Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Opening hours: 5:45 am – 12:30 pm, 4:00 – 9:30 pm
Watch out for: The blessing elephant
Pondicherry or, as it is sometimes knows, Puducherry, is not all about butterscotch-coloured walls and fusion cuisines born from an amalgamation of French and South Indian flavours. From surfing and scuba diving to spiritual temples and elephant adventures, we explore everything this varied and exciting town has to offer.
Sometimes, Pondicherry can become a little too elegant and quiet; when that happens, the Grand Bazaar comes to the rescue. The Grand Bazaar is a spectrum of color, sounds and scents, offering such varied items as flashy clothes, idols, vegetables, flower garlands and an energetic fish market. With so much ongoing activity in this busy market, it is a treat for the senses to absorb the haggling of the vendors and attractive piles of produce to draw in their visitors.
Opening hours: Always open
Watch out for: The Fish Market
It is hard to miss out the chocolate-coloured grandeur of the Sacred Heart Basilica, that is gracefully seated in the South Boulevard of Pondicherry. The Gothic architectural design of the church is a marvel to look at; unlike the broody aesthetic of typical Gothic architecture, the Sacred Heart Basilica is all but covered with warm browns and and whites elegantly placed side by side. It is one of the top pilgrimage spot for Christians in India, and is built in a cross shape.
Opening hours: 8am – 5pm
Watch out for: The impressive Gothic architecture
The Boutique d’Auroville at the Auroville Visitors Centre is a treasure house of everything which Auroville has to offer, ranging from traditionally made Auroville handicrafts, clothing, tableware, jewellery, furnishings, aromatherapy to a variety of organic herbal syrups and dried fruits that are custom made in Auroville and emblematic of the area’s culinary culture.
Opening hours: 9.30am – 11pm
Watch out for: The Guest House – perfect for overnight travellers
Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a small, spiritual community named for and set up by Sri Aurobindo, the revolutionist who left politics and turned into a spiritual leader after a moment of Enlightenment. The Ashram aims to help people see within themselves and surrender themselves to a higher spiritual power, offering yoga and meditation practices, as well as a number of publications.
Opening hours: 8am-12pm, 2pm-6pm
Watch out for: The courses provided in the Ashram
Address: No-12, Marine Street, White Town, Near Junction of Manakulavinayaka Kovil Street, Pondicherry, India,+91 413 223 3649
Opening hours: 5:45am-12:30pm; 4am-9:30pm
This Hindu temple is both a popular tourist and pilgrimage site. It is dedicated to the god Ganesa and was built before Puducherry came under French occupation. On the southern side wall, the temple holds three rows of god sculptures and stone engravings. On feast days, devotees pull a golden chariot, the building of which was funded purely by donations. The chariot required 7.5kg of gold to be built.
There is nothing quite like visiting a pocket-friendly museum established right beside a beach. The Puducherry Museum takes visitors on a historical and geographical ride around Pondicherry and its cultural heritage. The main attraction of the Puducherry Museum is the grand map they have that depicts the evolution of world cultures, as well as numerous staues, arikanmedu artefacts and furniture from the city’s French era.
Opening hours: 9am-6pm.
Watch out for: Arikanmedu artefacts
Address: Roman St, Behind Roman Rolan Library, Near Raj Nvas, White Town, Pondicherry, India,+91 413 222 3950
Temple Adventures in South India’s only PADI certified diving centre. There is a group of skilled trainers who organise deep sea diving, surfing and snorkelling sessions in Pondicherry, very popular activities among tourists. Temple Adventures is a must-visit for travellers who are looking for a more adventurous and nature-focused experience of India.
Opening hours: 6:30am-7:30pm
Watch out for: Scuba diving, a popular sport
Address: Ramaraja St,M.G. Road Area, Pondicherry, India, +91 90031 22231