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Visit Pondicherry to Witness the City’s Rich French History
A popular tourist destination that attracts visitors not only from India but from around the globe, Pondicherry is a town that is tucked away on the southern coastline of India. In the year 2006 the territory of Pondicherry officially changed its name to Puducherry.

History of Pondicherry
Pondicherry’s history can be traced back to around the mid-1st century, when it was a market place for trading goods with Rome. Many Empires like the Cholas of Thanjavur, the Pandya Kingdom, the Vijayanagar Empire and the Sultan of Bijapur ruled over Pondicherry, until in 1674 it was acquired by the French colonizers. The town remained a French colony until 1954, and today it offers a rich confluence of age-old heritage and modern advancement. The French influences are clearly visible in the form of systematic town planning, well-laid gardens, historical monuments, magnificent churches, colonial mansions and streets that still have French names.  
The Tamil word ‘Puducherry’ means ‘New Town’. The town has also been called as ‘The French Riviera of the East’. With a coastline of nearly 32 kilometers, this town is situated just 160 Kilometers south of Chennai. While, many times the town has also been dubbed as ‘The Europe of India’, the town has been belligerent in preserving its unique ambience created by the mix of cultural heritage.

Places of attraction in Pondicherry
Sri Aurobindo Ashram: The wealthiest ashram in India, the Aurobindo Ashram has devotees visiting from all over the world to attain a universal and spiritual salvation. The ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo Ghose in 1962. Sri Aurobindo Ghose was a renowned poet, philosopher, yogi and an Indian Freedom Fighter. The spiritual tenets of the ashram are an amalgamation of Yoga and modern science. The ashram is located in the township of Auroville.

Auroville: Auroville, meaning the ‘city of dawn’ is an experimental community that is located 8 kilometers north- west to Pondicherry on the East Coast Road. It was founded by The Mother, in 1968 who was a follower of Sri Aurobindo Ghose. The designer of this beautiful township was French architect named Roger Anger. The purpose of Auroville was to create a universal community where people of all countries could live in peace and progressive harmony, by abolishing the concepts of creed, politics and all nationalities. The main attractions of the town are the Solar Kitchen, Lotus shaped- urn and the golden dome of meditation, the Matri mandir.      

The French War Memorial: Located on Goubert Avenue, the Memorial was erected 1971, for those brave soldiers who died during the First World War. The best day to visit this memorial is on the 14th July, Bastille Day when the memorial is illuminated with candles and elegant lights to pay homage to the brave martyrs.

Aayi Mandapam: It is a white monument built when Napoleon III was Emperor of France. It is located in Bharti Park, which is a park that is the centre of the old colonial town. The monument is memorial of the provision of water to the city during the French occupation. The monument is named Ayi, after the lady courtesan who destroyed her own house to erect a water basin to make water supply easily accessible to all parts of the city.    
A town rich in its mixed culture and progressive philosophy, Pondicherry is a tourist destination that can be visited through all seasons of the year. Other tourist destinations in Pondicherry that can be visited are Ousteri Wetlands and National Park and the Pondicherry Museum.


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