Puducherry

Pondicherry (also known as “Pondi”, and now officially called Puducherry), is a city and capital of the Pondicherry union territory of Southern India.

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Understand

Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much indian. French is still widely understood, and the whole city makes for rather pleasant mix of East and West. It is also known as The French Riviera of the East (La Côte d’Azur de l’Est).

Get in
Road

Pondicherry is well connected from all sides. Chennai is situated 160 km north of the city. Getting to Pondicherry involves a three hour road journey from Chennai. One can get a bus from CMBT in Koyambedu or from Thiruvanmiyur or Guindy. You can be sure of a seat only from CMBT in Koyambedu.

Pondicherry is about 320 km from Bangalore. Drive down National Highway 7 (NH-7) till Krishnagiri, take a left off the main highway (roadsigns mark the route) and then take National Highway 66 (NH-66) to Pondicherry. This route passes through Uthangarai, Chengam, Tiruvannamalai, Gingee and Tindivanam. One can reach Pondicherry either through Tindivanam (via Gingee) or Villupuram (via Thirukovilur). Gingee fort is also on the way to Tindivanam and worth spending some time. It is a Archealogical survey of India (ASI)Heritage site. The total travel time should be about 5-6 hours. Do pack some food or snacks for the way as there are no good restaurants enroute.

Pondicherry is well connected to Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Velankanni, etc to the South by National Highway 45A (NH-45A). The road is well maintained till Chidambaram.

Pondicherry connects to the GST or NH – 45 in two places viz. at Villupuram by NH-45A and at Tindivanam by NH-66.

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By train

Pondicherry is also connected to Chennai by an electric broad gauge railway line through Villupuram. There are 2 passenger trains running daily to Chennai Egmore Railway station and Tirupati and there is a weekly express train service to Bhubaneswar. In addition to this, there is also a daily express train to Chennai Egmore. It is advisable to take to road journey than train travel when you come towards pondy{as it is called in short for pondicherry, by the natives} from Chennai as it takes a longer journey time through train. Railway services are yet to come to standard terms and they are under intensive development as of 2009 in the speed train name Puducheery fast passanger

By plane

Pondicherry has an airport with facilities for the landing of small aircraft like Dornier, Cessna, etc. But it is not available for public use presently is not good but is a airport

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Get around

The best way to see Pondicherry and its surrounding areas is by renting out a “Pedal cycle” or a “motorcycle” or “ungeared scooter”. But with the Huge traffic, now it is not even possible to walk in many streets as they are crowded. Your hotel should be able to provide the contact to the nearest store. The prices as of June 2009 were Rs.150 for an ungeared scooter and Rs.200 for a geared motorcycle. You will need to provide some identification document as collateral and an advance of Rs 500. Many of the rentals also provide delivery and pickup at the hotel which is very useful. (Note: Usually the number of days for these vehicles are calculated from 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM)

Talk

The main language spoken in Pondicherry is Tamil, though French is also widely spoken. Telugu and Malayalam are the other two official languages, but their use is generally confined to specific districts.

English is spoken by most educated people, and is the lingua franca between people from different linguistic districts.

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See

* The Beach
* Barathi Park
* Churches
* Botanical garden
* Chunnambar Boat House(which is crowded on holidays and weekends)
* Oustery Lake(Only as a view but not developed)
* Paradise Beach
* Sri Aurobindo Ashram
* Government Museum
* Auroville city
* Boat House
* Manakula Vinayagar Temple
* Villianur – St. Lourd Church (7Km from Pondicherry towards Villupuram)
* Villianur Thirukameeswarar Temple

Do

There is not much one is expected to do at Pondicherry. You would understand this better once you get there and understand the pace of life.

You can also do some serious meditation at the Auroville, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, or going to Bharatanatyam performances that are often organized there by the Auroville Cultural Exchange in the local temples, or at major hotels.

You can also go fishing in a Catamaran or while away your evenings at the Rocky Beach. You can also hire mopeds and go on long drives for the sandy beaches that dot the coast line.

pondicherry beach

Eat

Pondicherry is known for its wide variety of cuisines ranging from South Indian delicacies like idly and dosa to seafood like fried fish, prawn bajji and parota.

French influence can be seen to some extent in the local food. The best options are still the local delicacies; the execellent sea food. Good French food is available at restaurants around the French part of town.

Pondicherry_arch
District(s)     4
Established     1 July 1963
Capital     Puducherry
Largest city     Puducherry
Lt. Governor     Iqbal Singh
Chief Minister     V.Vaithilingam
Legislature (seats)     Unicameral (30)
Population
• Density     973,829 (2nd)
• 1,979 /km2 (5,126 /sq mi)
Language(s)     Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, French
Time zone     IST (UTC+5:30)
Area     492 km2 (190 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2     IN-PY
Website     www.pondicherry.gov.in