Discover the Best 12 Things to Do in Pondicherry

Things to do in Pondicherry – a perspective of a local Puducherrian

Puducherry is an union territory of India located in south India, completely enclosed within the state of Tamil Nadu on the east Coromandel coast facing the Bay of Bengal. It is a place known for its peaceful, calm, spiritual connection with diverse cultural disposition. The clean beaches, streetscapes, and villages have a deep history and many significances. It is a perfect place to spend time with purpose. It is a fantastic holiday destination for solo travelers, families, youth, friends, business travelers, couples, and senior citizens, and each of its locations offers a variety of experiences for each of them.

Discover the Best 12 Things to Do in Pondicherry: A Unique Blend of French and Tamil Cultures

Things to do in Pondicherry

We think these points could help you make a decisive choice to visit Puducherry – here are our 15 reasons:

1. Architectural & cultural heritage – French, Tamils & Franco – tamils

The first impression of Pondicherry is that it is a window to French culture with the presence of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its outreach with an international experimental township, Auroville. The built heritage, town planning, and streetscapes are very inviting and charming. The government and civil society have collaborated well on the preservation and restoration of several heritage buildings. It is regarded as one of the most successful built heritage conservation projects in India and around the world.

The Dutch planning, with the French continuous presence, was mindful of the various communities of the land and thoughtful in giving them space for settlement and production, which in turn helped them execute the trade easily through the seaport. The boulevard has two distinct quarters, namely the French quarters and the Tamil quarters. In the French Quarters, one can see the ashram quarters on the north side and Place du Government – the government square and the southern French quarters, which have a lot of cafes, heritage hotels, cafes, and shopping. On the other side, the Tamil quarters have Hindu, Christian, Muslim, and Creole quarters. The city’s equality and harmony with all sorts of people coexist.

Suggestion: Book a heritage tour with a local storyteller to explore the heritage quarters for 2 hours.

Tip : ask for cycle tour or cycle rickshaw

2. Ancient Trade center – Arikamedu

Arikamedu used to be an ancient port center and entrepot. From the Sangam era (400 BC to 200 AD), it is known for its trade links with Greco-Roman, ancient China, and South East Asian countries. The center had connectivity with the river named Sankarabarani. It is mentioned as Poduke in the 1st century by Ptolemy in the Periplus. It was excavated between 1947 and 1950 by Mortimer Wheeler and Jean-Marie Casal, and it is also known as the “‘Mother of Bead Making,” particularly colorful glass beads. It is an important trading site for iron tools, spices, celandine ware, rouletted ware, inscribed pottery, and muslin cloth as well. The French East India Company also used the port of Arikamedu.

Suggestion: Take a kayaking trip from the arts and crafts village to this bygone archaeological site and also cover the mangrove patches.

Tip: Early mornings and late afternoons are ideal for kayaking. One can take good, memorable pictures at the ruins.

3. Spiritual heritage : Mystic Siddhas and pondicherry

Pondicherry is said to be the land of siddhas, or yogis who are spiritual masters. There are numerous conscious, vibrant centers known as Jeeva samadhis. In and around the center, it radiates universal consciousness and the accumulation of divine energy because of the meditation and yoga done by innumerable yogis who made Puducherry their place for their sadhana.

Some schools of thought to mention are Vinyasa yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Kundalini yoga, Raja yoga, Karma yoga, integral yoga and yoga of light. If you want to see statues of different siddhas at one palace, you can visit Siddhananda Temple, located near Karuvadikuppam. Some notable yogis to mention are Siddhananda Swamigal Temple at Karuvadikuppam; Sri Tholaikadhu Siddhar at Manakula Vinayagar Temple; Azhagar Siddhar at Thenambakkam; Ram Paradesi Swamigal at Villianur; and Shiva Prakasa Swamigal. Their way of living gives you inner peace, universal truth, intellect, knowledge, and the divine mind.

Suggestion: Take a Jeeva samathi circuit in Puducherry

Tip: Combine with your other retreat and healing programs.

4. Legendary temples and Kingdoms

Pondicherry has a collection of historic temples. Four of them are at least 1000 years old, as per the Archaeological Survey of India. Other temples date back over 600 years. The chronological line-up of the various kingdoms of Puducherry is: Early Sangam Cholas, Pallavas, Middle Cholas, Later Cholas, Pandyas, Nizam of Bijapur, Arcot, Golconde, and Gingee, further with the Vijayanagar kingdom. Many other folk temple traditions speak of the guardian village tribe’s heroes, deities and demigods. The kingdoms in the Pondicherry timeline are listed as Sangam Cholas, – the Pallavas (AD 325-897), Pandyas (AD 590-920 and AD 1190-1310), Cholas (AD 846-1173), Vijayanagara Empire (AD 1335-1614), and the Nayaks of Madurai (AD 1529-1736).

Suggestion: Join a local storyteller to go for a Legend trail and explore 1000 year old temples

Tip: Go for early morning or late evening— best for traditional dress photoshoots.

5. Historic villages of Puducherry

Many people identify or know Puducherry only for its boulevard, where the French town and Tamil quarters exist, but Puducherry is 20 square kilometers.

It has collection of culturally rich historic villages, They are Arikamedu, Kakayanthope, karuvadikuppam, Villianur, bahour, suthukeny, also have many historic villages are there listed some of them,veerampattinam has trading port with roman and fishing areas and it also have the historic story of fisherman with the temple of veerampattinam and its car festival was celebrated as the biggest festival to be celebrated at the tamil month named aadi therefore in english mid june to july was the right one,keezhoor has the Referendum french government either to continue as a French Colonial State or to unite with the Indian nation and it have the much of banyan trees with great history,bahour has the Moolanathaswamy temple built around 10th century.

Its lake was the best site for bahour and its natural vegetation,villianur’s name was founded by bael(villa)tree and with the temple 12 th century,suttukenni have proved a historic village with the jewel at 2nd century BCE. These villages proved to be historic places.

Suggestions: Join a village tour to learn about the folklore of Pondicherry’s villages.

Tips: Take the afternoon session for the magical view of the villages.

6. Topography, Ecology & bioregion

Pondicherry has a beautiful coastline of 30.6 km with extensive mudflats, sand dunes, estuaries, and backwater stretches with patches of mangroves. Further inland, one can see pockets of sandstone and fossil wood formations with ravines. Sacred groves with indigenous trees and diversity can be found near and on the borders of agricultural villages. All of this adds up to make Puducherry a special place.

Suggestions: Enroll in the Hillock Hike to learn about Pondicherry’s bioregion.

Tips: To make your tip more thrilling, combine Hillock Hiking with Fossil Wood Park and the Little Canyons Tour.

7. Beaches of Pondicherry

Puducherry has 20 kms of beach stretch in the bay of Bengal. The beaches accessible are from the north to the south – Auro Beach, Quiet Beach, Serenity Beach, Promenade beach( also called as Rock beach, Pondy main beach), Pondy Marina beach, Ruby Beach, Eden beach, Paradise beach ( accessible only from Chunambar boat house), Sand dunes beach( paid beach), Non touristy locals beach – Poornakuppam beach, Nallavadu Panithittu beach, Narambai beach, Manapett Pudukuppam beach,
Suggestion: Join for surfing lesson in serenity beach or go for Sunrise Ocean ride with fisherman to see the panoramic view of all beaches of to the Pondicherry. Visit a local home for a compelling sea food tasting – for lunch or dinner.

Tips: Sunrise is best at Promenade beach or serenity considering proximity to stay areas. Sunset time visit Eden (4-6PM) or Sandunes beach(open until 8PM).

8. Special Food

In Pondicherry, food plays a major role in attracting people from all over the world with its both local and global food expressions. Particularly known for French, Franco-Tamilian, and Tamilian cuisine. When it comes to French – patisseries and concept/theme based cafes, and chef based restaurants, these are most sought after. Cafes and restaurants here are experimenting with food on a different level and with a different impact. World cuisine, progressive and fusions are the trend words to match the expectations of a diverse crowd visiting Puducherry.

The chefs and management frequently vary their menus based on seasonality and value addition based on ingredients. Sourcing- finding single estate, free range, organic, handmade and artisanal ingredients are consciously chosen by menu engineers. Concepts such as local food systems, zero mile, heirloom foods and climate resilient superfoods are curated specially to satisfy the taste palettes for alternative seekers, while the street food scene satisfies the ever hungry foodies. Historically, the town has secret recipes from Franco-Tamilian and indo vietnamese cuisine as well. In addition to all these food offerings, the setting too becomes magical, as most of the places are touted to be in fancy heritage buildings or a mediterraneans style setting with garden features, a courtyard or open air.

Suggestion: Join up for the Pondicherry Cuisine program to taste Franco-Tamil cuisine.

Tips: Together with the Pondicherry Cuisine, visit the palm toddy tappers in the villages.

9. Geographical Indication tags & Cottage style small scale industries

Puducherry is known for two geographical indication tags, which are called miniature terracotta works and papier-mache works. Puducherry is an awesome place with beautiful products that have a touch of traditional, contemporary, and crafty artisanal twists. There are more cottage and hand-made products in Pondicherry, with specialties such as aromatics, home decor, crockery, and boutique things; it also offers itself as a place where one could get antique furniture. Departments of the Ashram, the Units of Auroville, and independent craftsmen and entrepreneurs make innovative items that appeal to the current trends in demand. It is a delight to purchase an item that has a story behind each of its creations.

Suggestion: Explore Auroville Township and its small scale industries with our guide.

Tips: Experience the sound relaxation program along with Auroville exploration.

10. Festivals

The celebration of people’s beliefs is called a festival. Some of these are listed here: Masi Magam is celebrated in the month of February with the statues of their gods in the beach area; Sri Aurobindo Ashram related day as Dharshan Day; and main festivals like Christmas, the New Year, and some important days are celebrated in this month.

The surasamharam is the festival based on hindu belief conducted in October or November; the 14th of July was the day of France to be an important day in Pondicherry; Vinayagar Chathurthi is the festival for the hindu god to be nearly on August or September; the Veerampattinam Car Festival is conducted as the biggest event ever as 2 weeks with the great history; the panguni uthiram was a hinduism-based festival celebrated in the tamil month of Panguni; the Se Dal festival was the belief of the people with their hurting with the goddess; the Christmas would be nearly on august or september,veerampattinam car festival is conducted as the biggest event ever as 2 weeks with the great history,panguni uthiram was hinduism based festival celebrated in the tamil month panguni,sedal festival was belief of the peoples with their hurting with goddess,christmas would be most awaited festival for pondicherry and it would be a bigger event.

Suggestion: Sign up for the seasonal festival walk tour to witness the local devotional events and celebrations.
Tips: Some events are seasonal, so plan ahead of time if you wish to participate.

11. Personalities

Personalities about the Pondicherry-related people. Some of the peoples are, Bharathiyar as an poet comes for Pondicherry to shelter there and to be a significance he have friendship with more peoples, V.O.Chidambaranar was one of the friend of Bharathi and he had great influences in Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo, he had come to Pondicherry and got meditation and integral yoga.

He was the main name used in Pondicherry today yet, Subraya Chetty was Aurobindo‘s friend and to be fam on Pondicherry, Candappa and Kanagaraya Mudaliar are famous persons in their timeline with the great dignity, Ananda Ranga Pillai was done his service for French East India company with great respect and he had some heritage monuments, Francois Martin Kavel was an amazing french painter with his great skills, Dupleix was does his 10 years ruling and got French East India company in better way of business, Buss Aw general in French East India company under Dupleix and he was connecting with carnatic wars.

Suggestion: Take a heritage cycle tour to learn more about the personalities and pre-independence history of Pondicherry.

Tips: The optimum times to visit these heritage sites are early morning and late afternoon.

12. Excursions

Pondy has a compelling geographical location in that it is a hub with several spokes to which it leads. From Pondy, one can take a day excursion to a variety of destinations in 8 hours, 10 hours, or 12 hours, including travel time. Auroville, an integrated biosphere region, is only 40 kms away. Chidambaram and Pitchavaram are just 70 kms apart in the south, where one may explore the country’s third largest temple complex, known for its cosmic elements and one of India’s largest mangrove forests. The Medieval Gingee Impenetrable Stronghold (70 km west) gives a trekking alternative to experience the panoramic view of the eastern ghats.

The UNESCO rock cut structures known as Mahabalipuram can be reached in 90 kilometers from Pondy, near Chennai, via the scenic pathways known as the ECR. Tranqubar, a Danish settlement known for its therapeutic springs, is only 120 kilometers away. Kanchipuram, 120 kilometers north-west of Pondy, is famous for its silk and Pallava heartlands. Thiruvannamalai is associated with fire, and Ramana Maharishi is located on Arunachala Hillock. More than 130 kilometers away, one can visit Kumbakonam, Dharasuram, and Swamymalai, which are recognized as Tamil Nadu’s main delta region and sites of metal iconography, as well as one of Lord Murugan’s folktales.

Suggestion: Arrange a historical and culturally significant trip around Pondy.

Tips: Have an alternative day plan for these trips.

If you come to Pondy, you will find more joy, have a sense of calmness, hear stories from each of its corners, go home with a memory that will never fade away, and have a diverse and exciting experience



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Things to do in Pondicherry