Fun things to do in Pondicherry

  • Shops outside Manakula Vinayagar Temple
    Shops outside Manakula Vinayagar Temple
    by Donna_in_India
  • Bharati Park
    Bharati Park
    by Donna_in_India
  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral
    Immaculate Conception Cathedral
    by Donna_in_India

Most Viewed Things to Do in Pondicherry

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    Ganesh Temple

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jan 20, 2014

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    Manakula Vinayagar Temple is one of the most popular temples in Pondicherry. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesh, one of the most popular Hindu deities. Evidence indicates that the temple dates back to 1666. The name means "pond with a fragrance", a reference to the banks of the sandy pond on which the temple was built.

    The local story is that the French tried to remove the Ganesh statue from the temple, but the idol reappeared each time it was removed. Thus the plan to demolish the temple was dropped.

    The inside of the temple is decorated with more than 40 (wonderful) paintings of Ganesh in various forms. The inner sanctum is open to Hindus only. This is not a large temple but well worth visiting for the paintings and ambience around the temple.

    At the entrance to the temple is Lakshmi, the temple elephant. With her painted head and necklace of bells, she welcomes you to the temple. If you would like to feed her fruits from the nearby shops, you'll need to ask her care taker. If you would like to give her money, no need to ask! Just drop a Rs 10 note into her trunk and she'll place her trunk on your head in blessing.

    In addition to selling fruit for Lakshmi, shops along the road leading to the temple entrance sell various religious offerings (garlands, flowers, etc.), religious articles, and also some souvenirs.

    Photos are not allowed inside the actual temple. Shoes must be removed. Shoekeeper to the left of the entrance. Pay a few rupees when you pick up your shoes.

    Inside Manakula Vinayagar Temple Manakula Vinayagar Temple Kasha getting blessings from Lakshmi Manakula Vinayagar Temple Shops outside Manakula Vinayagar Temple
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    Beautiful Government Park

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jan 20, 2014

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    Government Park (also known as Bharati Park) was once the site of the first French garrison, Fort Louis, which was destroyed by the British in 1761. Its name comes from the fact that it is surrounded by many prestigious government buildings.

    Today it is an absolutely beautiful - and peaceful - park ideal for a walk or nap! You'll find perfectly manicured lawns, flower beds, fountains, and statues all around the park. There is a great children's area with all sorts of playground equipment.

    Wander the grounds and admire the flowers and statues, then take off your shoes and relax on the lawn!

    Bharati Park
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    Sri Manakula Vinayagar Ganesha

    by elpariente Updated Dec 3, 2013


    Manakula Vinayagar [means : God near the pond of sand]
    The Jesuits and missionaries tried destroy it, also in 1700 the French banned perform pujas in the temple, also it is said that repeatedly Ganesha figure was thrown to the sea and always reappeared again in its place, but fortunately everything failed, and we may see that today remains as one of the most famous Ganesha temple in South India.
    Inside the temple are represented over thirty of his avatars in statues and paintings on the walls
    Among the master pieces and treasures of temple are , the golden tower stand above Sancta Sanctorum, the gold chariot and gold ornaments that Ganesha carries during festivals

    Manakula Vinayagar [significa : Dios cerca de la laguna de arena]
    Los Jesuitas y los misioneros intentaron destruirlo, también en 1700 los Franceses prohibieron realizar pujas en el templo, incluso se comenta que varias veces tiraron la figura de Ganesha al mar y que siempre volvía a aparecer en su sitio, pero afortunadamente vemos que fracasaron y que hoy en día sigue siendo un templo dedicado a Ganesha famoso en todo el Sur de la India.
    En el templo hay representados más de treinta de sus avatares en estatuas y pinturas que están en las paredes del templo
    Dentro de las obras de arte y tesoros del templo, destacan la torre dorada que está encima del Sancta Sanctorum, la carroza de oro y los ornamentos de oro que lleva Ganesha durante los festivales
    Todos los años a final del verano se celebra un gran festival que dura 24 días

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  • hot, sunny beach side, good getaway from bangalore

    by chulbuli Updated Aug 19, 2012

    The things I truly enjoyed in pondicherry
    1) chunnambar--definitely worth a trip. Beautiful, neat & clean beach though I am not sure for how long? Seeing the pathetic state of all tourist destinations in India (with the exception of naniital) I don't have much hope. So catch this natural beauty (the chunnamabar boat resort ferries u to an island with river on 1 side & the sea on another). though I don't see anyw ater sports that were advertised on their web site
    2) mission street- for the restaurants especially surguru & Cafe xtasi( a pizzeria) . Surguru is real value for money-tasty, clean, good ambience. Cafe xtasi pizza's r world class. Don't be scared of the price tag--a small pizza is more than enough a med dominoes pizza.
    3) world class roads--seriously guys, not even a single pot hole in the entire pondy (& we travelled everywhere in our car). Coming froma person living in banagalore--trust me, I know how to appreciate good road work. Well done Muncipality of pondy & pls whoever the long moustached, dacoit looking bloke is, whose posters are defacing the entire city streets & main roads---clean UP!
    4) road trip to auroville- the road is beautiful, peaceful & well maintained. Though I couldn't take the 1 klm long nature walk to matrimandir, I enjoyed the visit to visitor center. There are plenty of shops on the way selling cotton clothes--pls bargain hard. & The ebst thing I fnd was les frites--a beautiful peaceful cafe--gre8 ice tea & value for money. I have never liked crepes so much before... Amazing place.

    Now for things I didn't enjoy
    1) promenade..a joke. maybe I chose the wrong time to go (15th aug, abt a 1000 ppl had collected for national holiday & some music function). But the street were crawling with people, the ebach stones were so filthy with strewn plates & left over food. Seriously, allw ebsites sell this place as the most happening point in pondy & they can't even keep it clean. The roads are cleaned, but move out towards the ebach & U will see the typical Indian way of littering.
    2) What french quarter, I spenty quite somne time rolling on all the streets behind the promenade (beach street) but I never got the feeling of something out of ordinary here. Yes the bungalows were big & less populated, but so what. may be I missed it
    3) pondy museam-i really wanted to see this, but it was closed on 16th aug without notice & they do not follow their own website's timings..again,..typically indian!

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    Sunrise on the beach

    by abi_maha Written Jun 27, 2012

    Catch the sunrise from any of the beaches on the Cuddalore road stretch, you are bound to get a fantastic shot with the fishermen boats, the glorious crimson sun makes an amazing backdrop!! We just stepped out of our resort for this moment, there's something about catching a glorious sunrise!!

    A glorious sunrise Sunrise begins Glorious colors AJ taking it in :)

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    Aayi Mandapam

    by abi_maha Written Jun 27, 2012

    The park facing the governor’s bungalow reflects the French influence. Once called as “place du
    pantheon” now turned as Aayi mandapam - the emblem of the Pondicherry Government. The
    park surrounded by Aayi mandapam has been restructured by preserving its heritage. Mandapam means monument, it is essentially the 'park monument'. Our tip will be for you to visit this structure in the night, looks wonderfully ethereal :)
    According to the historians, it was built during the sixteenth century. It was named after a lady courtesan called Ayi. She destroyed her own house to erect a water reservoir to supply water for the city. At that time Napoleon III was the ruler of France. Later on, the French authority named the place to remember her contribution to the city. The magnificent Aayi Mandapam in Pondicherry is one of the reasons behind the popularity of the Government Park or the Bharati Park. The tower stands majestically at the center of the park, enhancing its look. The Aayi Mandapam monument was built in accordance to the Greco - Roman style of Architecture. Visitors in the park get enchanted with the presence of this wonderful architectural brilliance.

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    Some lazy sunny shopping

    by abi_maha Written Jun 27, 2012

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    Head to Jawaharlal Nehru Street for some amazing street shopping, tonnes of clothes available- they are all export surplus goods. You will also find the auroville shops here selling incense, candles and handmade paper merchandise. Head further north to arrive at some terracota and lamp shades that you cna pick up- don't hesitate to driv a hard bargain at these stores :)

    My favorite stores on this street are the Hidesign flagship store & their factory outlet- beautiful authentic leather goods here, one can't help but buy stuff at these stores. The other ones to note is off the JN Street, called Kalki (again auroville products) and Casablance- eclectic mix of international brands which also houses a Pizza Hut and a cafe.

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    Ousteri or Osudu Lake

    by abi_maha Updated Aug 3, 2011

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    Ousteri Lake is th elargest lake in pondichery, it is around 8 KM outside the Pondichery Town. We headed there last sunday to tak emy niece boating and I think we enjoyed the boat ride more than she did! The water fowl population was simply amamzing, needless to say AJ was busy with his camera in action! :D This bird population is the key to the government declaring the lake itself as a bird sanctuary. Sadly the creation of the childrens park has lead to the chopping of trees and apparently there are other such urbanization trends that are a huge threat to the lake!
    The boating itself was very good, for a nominal fee of Rs 50 they take you on a half hour ride around the periphery of the lake. The birds seem to be used to the boats and are ususally not too disturbed by it. It is a man made water body but has existed for centuries! Lets just hope it's demise is also not man made!

    The lake Plenty of birds at the lake my niece enjoyed the boating children's park

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    Saneeswarar Temple

    by Donna_in_India Written Jan 11, 2010

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    The Saneeswarar Temple is located not too far from the Kali Temple about 8 km outside Pondicherry off the main road on the Pondicherry-Auroville route.

    Sri Chidambara Gurukkal, an astrologer, built this temple for the Navagrahas, the Gods of nine planets: Rahu (Shadow Planet), Angaraka (Mars), Chandra (Moon), Guru (Jupiter), Budha (Mercury), Kethu (Shadow Planet), Sukhra (Venus), Saneeswara (Saturn), and Surya (Sun God).

    As you enter there is a 27 foot tall idol of Shree Saneeswara facing the entrance. At the base are the Zodiac signs. Facing Shree Saneeswara, at the top of a flight of stairs, is a beautiful 34 foot tall gold Lord Ganesha. There is a Shiva Linga in front of Ganesha (at the top of the stairs).

    Behind the idol of Shree Saneeswara are 12 foot high idols of the Navagrahas in their positions. The idols are beautifully done in stone each with their respective vahanas (temple chariot/vehicle), stones, and tree. Notice the details specific to each. In the center is Surya, the Sun God.

    As you come out of the shrines, to your left is a small temple for Lord Shiva.

    The property itself is two and a half acres large. There are 60 trees - each representing a year in the Tamil calendar - and an additional 27 trees - one for each star. It is a beautiful and peaceful place.

    Before entering the property you may purchase small oil lamps to light in front of each shrine.

    Lord Ganesha Shree Saneeswara Buying oil lamps outside the Temple
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    Kali Temple

    by Donna_in_India Written Jan 11, 2010

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    The Prithiyankara Devi Kali Temple is located in Moratandi about 8 km. outside of Pondicherry. It is an easy stop on the way to/from Auroville.

    It is likely that you will have noticed the 72 foot statue of Kali from the road. Stalls line both sides of a dirt lane as you approach the temple where temple offerings, religious items, and food are sold. There are long lines to enter the temple, but the inner sanctum is for Hindus only.

    With bulging eyes and a long necklace of skulls around her, Kali appears monstrous. Her skin is blue. Several cobras (manifestations of Kali the Destroyer) rise above her head. In her right hand she holds a trishul which symbolizes the balance of the three forces of creation, preservation, and destruction. In her left hand, she holds a severed head.

    In Hinduism, Kali is the goddess of time and transformation that is death - Lord Shiva in his destructive form. But Kali is also a loving mother, a banisher of darkness.

    You'll need to read her story to understand Kali. Of course, there are many variations. A simple one is here (although the source is unusual)... http://www.lotussculpture.com/kali.htm

    Information about Kali herself can be found here.... http://www.goddess.ws/kali.html

    Kali Kali
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    Raj Niwas, The Governor's Mansion

    by Donna_in_India Written Jan 5, 2010

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    An interesting combination of Indian and French architecture, Raj Niwas, is the official residence of the Lieutenant Governors of Pondicherry. Completed around 1738, it is a beautiful "house".

    Built in typical Indian fashion there is a courtyard on the ground floor of the house. Beautifully carved wooden pillars surround the courtyard. Decorated masonry columns of European design support a first floor terrace.

    Outisde a water monument is placed in the middle of a well-maintained garden. The lawns are decorated with sculptures. Two canons sit on either side of the main gate. Unfortunately you will only get a glimpse of the elegant white mansion from outside the gates since it is not open to the public.

    Raj Niwas, The Governor's Mansion

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    Small But Interesting Museum

    by Donna_in_India Written Jan 5, 2010

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    Though small, the Pondicherry Museum is a very interesting museum displaying the art and culture of the people of the area during the Pallava, Chola, and Vijayanagar days.

    The French gallery upstairs charts the history of the colony with French sculptures, portraits, and furniture.

    Interesting artifacts from the excavations at the Roman settlement of Arikamedu are displayed in the museum.

    Be sure to see the pousse-pousse, an odd kind of carriage, which a servant pushed while the occupant steered.

    My favorite part of the musuem was the sculpture garden with its Pallava and Chola (bronzes) art. I also loved the weapons.

    Admission: Rs 2

    Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Closed on Mondays and government holidays.

    No photos allowed.

    Entrance to Pondicherry Museum

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    Immaculate Conception Cathedral

    by Donna_in_India Updated Jan 5, 2010

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    The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is also known as Samba Kovil and is the parent church of the Catholic diocese for Pondicherry. It was originally built in 1692 but was demolished by the Dutch, rebuilt, demolished again, rebuilt, and demolished by the British. It was rebuilt in 1791 in its present shape. The Bell tower was built later. A loft was added in 1905, and parts have been remodeled in 1970 and 1987.

    The church is light and bright with a simple and pretty center altar. The paintings around the church are very colorful. Windows have colored panels - no stained glass pictures. There is a Virgin Mary grotto and a beautiful silver statue of Christ in front of the cathedral.

    Having been visited by Mother Theresa, this church is one of Pondicherry's landmarks and oldest tourist sites. Masses take place in Tamil and English. While we visited, we were lucky enough to hear the choir practicing.

    Immaculate Conception Cathedral Inside Immaculate Conception Cathedral Inside Immaculate Conception Cathedral Inside Immaculate Conception Cathedral Immaculate Conception Cathedral
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    Manakula Vinayakar Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Oct 9, 2009

    There are said to be more than 150 Hindu temples in Pondicherry of which this is probably the most famous and most visited by foreign tourists. It's dedicated to Ganesh and is fairly small but busy with worshippers. It has a golden spire and its walls portray 40 different forms of Ganesh. You'll probably find a large elephant outside the temple entrance which ties in with Ganesh as he is the elephant god of good fortune.

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    Notre Dame des Agnes

    by Willettsworld Written Oct 9, 2009

    Known locally in Tamil as "kaps kovil" or the church of the Capuchins, this is the fourth church to be built in 1855. The first one didn't survive for very long; the second one was destroyed by the British in 1761; the third one still exists 50 metres to the south-west across the street. This church boasts a rare oil painting of Our Lady of the Assumption which was a gift from Napoleon III.

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