10 Amazing Things To Do At Puducherry (Pondicherry) (2023)
Puducherry, or Pondicherry, is often known as the ‘French Capital of India’ and is a beautiful coastal city located on the south-eastern coast of India. This Union territory boasts of untouched beaches, ancient temples and churches, French and Tamil quarters, heritage buildings, and a colonial atmosphere. This French Colony offers tourists a whole plethora of things to see and do. Here are some of the top things to do at Puducherry.
10 Amazing Things To Do At Puducherry (Pondicherry)
1. Scuba Diving Amongst Colorful Corals
One of the most unique things you will find in Puducherry is scuba diving. This is also one of the most famous things to do in Puducherry as it is the only spot you will find on the entire eastern coast of India that allows you to scuba dive amongst the beautiful colorful corals. The marine life includes a wide variety of exotic and local species of fish, including angelfish, sea snakes, lionfish, moral eels, bannerfish, kingfish, and the parrotfish.
The crystal clear waters of Puducherry ensure visibility up to nearly 30 meters underwater, making it an ideal destination for divers who want to spot corals and swim with the manta rays.
Here are some of the best locations for scuba diving in Puducherry:
- The Aravind Wall
- Temple Reef
- Coral Shark Reef
- The Hole
- 4 Corners
Most tourists often recommended choosing Temple Adventures as that is a center certified by the global Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) center.
2. Soak Up The Sun At The Perfect Beaches
Puducherry boasts of a coastline marked with unblemished and serene beaches. If you are a beach lover, then there is nothing as relaxing as kicking back and soaking up the sun and sand at one of the beautiful beaches here. The Promenade Beach in Puducherry is the longest here, and many tourists enjoy taking a long stroll here as the sun sets in the background. Watching the sunset on this beach is a popular activity not just for tourists but also for locals.
Paradise Beach and Karaikal Beach are also perfect for those looking for water sports, or if you want to indulge in a bit of surfing. For those who want to lounge around at a quieter beach, then the Mahe Beach would be the perfect spot for you.
3. Visit the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
This is a beautiful gothic-architecture Catholic Church that was built in 1907. This impressive basilica has biblical words written in Latin on the entrance. Images of Jesus and Mary adorn the entrance from where you step inside to be awed by the impressively massive interior. The highlight of this church is the stained glass panels that depict various events from the lives of Jesus and other Catholic saints.
This is a highly revered place of worship in Puducherry, and visitors from all faiths come here to offer their prayers.
4. Have A Spiritual Experience At The Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Puducherry is famous for being the home of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Established in 1926 by renowned spiritual guru Sri Aurobindo, the Ashram is a must-visit for any tourist who visits this city. This is especially true for those who are visiting Pondy (a fond name for the city shortened by the locals) for a spiritual retreat. These retreats involve various medication sessions, yoga practices, and listening to the many life lessons the teachers here have to offer. The peaceful atmosphere that surrounds the entire Ashram will transport you into a different world altogether.
5. Explore The Stunning Backwaters of Puducherry
If you get bored of lazing around on the beaches, then hitting the backwaters of the Chunnambar River in Puducherry is a great idea. There is the Chunnambar Boat House that sits right along the Cuddalore Main Road. It offers boat rides along the river. Boating experience in the Chunnambar backwaters is an ethereal experience. Bring along your camera to catch some of the most stunning views of Puducherry’s beauty and some of the exotic birds that populate that area. There are motor and pedal boats available here for hire.
6. Enjoy The Soothing Sunset At Ousteri Lake
Ousteri Lake is a popular spot in Puducherry for people who want to enjoy seeing the serene sunset. This is a man-made lake populated by marshy lands and mudflats. Additionally, the lake is the residence of choice for a wide variety of migratory and residential birds, making it a paradise for bird lovers. Ousteri Lake is a well-known bird-watching spot in Puducherry. You should especially keep your eyes open for spotting greater flamingos, white-breasted water hens, white ibises, egrets, and golden orioles.
7. A Trip to the Puducherry Botanical Garden
When you are in Puducherry, make it a point to visit the Botanical garden. You won’t be disappointed. These are unlike any other botanical gardens you would have seen earlier. The Pondy botanical garden is built in an ornate French style and houses some of the most unique and stunning pruned trees, flower beds, fountains, an aquarium, a Japanese rock structure, and even a toy train for all to ride on.
There is also a musical fountain show that is held every weekend that is a must-see.
8. A Visit to the French War Memorial
While in Puducherry, make it a point to pay homage to one of the most impressively built war memorials in all of India. The French War Memorial here was built in 1971 and is a tribute to the brave soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives in World War I. Each year on July 14, an annual remembrance ceremony is held to honor these Bravehearts.
9. Don’t Miss Out Auroville
Auroville, or the ‘City of Dawn’ as it is known, is located around nine miles from the main city of Puducherry. If you have never before heard of this town, then here’s everything you need to know about this unique settlement. Auroville is a universal town that has opened its heart and doors to people from all over the world, irrespective of their religion, culture, caste, creed, or country. Here, everyone lives and works together in complete peace and harmony.
The township has been in the news many times for being the perfect example of people finding unity in diversity.
The town is divided into various zones, such as the Peace Zone, the Residential Zone, and the International Zone. It is possible to book your stay in the Residential Zone to stay and experience the lifestyle of Aurovillians. Many events are held regularly here, and you can also take part in these to soak up the local atmosphere.
10. Rent A Bicycle To Explore This French Colony
Exploring Pondy on two wheels is the best way to get to see every nook and corner of this breathtakingly beautiful town. A bicycle journey will take you through its diverse and rich cultural heritage as you cycle through the Tamil part, the French section, and the Green or Muslim part of the town. Various historical and cultural places are also best seen when you are on two wheels.
There are several popular bicycle tours in Puducherry, including the Pondy Cycle Tour and the tour offered by the Sita Cultural Center. There are also many walking tours of the city, including the Heritage Walking Tour, where you can choose between a French or English-speaking guide.
Puducherry is a beautiful place, and it offers serenity and sanctity all rolled in one. The city is well-known for its urban structural design mixed with French-style architecture. The spiritual connection in this quaint little city adds a historical and cultural charm that attracts tourists from all over the world.