same when you are at a restaurant. As far as possible, avoid drinking any kind of water or juices from roadside carts  and  vendors.

In tourist restaurants or hotels a 10%  service  charge  is  often  added  to the bills, in which case there is no need to tip. In smaller places, where tipping is optional, you need to tip only a few  rupees  and  not  a percentage of your bill. It is customary to tip waiters, porters, guides and drivers.

India, being primarily a Hindu country, beef is rarely served. Pork is also not easily available. Eat non-vegetarian food only in good restaurants. What you get in smaller places is generally of dubious quality  though  tastes quite yummy, thanks to concoctions of Indian spices and masalas.

We would love you to try using the local transport. But this is not advisable to travel in crowded buses. However, do take a ride or two in a local bus or  auto whenever you have the opportunity. It  would be  better  to take an Indian friend along.

Try and interact more with the locals of the area. There will be a language problem but many people in small towns are quite fluent in English including a few other foreign languages.

Buy a handicraft or souvenir which is typical of  the place. It  would  be better to wear a piece of clothing belonging to the place  you  are  visiting; e.g. a Cotton Lungi in Puducherry, a Saree  for  ladies. By doing  so, you would blend in well with the local people.

For more information please visit our website: http://pondytourism.in .

Quaint little quintessence of Puducherry is the  former  French  colony Karaikal. A  small coastal enclave about 135 kms  from Puducherry is the quiet little town by the bay. The  natural sandy beach, boat jetty in the Arasalar, Children’s tennis courts attract heavy local and  tourist  crowd. Karaikal’s carnival encompasses an array of famous cultural programs which is being held at  Karaikal once in  a  year attracting not  only tourists but also pilgrims. Karaikal has around ninety-nine temples. Some were built by the Chola kings between the 10th and 12th Centuries.

Few of the places to visit include the Saneeswaran Temple at Thirunallar, Karaikal Sandy Beach, Mangrove Forest Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple, Masthan Sahib Dargha & Mosque and Our Lady of  Angels  Church.

Mahe natively known as Mayyazhi(Eyebrow of the Sea),  is  a  small  town at the mouth of Mahe River and is  surrounded  on  all  sides  by  the  State of Kerala. Mahe  remained  under  French  jurisdiction  as  a  small French colony, an enclave within British India, during the long span that began  in  1816.  The  beautiful  town  of  Mahe  is  a  splendid  show  of aesthetic and  spiritual  delight.  A  drive  through  the  town  helps  one  explore  its  elemental  surprises.  Major  attractions  include  Heritage  Hillock, Riverside Walkway and St. Teresa’s Shrine.

Yanam is located within the East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh. This seaside town is a quaint mix of Telugu and French  influences. Yanam was interestingly, a  Dutch  colony  before  it  was handed over to the French. Remains of a fort built by the Dutch and then taken over by cloth weavers now remains as one of the few signs of Dutch presence. Yanam’s culture pays homage to both Andhra Pradesh and France. On entering Yanam, Soyez le bienvenue is displayed and when leaving Merci Bien. Major attractions include Shivam Bath, Island 3 & 5 and Yanam Tower.