Anglo-French Textile Mills :
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 momentoes and gifts.
Aayi Mandapam :
This gleaming white monument
built during the time of Napoleon III, Emperor
of the France. The monument commemorates both
the provision of water to the French city during
his reign and the good deed of a lady some 300
Ananda Ranga Pillai Museum :
Ananda Ranga Pillai
was the celebrated dubash of Dupleix, the
governor of puducherry while it flourished under
the French glory. Pillai’s compilation of
diaries serve as a storehouse of information on
the 18th century French India. His mansion,
completed sometime in 1738, is one of the oldest
surviving buildings on the west side - then
known as “natives’ quarters”.Its architecture
represents a curious mix of French and Indian
Beach Road in the evening is a refuge
from the heat. Its formal names have been Rue du
Rampart, Cours de Chabrol and now Gouber Salai.
Beach Road has little of architectural interest
but oceans of charm. Here you can enjoy swimming
and sunbathing, free of cost.
Botanical Garden :
Established by C.S. Perrotet
in 1826, it preserves a large variety of exotic
species of plants from all over India and
Children’s Museum : A small museum
located next to the Botanical Gardens, it has a
good collection of snail shells from the puducherry region.
Bharathidasan Museum :
The museum is the former house of a renowned
Puducherry born poet (1891-1960) who was a
follower of Bharathi (hence his name). He wrote
poetry, plays and film scripts on such issues as
support for Dravidian (or South Indian) culture
and the rights of women, and in opposition to
superstition and casteism.
Bharathi Museum :
The house of the great Tamil
poet had been converted into a museum. He freed
Tamil poetry from forms that, while writing
beautifully rich and terse, had kept it the
preserve of the few.The inscriptions and
material in the museum are exclusively in Tamil.
Englise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus Church :
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.
French Institute at Saint-Louis Street :
The classical colonial building is a
research institute in Indian Civilization,
history and society in ecology, in environment
and development in South and Southeast Asia. The
Centre of Indology focuses on Indian languages
as a central part of India’s cultural heritage.
They are preserving a lot of palm leaf
manuscripts. The building is notable for its
entrance gate with pediment, arched staircases,
Jamia Mosque :
This Mosque in the Muslim Quarter. It is
worth a visit in the evening between 6 p.m. and
8 p.m. to see the distinctive architecture with
palm trees behind it and overhead, perhaps, a
serenely floating moon. Kanniya Parameswari
Temple : dedicated to Shakti, the supreme
goddess, is unusual in that it contains many
European architectural elements - Ionic columns,
Jawahar Toy Museum :
Located next to the old lighthouse on Goubert Avenue, the museum is open on all days
except Monday. This rather unusual museum has a
collection of over 120 dolls, each one dressed
in costumes from different Indian states. Also
on display is a little ‘fairyland’ with a tiny
Ganesha watching over all the proceedings.
Manakula Vinayagar Temple :
The shrine dedicated to "Manakula
Vinayakar" existed even at the time of the
arrival of the French in Puducherry in 1673. The
temple is located at the junction of Jawaharlal
Nehru Street (J.N. Street) and Manakula
Vinayakar St. Ph : 0413-2336544.
Auroville is located 10 kms north of Puducherry 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.
The Matrimandir : In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, an unfinished golf-ball-like giant globe covered with golden discs. It was conceived by The Mother as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s inspiration for perfection”.
Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called Peace area.
The Peace area in which the structure is situated is characterised by three main features: the Matrimandir itself with its twelve gardens, twelve petals and future lakes, the Amphitheatre and the Banyan Tree.
Inside the Matrimandir, a spiraling ramp leads upwards to an air- conditioned meditation room of polished white marble.
At its centre, a 70cm crystal ball in a gold mount glows in column of sunlight. Matrimandir has a solar power plant and is surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens.
Passes issued for the Matrimandir Gardens every weekday from 6.45 a.m. to 12.30 noon and 1.45 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday 9.45 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Ph : 0413-2623108, 2622239.
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 Puducherry and the French in India.
The 1.5 km long Promenade running along the
beach is the pride of Puducherry. Several
landmarks like the statue of Mahatma Gandhi,
Duplex, the elegant war memorial raised by the
French, and the 27 metre tall lighthouse can be
found along the water front.
Puducherry Museum :
The museum used to be the residence of
a French administrator, so even the housing of
the exhibits is a museum piece! The museum has a
collection of sculptures from the Pallava and
Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from
Arikamedu, including Greek and Roman pottery
that is 200 years old. The museum has a coins
section,a geology room, a fossils section,
sculptures, glimpses of French heritage,
specimens of modern and traditional handicraft,
paintings, armouries, carvings and many other
things of historical interest. Open : 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. Closed Mondays & Holidays. Ph :
Romain Rolland Library :
The Romain Rolland library was
established in 1872 and has a rich collection of
more than 3,00,000 volumes in both French and
English. It also boasts of a mobile library
service which has a collection of more than 8000
books. These books are taken to nearby villages
by bus, in order to make the books more
accessible to the common man. The library also
houses some rare editions of books. The
reference section on the second floor is open to
the general public.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the world flocking to it for spiritual salvation.
Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. It is open to the public daily between 08.00-12.00 hrs and 14.00-18.00 hrs.
Children below 3 years of age are not allowed into the Ashram and photography is allowed only with the permission of the Ashram authorities.
The Ashram was set up in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, one of India’s greatest philosopher-poets, who originally came to Pondy to escape persecution by the British. It was after arriving in Puducherry, that he was drawn into the spiritual realm and discovered the power of yoga.
His philosophy deeply rooted in yoga and his writings inspired a number of followers.
After Aurobindo’s death in 1950, the running of the Ashram was entrusted to his chief disciple and companion, Mirra Alfassa, (also known as ‘The Mother’). The idea of Auroville or the “City of Down” was conceived by ‘The Mother’. She died in 1973 at the age of 93.
The ashram’s influence can be felt in most of Puducherry. The main ashram building is where the mortal remains of Aurobindo and the Mother are kept.
Ashram Guest Houses For more information : Bureau Central, Cottage Complex, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 3 Ranga Pillai Street, Puducherry 605001, Ph : 0413-2339648, 2339649.
Raj Niwas :
The Government House (Raj Niwas) is a
harmonious blend of French and Indian style of
architecture. Once the location of the Hotel de
la Compagnie (the French trading company that
ruled in puducherry from its first settlement in
1674 until the French government took over in
1769) and later played host to Dupleix. It is
now the Lieutenant Governor’s residence. It is
not open to the general public except on certain
national holidays like Republic Day on 26th
January, when it is adorned with lights and
looks rather impressive.
The Statue of Joan of Arc at Dumas Street :
Another example of the French influence
in puducherry is a marble statue of the heroic
French damsel Joan d’Arc, which is located in
front of the Church of Our Lady of the Angles.
The statue is placed in the middle of a garden.
The French Institute of the Far East:
This is an internationally renowned
research institute. This institute has two
impressive and handsome buildings almost
diagonal to each other at the corner of Dumas
Street and is known for its research in the
field of Indology, history and archaeology. Get
prior permission to visit.
Arikamedu, the ancient Roman
trade centre is 4 Kms. south of puducherry on the right bank of
Ariyankuppam river. It has a long history that dates back to the
second century B.C. The port town was inhabited by Romans,
Cholas and French who left their mark on this wonderful place.
The Roman treasure trail and Arikamedu river cruise take you
down the History lane. An unforgettable experience that you
wouldn’t want to miss.
Varadaraja Perumal Temple :
Both the Perumal and Eswaran temples have
been recently renovated and repainted. The
gopurams or towers are wonderfully colourful.
Vedhapureeswarar Temple :
It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Both the
Perumal and Easwaran temples have been recently
renovated and repainted. The gopurams or towers
are wonderfully colourful, as are most temples
before weather reduces them to the bare stone of
deserted or neglected temples everywhere.
Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswarar Temple,
architecturally the finest in Puducherry, 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.
War Memorial (French ) :
The French War Memorial on Goubert Avenue is
solemn reminder of those brave soldiers who laid
down their lives, for their country during the
First World War. Every year on the 14th July
(Bastille Day) the memorial is beautifully
illuminated and homage is paid to those brave
Alliance Francaise at Suffren Street :
This very public and busy place houses
a cultural and information centre, a school for
the teaching of the French language and a
She was born in Paris, 1878.
She was spiritually inclined and chose India as her permanent
place of residence. On coming into contact with Sri Aurobindo
she decided to become his disciple. The mother worked towards
universal harmony and peace. She became the spiritual head of
the Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry. She breathed her last on