Pondicherry City Guide
Home    City Guide      Pondicherry

Pondicherry City Guide

Pondicherry, the largest French colony in India, is a Union Territory. At present it is officially called Puducherry. For more than 300 years, the French ruled this Indian Territory and at present, it stands as a living testimony of French culture flourished in India. The city is located on the East-Coast about 160 kms, South of Chennai. From visitor’s point of view the city is considered a unique place having distinct spiritual vibration. The whole town is designed as a grid delimited by a crammed boulevard.

The Pondicherry Union Territory is formed out of four independent districts Karaikal, Pondicherry, Yanam and Mahe. Karaikal and Pondicherryare located on Tamil Nadu’s East Coast, while Mahe is on the West coast in Kerala and Yanam in Andhra Pradesh. Telugu, Tamil, French and Malyalam are the official languages of Pondicherry.

Population : 9, 73,829

Area : Union Territory: 480 Sq. Km; Pondicherry city: 290 Sq. Km

Literacy : 74.91%

Climate Conditions:

Winter (Nov to Feb), Temperature: Max 300 C & Min 240 C

Summer (March to July), Temperature: Max 400 C (in May) and Average: 380 C to 350 C

Monsoon: In August there are occasional showers that continue in September and October (mostly).The weather condition in Pondicherry is hot, but is manageable.

Tourist Attractions in Pondicherry:

Sri Aurobhindo Ashram : It was set up by Sri Aurobhindo, who was a Bengal activist as well as a Philosopher who fought against the British for India’s freedom. After Sri Aurobhindo, the ashram was operated by “the Mother”, who was the chief follower of Aurobhindo. The spiritual principle of the Ashram represents a blend of modern science and Yoga.

Entrance fee Timing Holidays Video camera
No - Children below 3 yrs of age are not allowed into the ashram. 0800 – 1200 hrs & 1400 hrs – 1800 hrs - Photography is allowed on the basis of Ashram Authorities’ permission

Aurobhindo Handmade Paper factory : It is one of the most flourishing commercial enterprises of the ashram. The papers created here are being exported to other nations. Now, the production of the paper has decreased.

Entrance fee Timing Holidays Video camera
No 9.00 AM – 12 PM & 2.00 PM – 4.00 PM Sunday & National Holidays  

Auroville : It is called the ‘City of Dawn’ and is an experimental city. It was established by Ms. Mirra Richard who is also known as ‘Mother’. The city is said to be a universal city, where men & women of all creeds, nations and nationalities are able to exist in progressive harmony and peace. The mission of Auroville is to understand human unity. It is to be found at a distance of 8 Km from Pondicherry.

Entrance fee Timing Holidays Video camera
No 0930 hrs – 1730 hrs - Not Allowed

Manakkula Vinayagar Temple : This holy place is above 300 years old. The temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and features golden spire as well as walls portraying 40 different figures of Lord Ganesha.

Entrance fee Timing Holidays Video camera
No 06.00 AM – 12.30 PM & 04.00 PM – 08.30 PM NO Not Allowed

Pondicherry Museum : This museum is positioned in the former dwelling of the French Administrator building. It has an assortment of rare stone and bronzes sculptures from the Chola and Pallava dynasties as well as relics, which were excavated from Arikamedu.

Entrance fee Timing Holidays Video camera
No 10.00 AM – 01.00 PM & 2.00 PM – 5.00 PM Monday & all Public Holidays -

Sri Kanniga Parameswari Temple : This place of worship is dedicated to Deity Shakthi. It is a distinct shrine and is strongly influenced by the French structural design. Hence the temple boasts a blend of French and Tamil architecture. The shrine is sited in M.G Road.

Entrance fee Timing Holidays Video camera
No 06.30 AM – 12.30 PM & 04.00 PM – 08.30 PM NO Not Allowed

Sacred Heart Church : This white as well as brown neo-gothic church is counted among the finest catholic churches of Pondicherry and is situated on Subbayah Sala. The church features an impressive doorway and the stunning stained glass panels portray events of Jesus Christ’s life. Further next to the southern avenue is the graveyard, which features some remarkable tombs with elaborate sandstone decorations.

Beaches in Pondicherry:

The beaches include Paradise Beach, Promenade, Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach.

Day Tour from Pondicherry:

Pondicherry – Tiruvannamalai : Tiruvannamalai isabout 110 Km from the town of Pondicherry. It is well-known for Sri Arunachaleswar temple and Sri Ramana Ashram.

Pondicherry – Gingee : Gingee is 75 Km away from the city of Pondicherry. It is home to an enormous fort complex that stands tall on the 800 ft hill, and is spread above three hills with the wreck of a temple, a palace, a granary, a mosque & an auditorium. Visitors need to begin the tour in the early morning as the conditions become uncomfortable during noon. Also requires taking enough drinking water and stocks of food.

Pondicherry – Pichavaram : Pichavaram is situated 15 km east of Chidambaram. It is on the junction of the three rivers and is a cluster of more than 50 tiny isles amidst hundred of inland waterways in the mangrove woods.

Pondicherry – Chidambaram : Chidambaram is about 65 Km away from the city. It is one of the most significant temple towns presented in Tamil Nadu. It is also one among the five major elements (Sky).The Natarajar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is renowned for its figurines and colossal structure.

Fairs, Festivals and Celebrations:

Maasi Magam (March) : The carnival is celebrated at the seaside near Kurichikuppam, involving fishermen community. Early in the morning, about 30 holy images from a broad region are bathed and washed ritually. The holy images then collected at one place in the evening. During night a procession of images takes place in illuminated cars in various shapes means vehicles bear different images.

International Yoga Festival (January) : Yogies and Yoginies from all parts of the world gather in Pondicherry, from 4th to 7th January every year. They get together to exchange ideas as well as ways. Various talk and live shows are held through Indian music, dance and a variety of Indian yogic foods. The purpose is to keep alive the philosophy of Yoga.

Bastille Day : On every 14 July, Bastille Day is celebrated. Pondicherry observes Indo-French spectacle. Uniformed war experts rally through the road singing 'Marsellaise'.

Fete De Pondicherry : A cultural and traditional parade, coinciding with the Independence Day and Liberation Day. The radiantly lit Park Monument, gives an incredible view.

The Mother’s Birth Anniversary (21st Feb) : On this day devotees gather at Sri Aurobhindo Ashram early in the dawn, to pay a visit to Mother’s room.

Villianur (Sri Gokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple Chariot Festival) : It is the yearly Temple Car Festival that is organized the months of May and June. It involves the dragging of a 15-metre high chariot via the streets by a large gathering of devotees.

Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Anniversary (15th August) : On this day, followers queue at Sri Aurobindo Ashram to have a sight of his room.

Ways to Get in : Road:

Traveling through road is considered the fast way to reach at Pondicherry. It takes 3 ½ hrs drive to reach Pondicherry from Chennai, which is at a distance of 160 kms. The other cities of Tamil Nadu also connect the place easily.

Distance from major cities:
  • Chennai is 160 Km - 3 ½ hrs drive
  • Tiruvannamalai is 110 Km – 2 ½ hrs drive
  • Mahabalipuram is 90 Km – 2 hrs drive
  • Tanjore is 210 Km – 5 hrs drive


Chennai is the nearest airport.

Railways :

The train network in Pondicherry is intermittent and sluggish. The constricted gauge trail is linked from Pondicherry to Villupuram.