Pondicherry

Pondicherry
Photo Credit : Praveen

Pondicherry

Pondicherry also known as Puducherry is a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, is now a Union Territory of India. Its French legacy is preserved in its French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas and chic boutiques. A seaside promenade runs along the Bay of Bengal.

  • Pondicherry Museum:

It has a gallery with sculptures and has the remains of archaeological findings from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. The museum also has a collection of rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and artifacts excavated from Arikamedu.

  • Jawahar Toy Museum:

It is located next to the old lighthouse on Goubert Avenue, the museum is open on all days except Monday. This 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.

  • Children’s Museum:

It is located next to the Botanical Gardens and it has collections of snail shells from the Pondicherry region.

  • Gandhi Statue:

It is a four-meter statue of Mahatma Gandhi is surrounded by eight granite pillars, located across as an integral part of Pondicherry’s colonial past.

  • French War Memorial:

It is on Goubert Avenue built in the remembrance of the brave soldiers who laid down their lives, for their country during the First World War. It was built in 1971. Every year 14th July on Bastille Day the memorial is beautifully illuminated and homage is paid to those brave martyrs.

  • Aayi Mandapam:

Also known as Park Monunemt is a white monument built during the time of Napoleon III, Emperor of the France. It is situated in center of Bharathi park.

The monument commemorates the provision of water to the French city during his reign. It was named after a lady courtesan called Ayi. She destroyed her own house to erect a water reservoir to supply water for the city.

  • Botanical Garden:

The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in the ornate French style, with pruned trees, flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The gate leading to the garden is reminiscent of French architecture.

The French introduced many exotic plants from all over the world. The gardens also have a musical fountain which is active over the weekends, with two shows in the evening.

  • Bharathi Park:

The Government Park or Bharati Park is in the green centre of the Town. The Aayi Mandapam is a famous monument which lies at the center of the Bharati Park.

The Government Park in Pondicherry is aptly located in the central region of the old colonial town. The park is surrounded by government buildings like the Lt. Governor’s Palace, the Legislative Assembly, Government Hospital, Ashram Dining Room, the Cercle de Pondichéry private club, and the old Hotel Qualite.

  • Science Park:

Puducherry Science Centre & Planetarium also known as Puducherry Science Park located in Lawspet. The centre was designed, developed and set up by the National Council of Science Museums.

The Science Demonstration Corner has provision to conduct live demonstration and experiments to groups of visitors and students to excite them about science. The “Children’s Corner” is a place where children can enjoy simple experiments with a variety of puzzles and science kits.

  • Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple:

It was in existence before the French came and settled in Pondicherry. It has a golden spire and walls portraying forty different forms of Ganesha. The temple also has a smaller shrine devoted to Lord Murugan, who is Ganesha’s younger brother.

Over 5000 devotees flock to this site every day. There is also a temple elephant, Lakshmi, who gives blessings to the devotees.

  • Kanniga Parameswari Temple:

It is devoted to the goddess Shakti and has a blend of both Tamil and French architecture. With its arched walls, ionic columns, stained glass windows and even some angel decorations, it is reminiscent of a French building.

  • Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

It is situated on the south boulevard, is an oriental specimen of Gothic architecture. It contains rare stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ. This church was supposed to have been erected in the 18th century by French Missionaries.

  • Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges:

The Church of Our Lady of Angels in Rue Dumas is notable for its masonry – which uses the finest of limestone mixed with white of the egg – making for a texture identical to that of white marble.

The imposing façade presents paired Doric columns below and ionic above. In front of the church is a statue of Our Lady with the infant Jesus in her arms. The interior design consists of eight barrel vaults and a central dome pierced with eight circular openings.

  • Meeran Mosque:

It is the oldest mosque in Pondicherry, built over 350 years ago which has the old gothic Islamic architecture. It was built by Arcot nawab. It has four lofty pillars below its dome, with Meerhath near it and Meember next to it. It also has the Kalima slab above the Meerhath, with clean blankets spread all over the hall.

There is a bronze Kallasas in the top of the façade minaret and the graves of Meeran who built this mosque and Suubhi Errai Perrar Mullah’s in it. The mosque hold prayer sessions every day.

Tourist places near Pondicherry (<50KM):

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