Located in the lovely old Law Building, opposite the Government Square, this museum has an outstanding collection of artefacts from the French colonial period such as French paintings, furniture, mirrors and clocks plus the bed Dupleix slept in, and a pousse-pousse, an earlier version of the rickshaw and a horse-drawn carriage. The museum also displays rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Chola and Pallava periods, plus trade link items from Rome such as coins, oil lamps, urns and pottery.
Open: 9.40am-1pm & 2-5.20pm, closed Mondays. Admission: Rs2.
This is the centre of French Town or White Town as it was also known. A pavilion stands in the centre of this nice leafy square. To its north is the Raj Nivas which was Dupleix's palatial home and now the Lieutenant Governor's official residence. The French Town features colonial style buildings with long compound walls and gates, along long wide streets. Continuous wall to wall constructions with high garden walls and ornate gates are the major feature. The residential buildings are simple, characterised by flat roofs, an inner courtyard with garden and colonnaded porticos.
The beach extends in virtually a straight line along the Bay of Bengal and features a small pier at the southern end. Goubert Salai (Beach Road), the main boulevard along the coast, is lined with grand colonial buildings.
Located opposite the Government Park, the Museum provides a glimpse into Pondicherry's rich past and present. The Sculpture gallery contains some specimens of Pallava and Chola art from Pondicherry and Karaikal. The Archaeological section displays a collection of the famous findings from Arekamedu, like Roman pottery, burial urns, etc. The French Gallery is the most interesting part of the museum which has an office and drawing, dining and bed-rooms with furniture typical of French India. The other sections of the museum are on geology, bronze images, arms, handicrafts and art. The Museum brings back to memory the glorious past of Pondicherry from the days of the pre-Christian era down to the present day providing glimpses of the art and culture of the people of this region during the Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagar days.
Excavation in the early periods brought out the bustling Indo–Roman trade centre in Pondicherry named Arikamedhu. Several excavations carried out at this place have brought out the remnants of Roman trade, wine jars and ancient Roman coins. This region reveals the ancient history of Pondicherry.
This place is assumed to be the place of Roman settlements nearly 2000 years ago. Remains of a French Jesuit Mission House assumed to be built in 18th century are also visible here. Historians and archaeological enthusiasts are frequent visitors here.
Plage Paradiso, popularly known as Paradise Beach, is situated at Chunnambar, in the close proximity of Pondicherry town. It is a sought after tourist attraction, as the cool breeze and golden sand serve the beach as a resting hub.
The view of the sunrise is amazing from the shore. A stream on one side of the beach enriches the beauty of the pleasant beach. Sun bathing and a variety of water sports activities are major draws here. Beach volleyball, beach umbrellas, nets and fishing rods are all available for the enthusiast travelers. This is really a secluded beach to relax.
The park is divided into four sections with the Ayi Mandapam in the centre, which is being used as a traffic island and vehicles pass through all the four roads.In 1706, it was built as a stellate-shaped fort. Christened Fort St Louis, it had a moat around it, which was fed by the Petit Canal, which in turn was fed by the Uppar River. This fort, however, was pulled down in 1778 by the British. Even before Fort St Louis was constructed, Pondicherry had seen several forts, but they were all destroyed and rebuilt time and again. In 1787, the French finally decided not to construct any more forts and it was used as a parade ground for a few years and then it finally became a park.Normally, European squares have all the important buildings around them, so does the Bharathi Park. The Government General Hospital came up in 1853, the Assembly in 1962 (earlier it housed a tribunal and a medical college) and other buildings such as the Raj Nivas, UCO Bank and Chamber de Commerce surround the park. As for the Ayi Mandapam , only after the French faced a water crisis, they went in search of water and then the monument came into being.
Set up to be an intellectual sanctuary this quiet setting houses over 80,000 books which include periodicals, journals and other intersting books. Set in a large, French colonial building with its big halls, its quiet corners, and its own little garden in front it makes for an ideal way to spend a day at the ashram. Also you can witness Indian Classical recitals and western classical recitals here from time to time. It also hosts a good collection of music records and tapes.
Timings:7.30 am - 11.30 am, 2.00 pm - 4.45 pm
No beach in the heart of the city....but enroute to Pondy from Chennai you will see plenty of amazing beaches...go ahead and take a dip in some of them...it's truly an unforgettable experience! Most beaches are absolutely deserted so u will hav them all to urself!
the road is closed off, and I thought it would represent some sort of a local market but how disappointed i was, it was like a gathering of garbage, rubbish and junk. nothing worthwhile as a souvenier but lots of utility items for every day use. it is like a Indian Wallmart of the streets and utterly useless..
the seashore is blocked by stones to stop the erosion, but the road hugging it is rather broad and there is a wide pavement.. during the evening hours and especially during weekends and holidays, the place is thronged by merrymakers.. young and old.. hindous, moslem with covered bodies and christians and christians with names such as diagou and alvin.. all mix and there are lots of vendors who sell cheap entertainment and the Cafe on the beach is nondescript fast food place.. what a pity they didnt make it something special , even if it was a restaurant...
Luxmi is a rather hungry lady elephant, who belongs to the temple near the ashram. daily she stands there in the evening while a host of devotees and their children offer her bananas and other food and money as well for a little blessing. I stood in line and put 10 rupees on her trunk and she put her trunk on my head .. did feel good. I do believe in all sort of ritualistic phenomenon, which are universal rather than particular symbolism.
Pondicherry Museum, this is one of the most interesting musuems that I have seen. Well presented collection of sculptures, coins. For me the best part was the collection of French colonial paraphernalia. Several rooms were set out showing how the french once lived. There is also an interesting archaelogical display with great explanations in English. Don't miss the sculptures at the entrance either. All this for 2 rupees. I felt that it was worth more than that.
While I was in Pondicherry, I visited the Aurobindo Ashram in the French quarter of town. It's a meditation center. Very soothing and calm. You'll need to remove your shoes or sandals before you can enter the grounds of the Ashram. Deposit your footwear across the street from the Ashram. Then walk across the street back bare-footed and enter the Ashram. Be sure to silence your phone & do not snap pictures. Just enjoy the calmness of the surroundings. There's a small bookshop where you can get some spiritual and self-improvement books.
After that, I walked towards the seaside. Where you could find the statues of Mahatma Gandhi & Jawaharlal Nehru. A short walk away you can find the governor residence and a small museum.
The entire French quarter is very clean and orderly unlike the Indian quarter. A very interesting feel to it. It's worth noting unlike the rest of India, Pondicherry was a French territory.
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the world flocking to it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. It is open to the public daily between 08-1200 hrs and 1400-1800 hrs. Children below 3 years of age are not allowed into the ashram and photography is not allowed too.
The Ashram was set up in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, one of India’s philosopher-poets, who originally came to Pondy to escape persecution by the British. It was after arriving in Puducherry, that he was drawn into the spiritual realm and discovered the power of yoga. His philosophy deeply rooted in yoga and his writings inspired a number of followers.
One of them was a Parisian mystic, painter and musician called Mirra Alfassa, who was so inspired by his philosophy that she stayed on in Puducherry and was instrumental in establishment of the ashram. After Aurobindo’s death in 1950, the running of the Ashram was entrusted to his chief disciple and companion, Mirra Alfassa, (also known as ‘The Mother’). The idea of Auroville or the “City of Down” was conceived by ‘The Mother’. She died in 1973 at the age of 93.
The ashram’s influence can be felt in most of Puducherry. The main ashram building is where the mortal remains of Aurobindo and the Mother are kept. Their ‘Samadhi’ or mausoleum, which is generally surrounded by supplicating devotees, is in the central courtyard under a frangipani tree and is covered daily with flowers.
Some of the ashram’s facilities like the Library and the Main Building (during collective meditation) can be accessed, only after obtaining a gate pass from the Bureau Central or some of the Ashram Guest Houses.
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