GR Travels

Ousteri national park

The Government Park or Bharati Park is in the green centre of the French Town and its lush trees provide ample relief from the scorching sun on a hot summer day. With children playing in the ponds, on the hill or in the traffic park, grownup sitting or lying on granite benches, families on a picnic and occasional sit ins of striking citizens, the park is the most appreciated public area in the town. Strolling under the cool trees is as dynamic as it gets unless people rush to the spot when an occasional movie is being shot. The Aayi Mandapam has become the unmistakable centre from which four lanes divide the Park in almost equal parts. The area is dotted with ancient sculptures and not so ancient statues. Around it stand a number of stately buildings: The Raj Nivas The residence of the Lt. Governor, formerly the Palace of the French Governor of Pondicherry. The Museum situated opposite the Raj Nivas on St Louis Street, houses an interesting collection of excavated artefacts from the Roman Times and heritage from the French Period. Towards the east, hidden behind a thick wall and huge trees lies the former French bandstand on which the French Army Band used to play. On the southern side are the Pondicherry Art Gallery, Hotel Qualithe and the Chamber of Commerce, all built with a street front in colonial style. The UCO bank is surrounded by its own garden premises with a mighty stair which invites you to the interior of a traditional bank. Past the General Hospital on the western side are the Legislative Assembly and the Circle de Pondicherry. Turning back towards the Raj Nivas on the left is beautiful Villa Aroume, which houses the Ashram Dining Room.      Book Now

Bahour Lake

The century old man made Ousteri Lake also referred to as Osudu Lake is situated about 10 kms from Puducherry town and has been recognized as one of the important wetlands of Asia by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and it is the most important freshwater lake in the Pondicherry region. The structure of the lake is complex consisting of water, wetland/marsh and mudflats; it acts as the single largest catchment of fresh water in Puducherry. The 390 hectares lake (part of it lies in Tamil Nadu) supports a variety of fauna and flora. The vegetation ranges from small herbs to trees, which supports migratory avifauna as well as native birds during summer and winter. Ousteri Lake will be developed on the lines of Vedanthangal water bird sanctuary near Chennai. More than forty migratory birds reside throughout the year at the Ousteri Lake. According to the Tourism Department, different species of golden oriole, open bill stork, tailor bird, painted stork, white ibis, white-breasted water-hen and spotted owlets visit the water body particularly after November every year. The forest department has decided to document the varieties of birds visiting Pondicherry to update and prepare a comprehensive database about the winger visitors. Under the governments renovation plan the region near the lake will be make litter free so that it becomes favourable of the migratory birds. The lake region will be declared as no-horn and plastic free zone. They will take care of the maintenance of the newly declared bird sanctuary. Sign boards with complete details of birds and eight feet by six feet multicolour paintings of birds will be set up at different places of the sanctuary. The department will also plant more tress near the water body. Apart from these, a three floor interpretation centre with library and audiovisual room and a small park will also be established. The centre will enable visitors to attain complete information about the birds visiting the water body.       Book Now

Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens add great educational and recreational value to Puducherry. The gate leading to the garden is reminiscent of French architecture and it stands out from its immediate surroundings because it is smack in the middle of the old Tamil town. The Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1826 in ornate French style, with pruned trees, beautiful flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The French introduced many exotic plants from all over the world, many of which thrived. The sprawling 22 acres garden houses more than 1500 species of plants with placards indicating the species, common name and interesting information like the uses of the tree, amount of oxygen generated and its medicinal value; this could well qualify as one of the best botanical gardens in South India. A mix of endangered and exotic species of plants is spread out all over the place. There are 28 plots dividing the Botanical Garden and each has a separate theme. The garden was started by the French colonists on an experimental basis to analyze the crops that could be cultivated in the region. Later trees were planted here and Perrottet was instrumental in transforming the place into a botanical garden in 1831. His memorial can be seen inside the premises. In 1960, after the Transfer of Power from the French, the garden became the hub of horticultural development in Pondicherry. The gardens also offers Toy train rides, six fountains one of which is a musical and dancing fountain - active on weekends, with two shows in the evening. It also boasts of a Japanese rock structure and an aquarium. The timings and the frequency of the shows may vary depending on the season.      Book Now

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