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31 Jul 2002

PONDICHERRY (Puducherry)

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Pondicherry is where French dreams of an Indian Empire began and ended and in the scattered territories of Pondicherry, there remains the best of what little there is of the French influence in India.The Union Territory of Pondicherry comprises four widely spread enclaves namely Pondicherry and Karaikal in Tamil Nadu, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe in Kerala.

 

Map picture

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area : 62 Sq. Km. Altitude : Sea Level.

Temperature : Summer Max: 41 Deg.C. Min: 30 Deg.C.

Winter Max: 31.1 Deg.C. Min: 24 Deg.C.

Rainfall : 143 cms. Season : Throughout the year STD Code : 0413

PLACES OF INTEREST

Shri Aurobindo Ashram : Aurobindo, a revolutionary -turned-saint from Bengal elaborated a system of 'Integral Yoga', synthesising yoga and modern science. He founded an Ashram in Pondicherry, which gave shape to his ideals. It was under the guidance of The Mother, a Paris born painter-cum-musician, that the Ashram developed as it is today.

In the main building, are the marble samadhi of Aurobindo and The Mother and the houses they lived in. Across the road is the Aurobindo International Centre, a school for children and in the town, are shops and cottage industries run by the Ashram.

Timings : 0800-1200 hrs. & 1400-1800 hrs. (Mon - Sat), 0800-1800 hrs.(Sun)

Conducted Tours of some of the Departments of the Ashram are organised daily at 0815 hrs. from the Reception Office. The tour takes about 3 hours by bus. There are no tours on Darshan Days and Holidays.

Further details may be obtained from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Information Centre, 3, Rangapillai Centre, Pondicherry - 605001. Tel : 339648.

The Promenade : The 1500 metres long promenade on the coast has the Gandhi Memorial, the French War Memorial and a 29 metre high Light House.

French Institute : A research centre for Indian languages and culture. The scientific and technical section prepares vegetation maps, maps of soil types and lithology of India.

Eglise de Sacre Coeur De Jesus :This church on the South Boulevard is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is noted for its Gothic architecture & stained glass panels.

Pondicherry Museum : Located opposite the Government Park, it provides a glimpse into Pondicherry's rich past and present. The sections of the museum are Archaeology, Geology, Bronze images, Handicrafts and Art, Sculpture and the French Gallery. Timings : 1000 to 1700 hrs. (closed on mondays and public holidays).

Other places of interest in Pondicherry are the Government Park, Botanical Gardens and Aquarium, Manakkula Vinayakar Temple, Bharathi Museum, Bharathidasan Museum Varadaraja Temple, Vedapureeswarar Temple, and the Ananda Rangapillai Museum.

EXCURSIONS

Chunnambar Boat House (8 Km.): A picnic spot with facilities of pedal boats, rowing boats, wind surfers, water scooters, kayaks and hydroplanes available for visitors.

Auroville (10 Km.): :The township of Auroville or the 'City of Dawn' was conceived as a tribute to Sri Aurobindo and was launched in 1968 with the co-operation of many nations, at the behest of The Mother. Auroville is a new concept symbolising an experiment in international living.The city is engaged in various activities including afforestation, farming, education and handicrafts.

Information Centre for casual visitors (1 day to 1 week visitors): Information, exhibition, videos, restaurant and shopping facilities.Tel: 622239. Timings: 0930-1730 hrs.

Auroville Guest Service for long term guests ( 1 month to 6 months or more) : For those guests who want to experience life in Auroville, follow a training or contribute their time and expertise in any of the various existing fields.

Accommodation is available in various settlements, charges varying from Rs.200/- to Rs.500/- per person. Advance reservation is desirable.Tel: 622704. Fax : 622274.

Daily Tours to Matri Mandir, Auroville are organised from Pondicherry. For details contact Sri Aurobindo Autocare Services, 18, Ambur Salai, Pondicherry – 605 001. Tel : 336586.

Villianur (10 Km.): The temple, here, built in the 12th century, is dedicated to Lord Thirukameswarar. The church, Eglise de Notre Dame De Lourdes in Villianur was constructed in 1876 on the model of the Basilica at Lourdes in Southern France.

Tiruvakkarai (18 Km.) : It has the country's first National Fossil Wood Park . Close to the fossil wood area is a temple of the Chola period with beautiful sculptures.

Arikamedu (20 Km.) : Recent excavations at some sites in Arikamedu have unearthed Roman coins, wine jars, etc. establishing it to be the earliest Indo-Roman trading centre.

Mandagapattu (50 Km.) : This is the location of the first Pallava Cave temple dedicated to the Hindu Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Chidambaram (74 Km.): Chidambaram is famous for the magnificient Natraj temple, one of the most venerated among the ancient temples of South India.

Gingee Fort (75 Km.) : Nestled on three hills and enclosed by a huge rampart sixty feet thick, stands the majestic Gingee Fort. The massive fortification walls of Gingee interconnect the three inaccessible hills - Krishnagiri, Chakkilidurg and Rajagiri. Kalyana Mahal, built in the Indo Islamic style is one of the most attractive ruins in the fort. Other places of interest nearby are the Venkataramana Temple and the Citadel on Rajagiri Hill. Accom: Hotel Riverview, 25060; Hotel Ganga, Tel: 23060; Hotel Gokul, Tel: 22410 ; Hotel Vasntha Vihar, 21496; Welcome Lodge, Tel 22401.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary (100 Km): One of the largest bird sanctuaries in India, spread over 30 hectares of marshy land, with a lake in which over 100000 migratory birds make their home every year. The majority of birds can be seen between November and February. The birds can be viewed from an observation tower on the tank bund and the best time to watch them is in the early morning or in the evenings. Accom: Vedanthangal Rest House, Resvns. : Wildlife Warden, DMS Compound, Anna Salai, Chennai,Tel: 4321471.

TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATION

Air : The nearest airport is Chennai (160 Km.), connected with major cities & towns.

Fare : Mumbai - Chennai Rs.4905/-(Y) Rs.7055/-(J)

Rail : Pondicherry is connected by rail with Chennai and other important cities and

towns of South India. Villupuram (32 km) is also a convenient railhead.

Fare : Mumbai - Chennai : IInd A/c : Rs.1580/- ; IInd class : Rs. 389/-

Chennai – Pondicherry : Chair Car : Rs.72/-

Chennai - Villupuram : II A/c : Rs.490/- ; IInd class : Rs.141/-

Road : Pondicherry is connected by motorable roads with Bangalore 303 Km., Chennai

162 Km., Chidambaram 68 Km.,Kanchipuram 136 Km., Kanyakumari 580 Km.,

Karaikal 125 Km., Madurai 330 Km., Mamallapuram 108 Km., Mumbai 1315

Km., Nagore 143 Km., Rameshwaram 465 Km.,Thanjavur 170 Km., Tirupati

222 Km., Tiruvannamalai 102 Km., Trichy 198 Km., Velankanni 158 Km.,

Villupuram 32 Km.

CONDUCTED TOURS

Places covered Timings Fare Starting Point

Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, 0900 hrs. Rs.63/- Tourist Inf.Bureau,

Water Sports Complex (Chunnambar) to 40, Goubert Avenue,

Botanical Garden, Museum and 1730 hrs. Pondicherry-605001.

Sea Cruising (Daily) Tel : 339497 / 333590.

Water Sports Complex (Chunnambar) 1400 hrs. Rs. 52/- ---do---

Auroville, Museum, Shruti Textile Show- to

Room & Aurobindo Ashram 1730 hrs. (Daily)

ACCOMMODATION

(*Hotels approved by the Dept. of Tourism, Govt. of India)

Single Double

*Hotel Pondicherry Ashok*** A/c Rs.1500/- Rs.2400/-

Kalapet Beach, Tel : 655160 , 655168 Suite --- Rs.3000/-

*Anandha Inn (P) Ltd*** A/c Rs. 1300/- Rs.1650/-

S.V. Patel Road,Tel: 330711-19

Annamalai International Hotel A/c Rs.1550/- Rs.1850/-

Kamaraj Salai, Tel: 247001

Hotel James Court Rs. 900-1000/- Rs.1150-1195/-

Kalapet, Tel: 655275-76.

Hotel Jayaram A/c Rs. 600/- Rs. 700-750/-

Kamaraj Salai, Tel: 227191-98 Non A/c Rs. 350/- Rs. 450/-

Hotel Mass Reg. Rs. 620/- Rs. 770/-

Maraimalai Adigal Salai, Tel:337221. Dlx --- Rs. 950-1350/-

Hotel Surguru A/c Rs. 620/- Rs. 770-990/-

S.V. Patel Road, Tel:339022-6. Non A/c Rs. 400/- Rs. 550/-

Hotel Surya International A/c Rs. 500/- Rs. 750-1500/-

Rangapillai Street, Tel: 227485, 336856 N. A/c Rs.450/- Rs. 600-700/-

Other Hotels

The tariff of the following hotels ranges from Rs. 200 - 550/- for a single room and from

Rs. 300 - 650/- for a double room.

Hotel Adithya, Kamaraj Street, Tel: 339769 ; Hotel Ajanta, Beach Road, Tel: 338898 ; Aristo Guest House, Mission Street, Tel: 336728 ; Hotel Blue Star, Kamaraj Salai, Tel: 338536 ; International Guest House, Gingee Salai, Tel :336699 ; Natesh Guest House, M.G. Road, Tel:339221; Hotel New Palace, Rangapillai Street, Tel: 334477 ; Hotel Ram International, Anna Salai, Tel :337231-39; Hotel Saibaba Guest House, Nehru Street, Tel: 337355 ; Hotel Sakthi Guru, Brindavanam, Tel:339081- 82 ; Shanthi Guest House, Suffren Street, Tel: 336473.

Other Accommodation

Society Guest Houses

Good Guest House, 12, Dumas Street ; Samarpan Guest House, Rue Suffren, Tel: 338972 ; Seaside Guest House, 14, Goubert Avenue,Tel: 36494, 221825 ; Shelter Guest House, 26, Dumas Street.

Ashram Guest Houses

Cottage Guest House, Rangapillai Street, Tel: 338434 ; Oriya Nilayam, Victor Asiamonel Street, Tel: 340125 ; Park Guest House, Goubert Avenue, Tel:334412.

Government Tourist Home, Upplam Road, Tel: 358276-78

Yatri Niwas, Kennedy Nagar,Tel : 339474.

Some important distasnces : Chennai 58 Km., Chengalpattu (Nearest Rly Stn) 30 Km.

Tiruvannamalai ( 102 Km.) : 56 Km from Villupuram, it is one of the sacred places of Tamil Nadu. Among it's many temples, the Arunachaleshwarar temple is a remarkable landmark. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, also known as Lingodhbhava, it is situated in the foot-hills of Tiruvannamalai and occupies an area of 44 acres. The Karthigai Deepam Festival held on the full moon day in Nov / Dec is very famous and attracts people from far and near. The Ashram of the mystic saint Ramana Maharishi is also worth visiting. Thiruvannamalai today, has become an international centre of study in Indian spiritualism. The Seshadri - Maharishi ashram and Yogi Ramsurat Kumar ashram (Visiriswamy) are located nearby.

TTDC conducts Thiruvannamalai - Girivalam tours from Chennai every Full Moon day at 0930 & 1400 hrs, returning the next day at 0600 hrs. Fare: Non A/c Rs.170/-; A/C Rs.275/-. Accom: Hotel Trishul, Tel:22219; Hotel Agash, Tel :22151; Hotel Lodge, Tel: 23291; Udipi Brindavan Lodge 22693; Thoumagal Lodge 22208.

Karaikal (160 Km.) : Lying on the eastern coast, Karaikal was a pilgrim centre right from ancient times, famous for the Karaikal Ammayar Temple.

Thirunallar (168 Km.) Saniswara Temple : Situated 5 Km. from Karaikal and 15 km from Nagapattinam, it is famous for the temple dedicated to Lord Saniswara, (Saturn) probably the only one of its kind in India.

TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRES

Tourism Department, 40, Goubert Avenue (Beach Road), Pondicherry, Tel : 333590 / 330532 / 339497. Fax: 358389

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