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Updated by Pushpitha Wijesinghe on Apr 28, 2015
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05 Famous Places to Visit in Pondicherry - Tourist Highlights in Picturesque Pondicherry

Tipped to be one of South India's most breathtaking tourist hubs Pondicherry is a city brimming with history and culture. From beaches to museums the area's top attractions are as follows.

1

Auroville

Tipped to be one of the most unique and unusual attractions in Pondicherry Auroville can rightly be described as a grand experiment in global community building and communal unity. Set up as early as 1968 Auroville is the brainchild of Sri Aurobindo who dreamed of a single space in which all the nationalities of the world could co-habit in harmony. Having hosted nationals from 124 nations at its inception Auroville is now home to citizens of 35 countries from around the world and is a "Universal Town" like no other. One of the town's main highlights is of course the Auroville Visitor’s Centre which offers information on the various societies living in the town while the Matri Mandir meditation hall which is home to the largest crystal ball ever made is another point of interest.

2

Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Welcoming countless visitors, yogis and intrigued tourists from around the world the Sri Aurobindo Ashram is another hotpots that should not be missed on a tour of Pondicherry. Established by Sri Aurobindo, a local poet and revolutionary reader of Auroville fame the ashram was also the brainchild of a Parisian artist commonly referred to as The Mother. Serving as a centre of learning and training in both physical and spiritual well-being the Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a popular venue to learn yoga and meditation techniques while the institution's instructors also provide student with gaining inner wisdom and developing spiritual strength.

3

The Pondicherry Botanical Garden

Often regarded as one of Pondicherry's most scenic attractions the Pondicherry Botanical Garden is no ordinary green enclosure in the heart of the city. As one of Pondicherry's oldest public parklands the botanical garden first opened its doors to the public as early as 1826. Dubbed The Colonial Park during its inception the venue has evolved to become the favourite green space in the city among locals and expats alike. Housing many rare plant and flower species from around the Asian region the venue boasts an extensive collection of plants and flora that numbers well over 1500 species. Flora species indigenous to Calcutta and Madras are also found here alongside those hailing from neighbouring Sri Lanka. Visitors based in Hotel Atithi or any other centrally located Pondicherry hotel will enjoy easy access to the garden.

4

The Pondicherry Museum

Documenting the rich history and cultural heritage of the city across the centuries, The Pondicherry Museum is a one of a kind institution in the city. Open from 10am to 5pm daily (except on national holidays and Mondays) the venue traces the cultural and social legacy of Pondicherry from the Greco-Roman period right down to modern times. Showcasing the artistic prowess of Pondicherry's most illustrious artists the venue houses artefacts unearthed from Arikamedu. Exploring the region's identity during Chola, Vijayanagar and Pallava eras the institution offers visitors a comprehensive look at Pondicherry's growth over the centuries.

5

The Promenade along Pondicherry Beach

Identified as the most popular recreational hub for locals in Pondicherry the 1.5km esplanade running along stunning Pondicherry Beach is another top attraction in the city. With countless landmarks such as a French War Memorial, Mahatma Gandhi sculpture and Jeanne d'Arc a gracing its ground visitors will come across countless heritage structures including Gandhi Thidal and a lighthouse.