GR Travels

Botanical Gardens

Pondicherry is well known for its various tourist hotspots, which attracts tourists all the year round to this destination. Apart from Auroville, Sri Aurobindo Ashram,various museums and beaches what is an important tourist place in Pondicherry is the Botanical Garden. The Botanical Garden in Pondicherry was opened to the public in 1826, it is located at the southern entrance of city bus stand. The Botanical Gardens situated in the center of the city provides a cool retreat from the oppressing heat and humidity of Pondicherry. It sprawls over a 22 acres area and here you can just relax and listen to the twittering of birds and explore the rich variety of flora here. The garden was started in 1826 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 mainly 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 Botanical Gardens is 178 years old and here you will find each and every tree or plant labeled with scientific, common and Tamil names. This has been possible due to the efforts of Department of Tourism.       Book Now



Raj Niwas

This building is erected on the foundations of the Hotel de la Compagnie, which was constructed around 1733; it was called Ancien gouvernment in 1748, then, Logement du gouverneur in 1753 (it is there that the successors of Dupleix stayed until 1761). Destroyed by the British, this edifice, called Hotel du Gouvernement, was rebuilt in 1766-68 by Bourcet; in 1820, it was ruined again; it was restored by Spinasse. Since then it has undergone several modifications but without changing the general plan of the mansion. The Government House (Raj Nivas) is a harmonious blend of French and Indian style architecture. It was once the location of the Hotel de la Compagnie (the French trading company that ruled in Puducherry from its first settlement in 1674 until the French government took over in 1769) and later played host to Dupleix. It is now the Lieutenant Governors residence. It is not open to the general public except on certain national holidays like Republic Day on 26th January, when it is adorned with lights and looks rather impressive. One can however get a glimpse of the grandeur within, through the tall imposing gates which are guarded by red kepi adorning police guards. The Place Du Gouvernement is a brilliant example of town planning in Pondicherry. At the centre, surrounded by a well-tended garden, stands the water monument, sculpted to commemorate the introduction of good drinking water for the population. Latin and Tamil inscriptions bear out the story. Some exquisitely carved monolithic pillars, brought to Pondicherry from the Gingee Fort after its capture in 1751, adorn the place.      Book Now



Aayi Mandapam

Visitors to the Aayi Mandapam, a 162-year-old heritage monument located at Bharathi Park in the centre of the Boulevard, are now greeted by wide cracks that have developed in the columns of the structure on entering the park. The historic monument, which has been made the official emblem of the Union Territory, was constructed during the period of French emperor Napoleon III as a tribute to commemorate the efforts of Aayi, a courtesan, who razed her house to provide perennial drinking water supply to this former French outpost. Although the monument was brought under the maintenance of the Public Works Department (PWD) after it was identified as a heritage building, the officials carried out little renovation work and it has been left to wallow in neglect with black patches proliferating on the structure. An official in the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) said that the building had not suffered any significant structural damage. Though it is listed as a Grade I heritage structure, the government is least bothered about the maintenance. Cracks have developed all over the columns and the pediment with plasters peeling off. The water fountain located in the middle of the imposing structure has also become defunct. Lime plastering is needed to restore the uniqueness of this monument, the official said. According to the INTACH, Aayi Mandapam, an ornate masonry pavilion with domed roof was constructed during the second French empire to house a water fountain.       Book Now



Manakula-Vinayagar-Temple

LONG, long, ago when Europeans ruled Pondicherry, there lived an atheist who was a bosom friend of the governor of the state. No one knows for certain whether the governor and his friend were Dutch, Portuguese, English or French, for these were the four who ruled this historically renowned place at different times. To come to the story, the atheist behaved like a despot and quite often ill-treated the natives. The governor neither questioned his attitude nor lent his ear to the grievances of the natives. Since none dared to question him, the atheist poked his nose into the worship of Hindu idols. He had often seen the natives going to a temple, very near to the sea. He had nurtured a strong desire to throw away the idol of the temple into the sea and demolish the temple. One day the atheist went with his followers to see what the natives did in the temple. He was taken by surprise when he entered the temple. Some people prostrated themselves before the image; some lit camphors and broke coconuts against the stone slabs; some closed their eyes and recited mantras while some stood silently praying to the Lord. What was more surprising to the atheist was the curiously shaped image which the natives called God. The image had a big and oval face with a long trunk for a nose. It had a pot like belly and its color was pitch black. He saw the natives praying in silence. He knew well that the natives could not have brought in another image within that short time. But at the same time he wondered at the sudden reappearance of the image.      Book Now



Chunnambar-Boathouse

Chunnambar Boat House & Water Sports Centre located 8 km from the city of Pondicherry and along the Cuddalore Main Road, is an amazing tourist attraction and an excellent place relaxation. Chunnambar Boat House offers great water sporting adventure and is an ideal place for having a relaxed sun bath. Here one can enjoy the unmitigated beauty of vast sand and shades of blue sea blending together. This tropical paradise is filled with tranquil creek on one side, downstream lies the sand. Tourist have an option to enjoy overnight stay in a tree house on the backwater. The Chunnambar backwaters are quite beautiful. This resort provides facilities like, boating, backwater boat tours, trekking and picnics in and around the area. The beach at the mouth of the backwaters is called, Plage Paradiso or the Paradise Beach. It is a very serene and beautiful beach and one must visit it. Tourists can also take a short cruise to sea to enjoy the playful sights of dolphins horsing around. Ferry to Paradise beach also starts from Chunnambar Water Sports Centre. This ferry service runs from 9 AM to 5 PM only. Tourists can also opt for smaller speedboats at a higher price. Chunnambar Boat House is one of the finest houseboats in the union territory. A houseboat cruise will take you past paddy fields, remote traditional villages, fishing nets, water lilies and dense coconut groves. Many common and rare species of marine life such as otters, turtles, crabs and frogs and water birds like terns, kingfishers and cormorants dwell in and around the expansive water bodies.      Book Now


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