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Pondicherry
Travel Guide

Situated on the seafront, the former French colony of Pondicherry has a distinctly European air, with wide boulevards and shady cobbled streets overlooked by charming colonial architecture. 

Cycle around Pondicherry’s streets taking in the sea air and the smell of sweet French pastries baking in a café. After the hustle and bustle of many other Tamil cities “Pondy” feels like something of an oasis.

While the town’s name was changed back to its original Tamil “Puducherry” in 2006, it’s still widely referred to as Pondicherry. It was the largest French colony in India for around 200 years, from the mid-18th century. During that time, Pondicherry turned into a town that wouldn’t be out of place on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Get a sense of Pondy’s French heritage on a guided walking tour, run by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). During the hour-long Heritage Trail, take notes on the sights that interest you so you can make a return visit. Attractions you’ll pass include the Gandhi Statue, Romain Rolland Library, Pondicherry Museum, French Institute of the Far East and the Church of Our Lady of the Angels. Guided tours begin at the Tourist Information Centre, where you can pick up a map in English. Use this map to take a self-guided tour if you prefer to explore at your own pace.

One of the buildings you’ll pass on the Heritage Trail is the world-famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram. This ashram was established in 1926 by philosopher-poet Sri Aurobindo Ghose. While at the ashram, he developed a philosophy rooted in yoga. Contact the ashram’s Bureau Central to book a stay or to organise a guided tour.

The year-round warm climate makes a swim at Pondicherry Beach an attractive option whenever you visit. Dry off with a cycle along the promenade, admiring the colonial houses along the seafront. Head to the Botanical Garden, located in the city centre, for some shade and tranquility.

Pondicherry is 3 hours south of Chennai and is well connected by road and rail to most nearby cities. Come to Pondy to discover an interesting blend of European and Tamil influences and enjoy the coastal city’s beaches and relaxed atmosphere.

Where to stay in Pondicherry

Top hotels in Pondicherry

Accord Puducherry
Accord Puducherry
4.5 out of 5
No.1 Thilagar nagar, Ellaipillaichavady, Pondicherry, Pondicherry
The price is Rs4,500 per night from 26 Feb to 27 Feb

This family-friendly hotel is located in the city centre, within 3 mi (5 km) of Botanical Gardens and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple ...

4.1/5Very Good! (129 reviews)

"It is in Cuddalore road and accessible to all areas.in hotel got spacious rooms .hotel is following all precautionary measures.got valet parking and can go by walking to surrounding areas."…"

Reviewed on 3 Jan 2021

Accord Puducherry
Hotel Le Royal Park
Hotel Le Royal Park
3.5 out of 5
No. 168, Kamaraj Salai, Pondicherry
The price is Rs3,200 per night from 26 Feb to 27 Feb

Situated in Pondicherry, this spa hotel is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) from Botanical Gardens and 1.3 mi (2.1 km) from Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar ...

3.6/5Good! (83 reviews)

"Its ok...., Br realistic. Give good service.. No compromise on service to customers.. Yhen people will follow hotel... But need to ise this strategy"…"

Reviewed on 22 Jan 2021

Hotel Le Royal Park
Bonjour Bonheur Ocean Spray
Bonjour Bonheur Ocean Spray
4 out of 5
7,8,9, E.C.R Main Road, Tindivanam, Pondicherry
The price is Rs6,000 per night from 26 Feb to 27 Feb

Located on a lake, this family-friendly hotel is within 12 mi (20 km) of Serenity Beach, Pondicherry Promenade Beach and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Botanical Gardens ...

3.6/5Good! (28 reviews)

"Was not up to our expectation. Need to renovate the rooms looks rundown but outside facade looks good but the rooms conditions were below standard. Need to ask for basic things like soap, shampoo etc."…"

Reviewed on 3 Feb 2020

Bonjour Bonheur Ocean Spray
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Holiday Rentals in Pondicherry

Ulo Pondicherry Beach Escapes
Ulo Pondicherry Beach Escapes
3 out of 5
No.53/15, Rajiv Nagar, Chinna Mudaliyarchavvady, Kottakuppam, Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu
The price is Rs1,320 per night from 25 Feb to 26 Feb

Located in the heart of Tindivanam, this apartment building is 4.3 mi (6.9 km) from Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Matrimandir and Paradise ...

Ulo Pondicherry Beach Escapes
OYO 11870 Home Sea View 2BHK Anumandai Beach
OYO 11870 Home Sea View 2BHK Anumandai Beach
3 out of 5
#24,Hidden Bay,Ocean Retreat, Chettikuppam Vlg,Anumandhai Toll,E.C. Rd, Tindivanam

Situated in Tindivanam, this holiday home is within 16 miles (25 km) of Serenity Beach, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Matrimandir. Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple ...

OYO 11870 Home Sea View 2BHK Anumandai Beach
The Paperflower - A Wandertrails Stay
The Paperflower - A Wandertrails Stay
3 out of 5
Viratipatu, Heritage Town, Pondicherry, Pondicherry

Located in Heritage Town, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Raj Niwas and Pondicherry ...

The Paperflower - A Wandertrails Stay
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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