Things to do in Pondicherry India

fishing boats on a beach in Pondicherry

Pondichery is a city in the south east of India and dates back to the 1st Century AD when the Romans mentioned the town of Poduca as a trading settlement. In 1674 the French East India Company set up a trading post in Pondicherry and it would become the major French settlement in India.

A French colonial settlement, Pondicherry was a British colony in India until 1954, and is now a Union Territory town in southeastern Tamil Nadu state. The town has a charming French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas, chic boutiques, and a promenade that stretches along the Bay of Bengal. Visit the Gandhi Memorial, as well as the museum, and you’ll have a unique experience of life in the former enclave.

The main things to see in Pondicherry include:

  • See the Sri Aurobindo Ashram – yoga centre
  • Take a walk in the Puducherry Botanical Gardens
  • Visit the many churches built in the 18th and 19th century in the French Quarter
  • check out the local food at the Goubert market

Must do

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is the heart of the city. It is the Samadhi that houses the mortal remains of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother of Pondicherry. It is indeed the most famous pilgrim spot.

Discipline and leniency intermingle to maintain the quiet sanctity of the Samadhi and its surroundings, and the prayers and meditative silences of the devout are an almost palpable presence.

A way to enjoy the beautiful beach is on a vintage bicycle tour. There are countless bicycle rentals available in the town, as well as guided tours of the mustard streets and colonial villas. This is a great way to see the town’s history and enjoy the scenic beauty. During the day, you can ride a bike and take in the sights and sounds of the area. Be sure to catch a sunrise in the region. You can make stops at cafes or restaurants if you get hungry. If you enjoy sightseeing and meeting local people, you can visit the Arikamedu museum, which features 120 colorful dolls dressed in traditional costumes. The city also has a Roman relic from the time of the Roman Empire.

The town’s beautiful beaches are a great place to enjoy the low tides. The town’s park is an ideal spot for picnicking or a romantic dinner. If you’d like to take a tour of the beautiful gardens, visit the nearby Hotel Anamalai. The hotel offers cooking classes, and the Sita Cultural Centre even has a YouTube channel for cooking classes. There’s plenty to do in Pondicherry, and there’s no shortage of music. The city hosts many concerts, and there’s something for everyone to do.

For those who are religious, a trip to the Ganesha Temple is a must. The golden vimana and gold-plated kodikambam are some of the most sacred religious places in the city. This is a must-see for nature lovers, as it is a beautiful, historic site. If you have a chance, you should also check out the other historical buildings in the city.

One of the oldest churches in the city is the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, which was built by the first Jesuit Fathers in 1689. The cathedral is known as the mother church for the Roman Catholic Archideose of Pondicherry. It has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times, and is a beautiful place to visit. Some believe that it was visited by Mother Teresa, but this is not true.

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What do you like best about Pondicherry

Pondicheriens and visitors take the air on the sea side Beach road, especially in the evening and most particularly on weekends and holidays, when most of the kilometre stretch is closed to non-pedestrian traffic.

I prefer this as the perfect place to stroll, chat and snack, The chunambar,7 kms away, has charming backwaters with beach huts and boating facilities. A visit to this Aurobeach is highly recommended.

Here are a few things more things to do in Pondicherry thanks to Tanya.

Best Walk in Pondicherry

The Botanical Garden, Me and my friends usually go to this park, this place is really very calm and it is the greenery spread all around you, it is the best place to be explored on foot.

As the trees here are not just ancient and venerable, there are varieties that are not usually seen elsewhere in the country. In this garden, Huge rocks are carved into benches, here I have seen many saints meditating and hence a very it’s a very peaceful place to keep your mind and thoughts fresh.

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Best Places to eat in Pondicherry

Pondicherry has all kinds of restaurants: big and small, on terraces and off carts. I love having French food, so I would recommend Promenade, it’s a beach hotel on the sea shore; especially this hotel looks great at night.

The best places to eat in Pondichery will give you a chance to sample different food styles from the local cuisine. You can find an abundance of dishes at these restaurants, from burgers to Indian curries. If you want to splurge on food, you can head to Auroville Bakery. The cafe offers croissants, baguettes, pizzas, quiches, tarts, and pies. Cakes are baked in the afternoon.

The most popular food is the mushroom bonda, which is a South Indian specialty. It is made from chickpea flour batter with green peas, sauteed mushrooms, and potatoes. If you’re craving fish or beef, you can stop by the nearby Blueline restaurant for some irresistible seafood. Mission Street is known as a pocket-sized paradise for bonda lovers.

The food at Sicilys is delicious Italian cuisine, and you can find it on the streets of the town. You can sample Mediterranean Pizza, Basil Pesto Pasta, and Chicken Lasagne here. And you’ll want to wash it all down with a refreshing cocktail, like a Sangria. If you’re in the mood for a great brunch, Sicilys is the place to go.

Regardless of your taste, there are many places to eat in Pondicherry. French food is always a good choice. Whether you prefer European or local dishes, you’ll be sure to find something to satisfy your palate. From freshly baked goods to soft idli, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of cuisines while you’re here. And the city is also home to some of the most famous European dishes, such as fondant au chocolat.

Despite its name, the food markets in Pondicherry are not just for selling food. You can find everything from spices to vegetables. Goubert Street Market is the supplier of fresh produce for many of the local restaurants. Its name derives from the French poet and satirist Edouard Goubert. The market branches out from M.G. Road and is characterised by quaint alleyways. It is worth a stop by, even if you’re in town for a day or two.

Cooking Classes in Pondicherry

The Sita Cultural Centre have both Indian and French cooking classes.

Akshaya’s Kitchen conducts South Indian cooking classes and also has her own You Tube Channel.

Shyama’s Kitchen operates off of her Facebook Page and conducts Tamil cooking classes from her home at 32 Rue Francois Martin St

Best Music/Festival

Almost every weekend there will some sort of a Music concert produced by famous singers and musicians, who are sponsored from various other cities. It includes Multilanguage tunes, and not only are the local language, Tamil. These music concerts are usually held, right besides-a statue of Gandhi surrounded by ancient columns, along the Beach side.

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Best Nightlife in Pondicherry

I always come back feeling like a fresh person after a visit to the Matrimandir. It takes time for a first timer to understand that this is not a temple. Here in the white marbled lined hall, where the pillars reach, but not quiet, up to domed ceiling. The man-made crystal lit by natural light seems almost surreal.

The silence is almost audible, fifteen minutes into the meditation and I can hear the blood pulsing in my body. In my throat, in my ears. This is a must-see place.

Best Day Trip Out of Pondicherry

There are many places on the outskirts of Pondicherry, but these are some, which one must-see. Chidambaram is synonymous with Lord Nataraja, the awe-inspiring and wonderful dancing form of Shiva.

Its approximately 70 km from Pondicherry. And you can even visit Karaikal, also a former French enclave about 135 km and enjoy its quiet river promenade and charming backstreets. Mallapuram is worth visiting, it is located 98 km north of Pondicherry on the splendid East cost road. On the way don’t miss a visit to the ruins of Alamparey Fort on the shore.

Something that not many tourists would know about Pondicherry

There are many places which most tourists would not know, actually there is an under water tunnel, in the old harbor of Pondicherry. I have been there many times with my mates.  The place is fully surrounded by coconut trees and has a beautiful view of the Beach.

The other one is what we Pondicheriens call it the Sunday market. It’s the best place to shop leather goods and antique furniture and even handloom products.

The most important thing which I wanted to say is that most shops are closed during the heat of the day. In the afternoon, and open quite late into the evening.


David Cronk - Editor

David Cronk is the editor of online travel magazine Travelodium Travel Magazine. David has travelled to over 30 countries of the world and his writing has been published by enRoute magazine - Air Canada's inflight magazine and by Hotel & Accommodation Management Magazine. David has worked as a Sales Executive for Sheraton and Hilton Hotels and for Hotelbookers in London. He has worked also as a Hotel Night Manager and in bars throughout Europe. David eventually settled into a position working as a croupier for several years before changing careers to become a Data, Sales and Statistical Analyst.

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