Temples, Elephants and Cultural Fusion

Maison Perumal is the perfect base to explore the side of Pondicherry many visitors never see. Apart from its famed waterfront-area charms, there's so much more to see. Visit the Aayi Mandapam, a Greek temple, incongruous yet charming, with a fascinating tale behind it. Or see the archeological ruins at Arikamedu and the old port of Poompuhar.

 


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Don't forget the Manakula Vinayagar temple, a ten minute walk from Maison Perumal. Laxmi the elephant is a joy to meet. Ananda Ranga Pillai Mansion was once home to a celebrated official of Dupleix, and his mansion is one of the oldest surviving buildings on the west side. Its architecture represents a charming blend of French and Indian styles.

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Into the Light

The Aurobindo Ashram is the living legacy of Sri Aurobindo, Indian nationalist and mystic, and his spiritual consort, known simply as The Mother.  Visitors are welcome, and there is a store with publications too. 

Also worth a visit is Auroville, the utopian city conceived from Aurobindo's vision for a new age. The Matri Mandir, with  it's remarkable golden discs, is the focal point of Auroville. A number of interesting ecological projects are also underway in the auroville area, and the visitor's centre there will be happy to give you details.

The Many Moods of the Coromandel

The ocean at Pondicherry, with its volatile and deep blue hues.

 

A French colony until 1954 , this coast-hugging town with colonial buildings, churches, statues and systematic town planning still preserves much of its colonial ambience.  Puducherry has been described by National Geographic Magazine as "a glowing highlight of  subcontinental sojourn".