The Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry is among the most popular tourist destinations of India. Famed for its French Colony, Tamilian style urban architecture, temples and beaches, Pondicherry promises to offer a good time to the tourists. From historical monuments, to magnificent sightseeing spots, this place has something for everyone. A beautiful blend of French architecture and authentic Indian charm is what makes Pondicherry worth visiting.

People & Culture
The locals of Pondicherry are multi-national and multi-ethnic. The culture of Pondicherry is a beautiful blend of various traditions. The locals can be spotted in beautiful traditional clothes, with men wearing pants and shirts, and women dressed in sarees, long skirts and blouses.
Music and Dance form an integral part of Pondicherry. Popular dance forms like Yakshgana, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Chau, Mohininattam, etc. are highly influenced by the rich heritage of the Tamil tradition. Also, Bhairavi is a popular Carnatic music circle in Pondicherry performed using instrumental as well as vocal skills. Locals here speak both French as well as Tamil.
The crafts of the city are both traditional and contemporary. Puducheri bommai, a handmade doll, is a popular local craft made from terracotta, papier-mache and plaster. Modern crafts of the city include handmade paper, rice paper, incense sticks, candles, hand woven cotton textiles, hand embroidered and painted fabrics, which make perfect souvenirs to take back home.

Dotted with a number of attractions, Pondicherry is a place that oozes serenity. The Botanical Garden featuring six stunning fountains, a large aquarium with ornamental fish, dancing fountain and a beautiful children’s train is among the must visit destinations of Pondicherry. The garden is home to 1500 species of plants, making it a treat for the worshippers of nature. The Promenade is another beautiful area which is perfect for a leisurely stroll amongst nature. This lively area houses few cafes and restaurants where the travellers can unwind.
To witness the perfect sunset, visit the Ousteri Lake which is recognised as one of Asia's important wetlands by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The beach lovers can head to Paradise Beach and Serenity Beach which serve as a perfect destination to relax. Both these beaches are the escape to steal some time from busy life and take a plunge in the powers of Mother Nature.

Pondicherry is a paradise for wildlife lovers. The Ousteri Wildlife Sanctuary is the most popular destination to eye wildlife from a closer perspective. It houses over 160 species of birds apart from 60 species of butterflies and 25 species of fish. The seasonal Bahour Lake, a freshwater wetland, is another awesome destination to spot beautiful birds. The coastal waters of Pondicherry house a variety of corals, fish and crustaceans. Also, few places in the city like the Karaikal region act as nesting spots for Olive Ridley turtles.

Pondicherry offers a wide list of options for adventure. Scuba diving is one of the most popular sports here. The city’s beautiful beaches like Paradise Beach and Karaikal Beach are home to brilliant coral reefs that are worth exploring. Travellers visiting these beaches can also partake in boating, jet skiing, canoeing, kayaking and backwater sailing to eye the unearthly beauty of the underwater world.

Religious Destinations
Pondicherry houses various religious sites that attract devotees from all around the country. No traveller visiting the city ever misses a chance to explore the Manakkula Vinayakar Temple, an ancient holy place beautified with forty incarnations of Ganesha carved on the stone walls. Thirunallur Temple is another famous temple of the city devoted to Lord Saneeswaran (Saturn). Sri Gokilambal Thriukameswara Temple is also among the prominent shrines here. It is famous for hosting Brahmostavam, a popular ten day long festival celebrated with the appearance of the full moon. Those who wish to witness the deeply-rooted belief of the locals in their religion must visit the Karaikal Ammaiyur Temple.
Other than temples, churches like Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus also deserve a visit to experience the Gothic charm. Dedicated to the sacred heart of Lord Jesus Christ, the church is renowned for its Gothic Architecture and stained glass panels with paintings depicting the life of Jesus.

The local vendors can be seen in Pondicherry selling home decor items and junk jewellery. There are also many Auroville shops and boutiques exhibiting artistic and intricate work handicrafts. Most of the beaches in the city are nestling with vibrant stalls, good enough to bag local gift items. In addition to this, one can also buy Southern silks and fabrics – a unique specialty of the city.

Pondicherry is perhaps the best place in the country to buy bona fide French baguettes, brioches and pastries. Do not miss a chance to taste delectable French dishes like Salad Niçoise (a healthy salad), Quiche (open baked tart with a savoury egg custard filling), Coq Au Vin (chicken casserole), Sole Meunière (flat fish called Sole) and Croque Monsieur (ham and cheese sandwich). Apart from the French food, the local restaurants also serve Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi cuisines.

Fairs & Festivals
Pondicherry remains soaked in the waters of festivities all year long. Pongal, a popular festival of Tamilians, is celebrated with much fervour in Pondicherry. The locals also pay much devotion to Masi Magam, another Tamil Hindu festival in which idols of god are taken in a procession to a water body for a traditional bath. Another vibrant festival that presents the multihued cultures and traditions of the locals is Villianur Temple Festival.
Veerampattinam Festival is another major festival celebrated in the village Veerampattinam - the biggest coastal village in the Union Territory of Pondicherry. In addition to this, travellers also love to partake in the Fete De Puducherry where the Government of Pondicherry organizes free evening cultural presentations. Food lovers must not miss a chance to participate in the French Food Festival – a one stop destination to taste delectable French delicacies.

Best time to Visit
The best time to visit Pondicherry is between October and February. October turns the city into a beautiful heaven. December and January are also perfect to explore the charms of Pondicherry. May and June are the hottest months and thus, must be avoided. The weather gets pleasant soon after July when the showers of the southwest monsoons wash away the humidity and scorching heat.

How to Reach
By Air - The closest airport to reach Pondicherry is at Chennai from where travellers can take a 3-4 hours taxi ride
By Train - The city is also connected with Chennai, Trichy and Villupuram via rail
By Road - Also, travellers looking for bus ride can find numerous direct bus links

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