It doesn’t matter how long you stay in Pondicherry – you can’t get enough of this charming coastal town. Colorful streets, historic buildings, trendy cafes, impressive temples and churches; in Pondicherry you can find it all. You should definitely not skip these 5 sights if you are in “The French Riviera of the East”.
THE 5 BEST THINGS TO DO IN PONDICHERRY
Browse the French White Town
In 1674 the French East India company established itself in Pondicherry. The Dutch settlers took over the city in 1693, but then returned it after 6 years. In the years that followed, Pondicherry belonged alternately to England and France, but in the end France pulled the longest and until 1962 Pondicherry was a French colony.
And that is clearly reflected in White Town, the part of the city that was intended for “the whites”. Here you will find clean, wide avenues and colored, colonial buildings that today are often converted into hotels, cafés and restaurants. Take a few hours to wander around here and imagine yourself in Paris for a while.
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Admire the beautiful churches
Because of the French background, there are several churches in Pondicherry. The most famous churches are the nineteenth-century Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the eighteenth-century Eglise de Notre Dame Des Anges, and the sixteenth-century Immaculate Conception Cathedral, once visited by Mother Theresa.
Visit the colorful temples
In addition to beautiful churches, there are also a number of impressive Hindu temples in the city. The best known is the Manakula Vinayagar Temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Ganesha. The temple is best known for Lakshmi, the temple elephant that blesses people after their sacrifice. We found this a bit pathetic and were more impressed by the richly decorated Vedapureeswarar Temple.
Get a breath of fresh air on the boulevard
Until 1989, Pondicherry had a vast sandy beach, but due to extreme erosion, the government had to turn it into a rocky beach. A breath of fresh air on the beach is unfortunately not possible, but luckily there is a beautiful promenade where you can stretch your legs and enjoy the cooling breeze. During a walk along the 2-kilometer-long boulevard, you will pass a statue of Gandhi, the old lighthouse, and the French War Memorial.
Travel to ancient Mahabalipuram
This seventh-century port city is located between Chennai and Pondicherry and is definitely worth a visit if you have to travel from one city to another. In Mahabalipuram, you can find various ancient monuments, such as temples and statues carved in rocks. Since 1984 all monuments are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the center of the city, you will find a lot of nice restaurants and souvenir shops, so you can spend a great day here.