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Trip to Pondicherry by Shivangi Sharma

Mocktails and Meditation, is what I would call Pondicherry! As different as that sounds, there’s no other place one can meet both so perfectly.Home to the famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the Mantri Mandir and the unique experimental community of Auroville, Pondicherry is the perfect weekend getaway for anyone looking for a quiet escape from life. Pondicherry (or Puducherry), a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, is now a Union Territory town bounded by the southeastern Tamil Nadu state. Its French legacy is preserved in its French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas and chic boutiques. A seaside promenade runs along the Bay of Bengal and passes several statues, including a 4m-high Gandhi Memorial.

On the edge of Bharathi Park, the Pondicherry Museum displays carriages, stone sculptures and bronzes. Tranquil Paradise Beach lies south of town and can be reached by boat. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in 1926, is a famous spiritual center devoted to integral yoga. Some 8km north, Auroville (City of Dawn) is a utopian community showcasing the Matrimandir structure’s futuristic golden sphere. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an early-20th-century Catholic church, has a neo-Gothic design. An elephant provides blessings at the entrance of Manakula Vinayagar Temple.

Liqour is cheap here compared to other states but do not try to take bottles from here, There is strict checking at the exit tolls. Puducherry has been built by following an excellent town planning idea. The place is better known as White Town.


Sri Aurobindo Ashram

The Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a spiritual community located in Pondicherry, in the Indian territory of Puducherry. Wikipedia

Address: No. 9, Near Junction of Manakula Vinayagar, Kovil Street and Marine Street, White Town, Puducherry, 605002
Founder: Sri Aurobindo
Founded: November 24, 1926
Purpose: Spirituality
Legal status: Foundation Wikipedia
Phone: 0413 223 3604

Rock Beach
Bordered by a street with restaurants, this scenic, rocky beach draws crowds during the evening. You cannot enter into the water but can sit there on the rocks.
Address: White Town, Puducherry, 605001
Phone: 0413 235 8570


The Matrimandir is an edifice of spiritual significance for practitioners of Integral yoga, situated at the centre of Auroville initiated by The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.Visitors and guests should bear in mind that the Matrimandir is not a 'tourist' site; it is a place for individual silent concentration. You can see the monument from a far point.

Height: 29 m
Opened: February 2008
Town or city: Auroville
Groundbreaking: 21 February 1971
Architects: Mirra Alfassa, Roger Anger

Passes for the Matrimandir Viewing Point can be obtained for free at Auroville's Visitors' Centre, after watching a short introductory video on the Matrimandir.

Timing for issuing of Passes at the Visitors' Centre:
Passes Issued: Mon. to Sat., 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
Sunday, 9.00 a.m. - 13.00 p.m. only
Sunday Afternoons Closed

Advance booking is required for every concentration in the Inner Chamber or Petal Meditation Rooms. A booking may be made:
  • by calling (0413) 2622204 between 10 and 11.30 am any day except Tuesday or
  • by email to from 3 days in advance up to 7 days in advance. Confirmation of such bookings will be done by return mail with booking numbers and other details.

Popular travel months include May, Aug and Dec–Jan. Pondicherry has a tropical climate with warm weather year-round. Jan–Jun is the dry season. The rainy season peaks during the Oct–Dec northeast monsoon. The International Yoga Festival (Jan) offers workshops and demonstrations. Masi Magam (Feb) a Tamil tradition, involves processions with temple idols and ceremonial bathing in the sea. Bastille Day (Jul), a celebration of French culture, has street parades, food and fireworks. The nearest aiport is Chennai.

Pondicherry Warnings and Dangers

Pay attention and respect the culture when in India. Most of the people use Bycyle for their daily commute. You will find women at the age of 60 riding bycyles and that's the culture of pondicherry.

There are many different social norms and taboos here, so research the area you’re visiting and follow these safety tips. Unless on the beaches of Goa, it’s best to dress conservatively. If someone does touch you or becomes aggressive, yell for help and tell the authorities.Carry tissue/toilet paper Some of the hotels do not have it.Always carry your passport with you. Put a sticky note inside with the local telephone number of your consulate.
Do not buy, sell, or use narcotics.Be aware of travel warnings, as some areas are considered unsafe for foreigners.
Never accept a ride if there’s someone accompanying the driver in a taxi or rickshaw. Don’t wear jewelry or carry large sums of money.


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