The colonial name of Pondicherry was officially changed to the vernacular version ‘Puducherry’ in 2006. The Union territory is located on the east coast of south India. This erstwhile French colony was finally handed over to India in 1962. Tourism in Puducherry is focused on the district of Puducherry, which is the main town that acts as the headquarters of the territory. Being a former colony and a sea side town, there are many tourist destinations in Puducherry that are well worth a visit. These include some magnificent French buildings, temples, museums, gardens and monuments. Some of these destinations are being described below –
This promenade deserves the first mention, as it is the most popular tourist spot within the town. It stretches for 1.5 kilometers along the picturesque Bay of Bengal. The promenade is the location of many famous statues and monuments of Puducherry, including Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, Dupleix’s statue, and the War memorial. The 26 meter tall lighthouse is a famous landmark at the promenade.
This used to be the headquarters of the French administration. Several important government buildings used to be the center of French administration in the colonial era. Today this area is one of the tourist attractions of Puducherry as well as center of governance of the Union territory. The legislative assembly of the Union territory operates from the 18th century Palais du Gouverneur. The 'Place de Government', or government square also has some other prominent buildings and some beautiful monolithic structures.
This museum is a storehouse of many interesting artifacts related to the history and culture of the region. The roman artifacts belonging to the 2nd century AD excavated at Arikamedu are the most intriguing among the exhibits. The other impressive exhibits are the magnificent bronze and stone sculptures of the Pallava and Chola dynasties. The museum is located on the Saint Louis Street and is counted among the most popular tourist destinations in Puducherry.
The botanical garden is a famous spot covered by most tours of Puducherry. The garden was started in 1826 for research purposes, and was gradually opened for the entertainment of the public. The park has a vast and varied collection of flowers and trees apart from beautiful fountains, aquarium, and a toy train for children.
There are many other places to visit besides the above mentioned tourist destinations in Puducherry. These include historical monuments, and important religious spots. There are over 350 temples of varying size and importance, some of them built by the ancient rulers of the region. In addition, there are many churches and cathedrals, the most famous of which is the sacred heart of Jesus church. The well known monuments of Puducherry include the Park Monument, Bharathi & Bharathidasan Memorial Museums, and Ananda Ranga Pillai Mansion.
Touristplacesinindia.com provides online information about the major tourist destinations in Puducherry, and information about the other tourist places in India.