Pondicherry, fondly known as Pondy, is the capital city of the Indian union territory of Puducherry. Today whatever we know about this city dates after the arrival of the British, Dutch, Portuguese and French colonialists. The beauty about this city has a blend of the west, infused with a mild Indian-ness. The city was mainly influenced by the French, who changed the demographics of the place and gave it its own taste which stands amazing in its own nature. Fascinating as it is, the city has a lot to be explored.
BASILICA OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
It stands on the south boulevard of Pondicherry in Puducherry; this fascinating church was built in dedication to Sacred Heart of Jesus (a Roman-Catholic devotional practice). The structure was constructed in Gothic style and can hold up to 2000 people. The 100 year old church has been led by twenty parish priests, the first being Reverend Father Telesphore Welter who had planned the building. Drop by for evening mass and you’ll feel the ambiance unmatchable to any other thing.
Even though the beaches have been eroded over time due to urbanization, the rock beach in Pondy offers scenic beauty and a suitable place for solivagant’s who would just sit and breath in the freshness of nature and treat their eyes to its beauty. Giving one of the best walk ways around the area, Rock Beach is the place for it.
Affectionately referred to as the ‘soul of the city’, Matrimandir, in Auroville, is situated in an open area called ‘peace’. Technically built, it’s from here the housing will spread outwards. The ambiance of this place is calm and soothing giving one a spectacular view of the architectural work and the beauty surrounding it. A place eluding harmony and perfection, it’s a treat to the eyes.
A coastal fishing village in the southern coast of India is also an archaeological site known for excavations by Sir Mortimer Wheeler and Jean-Marie Casal. Interestingly, archaeologists have found gems, glass and stone beads, Roman lamps, Arrentine ware, etc in this place. Factually, based on these finding it was concluded that trade took place during the time of Augustus Caesar between the Greeks and the Romans.
SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM
This ashram was inhabited by a small community of disciples and later grew to prominence. Founded by Sri Aurobindo, this spiritual community came to existence around 91 years ago. The spiritual aspirants also known as ‘sadhaks’ learn and teaches integral yoga. According to Sri Aurobindo, “The ashram has been created with another object than that ordinarily common to such institutions, not for the renunciation of the world but as a centre and a field of practice for the evolution of another kind and form of life which would in the final end be moved by a higher spiritual consciousness and embody a greater life of the spirit.”
Favorable place for soul searchers and yoga lovers!
OLD LIGHT HOUSE
This tower was built by the French 1836, to provide light and guide mariners at night. Until the 2000s visitors were allowed to go to the top and savor the view of the area but since then due to restoration issues it has stopped. Best time to visit it would be during the day.
Pondy has a lot more to offer apart from these few strikingly amazing places. An evening walk through the White Town or French Colony, surrounded by French styled houses and bungalows will take any visitor to the realms of Paris.