Sightseeing - Pondicherry

Sama Koil Church

Sama Koil ChurchPondicherry is oval-shaped, with streets aligned at right angles. The skilfully planned township is distinguished by a 3 km long espalanade which skirts the town and encloses the tourist attractions. 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 Government Park is well-planned with flower beds and fountains, one of them dating back to the period of Napoleon III (1852-1870). 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 unspoilt 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.

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate ConceptionThe Pondicherry Museum has whole suites furnished in the French style, in vogue, at the time of occupation. Marble sculptures include the Cupid and Psyche, Venus and Spring pieces. The Art Gallery contains invaluable archaelogical finds pertaining to Roman, French and Hindu cultures.The Arms Gallery is yet another fascinating feature of this museum. 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.

Some 160 kms south in Karaikal of Thirunallar is the only temple in the country dedicated to Lord Saturn(Dharbaranyeswarar Temple). More than two thousand pilgrims visit this temple everyday. Every third year a "mini Kumbh Mela" of sorts named "Sani Peyarchi Festival" attracts lakhs of pilgrims. Not for away from here are two famous shrines of Our Lady of Health at Velankanni and Dargah at Nagoor, Karaikal is the "gate-way to various places of worship" in the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu. The well-preserved Danish Fort at Tranquar(Dansborg) is just 8 kms from here.

Pondicherry has 45 kms of frothy and picturesque coastline. Its beaches are virgin; the golden yellow sand is unpolluted. The continental slope is gentle and safe. It has all the potential of becoming a beach resort of world fame. There are many mass festivals like Veerampattinam Festival, Masi Magam etc. which culminate on the beaches. The vibrant Indian spiritualism has to be seen to be believed on such occasions.

There are several interesting backwater lagoons and estuaries fanned by swaying palms, waiting to be developed as pleasure and relaxation spots. Chunnambar has already become a fascinating place of boating, sailing and kayaking earning a place on tourist map.