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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

Pondicherry Lighthouse showing a lighthouse

Pondicherry Beach

Travellers like the monuments in Pondicherry Beach, and Pondicherry Lighthouse is a top attraction you might want to visit.

Pondicherry Beach
Pondicherry which includes religious aspects

White Town

4/5Very Good!(5 area reviews)

White Town is noteworthy for its beaches, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Raj Niwas.

White Town

Top hotels in Pondicherry

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
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 Rs6,500 per night

Located on a lake, this family-friendly hotel is within 12 mi (20 km) of Serenity Beach, Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple and Pondicherry Promenade Beach. ...

3.6/5Good! (27 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
Inn Pondiville Forest Retreat
Inn Pondiville Forest Retreat
3 out of 5
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is Rs3,000 per night

Situated in Tindivanam, this bed & breakfast is 2.8 mi (4.5 km) from Matrimandir and within 6 miles (10 km) of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Serenity Beach. Arulmigu ...

Inn Pondiville Forest Retreat
Palais de Mahé- Cgh Earth
Palais de Mahé- Cgh Earth
3 out of 5
No.4 Rue de Bussy, Pondicherry, Pondicherry

Situated in the historical district, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Pondicherry Promenade Beach and Botanical ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (48 reviews)

"This is a particularity excellent hotel. Everything was outstanding."…"

Reviewed on 21 Mar 2020

Palais de Mahé- Cgh Earth

Popular places to visit in Pondicherry

Paradise Beach
Image for Paradise Beach

Paradise Beach

3.5/5(5 reviews)

This private beach provides a slice of idyllic tropical beauty at the meeting point of a river and the Indian Ocean.

Image for Matrimandir


3.5/5(4 reviews)

You can learn about the history of Auroville with a trip to Matrimandir. Wander the beaches in this culturally rich area.

Pondicherry Lighthouse
Image for Pondicherry Lighthouse

Pondicherry Lighthouse

4/5(6 reviews)

Find out about the history of Pondicherry when you spend time at Pondicherry Lighthouse. Wander the beaches and seaside in the area.

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Image for Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple

4/5(5 reviews)

Pilgrims flocks to this lively temple to say prayers at the sacred shrines devoted to the Hindu gods Lord Ganesh and Lord Murugan. 

Pondicherry Promenade Beach
Image for Pondicherry Promenade Beach

Pondicherry Promenade Beach

4/5(2 reviews)

Why not spend a lazy afternoon at Pondicherry Promenade Beach during your trip to Pondicherry? Wander the beaches and seaside in the area.

French Institute
Image for French Institute

French Institute

Explore the campus of French Institute as part of your travels around Pondicherry. Wander the beaches and seaside in the area.

Reviews of Pondicherry


Top Destination

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 37.5%
4 - Good
4 - Good 43.75%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 6.25%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 6.25%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 6.25%

5/5 - Excellent


2 Jan 2020

This is the 13th time i visited and would love to make it millionth time... 

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

12 Nov 2019

Fantastic place to roam around and relax. If you can withstand the humidity/weather then it's an amazing place for a leisure trip.

1/5 - Terrible


22 Apr 2019

Its all because of the stupid treebo trend hotel

3/5 - Okay


12 Mar 2019

The city will improve in the future

5/5 - Excellent


28 Feb 2019

Acharming place definately worth visiting.

Cities near Pondicherry