Puducherry, better known as Pondicherry, is a scenic and quaint town on the south-eastern part of the Indian Peninsula. With remnants of the French colonial past spread across the town’s architecture and crystal clear beaches surrounding it, the city is among the most admirable destinations in South India.

A visit to Pondicherry is an experience that no seasoned vacationer would want to miss. While there are plenty of places to visit in Pondicherry in one day, a retreat to the idyllic town for 2 days is an even better choice, especially, if you wish to explore the variety of attractions that it has to offer.

Places to Visit in Pondicherry:

La Maison Rose Villa Helena
Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges Rock Beach
French War Memorial Paradise Beach
Kairakal Beach Serenity Beach
Ousteri Lake Botanical Gardens

Here we have made a comprehensive list of the quintessential places to discover and explore in Pondicherry, based on the number of days you have in hand:

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Places to Visit in Pondicherry in one day

If you are here only for one day, a trip to the French Colony should definitely top the list. This part of the town has numerous attractions and delightful architecture that would indulge your senses.

The French Colony, also known as the White Town area, this two-century-old French quarter of Pondicherry is a must-visit. One can find a plethora of interesting colonial places dotting the lanes. The French influence is so great that even the streets are named in French. The grid-like patterned streets are also reflective of how the ancient planned city of Rome was built. Here are a few places to visit in the French colony of Pondicherry in a day:

1. La Maison Rose, Pondicherry

La Maison Rose is an excellent example of old French colonial architecture that has been converted into three boutique shops – Domus, Oh la la and Amethyst. While here, you can shop for unique souvenirs, jewellery and clothes. The interiors of the La Maison Rose retain the vintage allure supplemented with books and paintings of the bygone era.

  • Location: Romain Rolland Street
  • Timings: 10.30 AM – 10.30 PM, all days of the week

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2. Villa Helena, Pondicherry

Villa Helena, a heritage hotel with a beautiful garden restaurant, is another fine example of an old colonial-style building in White Town. Vacationers can enjoy sumptuous multi-cuisine food and cocktails here, while soaking in the old-world charm of the place.

  • Location: Bussy Street
  • Timings: 12 Noon – 3 PM, 7 PM – 10 PM, all days of the week

3. Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges, Pondicherry

The Eglise De Notre Dame Des Anges is one of the oldest churches in the White Town area, built in the 18th Also known as the Church of Our Lady of Angels, this magnificent church is an architectural feat that resembles the Basilica at Lourdes in France. From the church, you can see the pristine green waters of the Bay of Bengal. Apart from a towering statue of Mother Mary holding baby Jesus, this historical site has an intricate statue of Joan of Arc. Another interesting trivia is that the only mass in Pondicherry is held here.

  • Location: Dumas Street and Surcoof Street
  • Timings: 7.00 AM – 6.30 PM

4. Rock Beach, Pondicherry

It is one of the most beautiful beaches in Pondicherry, and is also known as Gandhi Beach or Promenade Beach. It stretches for about 1.5 km and offers an amazing view of the scenic landscape and the iconic landmarks that surround it.

  • Timings: 24 hours
  • Activities: Enjoy a leisurely stroll admiring the panorama

5. French War Memorial, Pondicherry

If you are a history enthusiast, you must definitely visit the French War Memorial built in 1937, dedicated to the martyrs of World War I. Located near the beach, the memorial serves as the venue for Bastille Day celebrations on July 14 every year.

  • Location: Goubert Avenue
  • Timings: 10.00 AM – 5.00 PM, all days of the week.

Places to visit in Pondicherry if you have 2 days

Pondicherry is a town replete with natural attractions that can only be enjoyed if you stay for more than one day. If you have an adventurous streak and are on the lookout for a good adrenaline rush, exhilarating water sports adventures at the popular beaches await you. Apart from the beaches, Pondicherry also has beautiful lakes and parks around the town.

6. Paradise Beach, Pondicherry

Also known as the Plage Paradiso Beach, Paradise Beach is one of the cleanest beaches in Pondicherry, popular for its golden sands and clear waters. This beach is only accessible by a boat ride. You can enjoy sunbathing or relax under the cool shade of majestic palm trees lining the beach.

  • Timings: 9.00 AM – 6.00 PM, all days of the week.
  • Activities: A boat ride through the Chunnambar backwaters surrounded by lush mangrove forests is a unique experience in itself. You can take photographs of numerous birds and if lucky, you may even spot dolphins.  You can also indulge in a game of volleyball at the beach. The most exciting part about a trip to the Paradise Beach is that you can spend the night in a tree house, an ultimate treat for nature lovers.
  • Fee for Boat Rides: Motorboat rides cost approximately Rs. 50 for short trips and Rs. 100 for longer ones. Speedboat rides cost Rs. 125 for short trips and Rs. 250 for long trips. A short trip on a 2-seater Jet Ski costs Rs. 250 and a long one costs Rs. 500.

7. Kairakal Beach, Pondicherry

Situated in the city of Karaikal, Kairakal Beach is another tourist hotspot for adventure lovers as well as for those seeking solitude. The spectacular view of the sunrise from this beach is simply breath-taking. If visiting Pondicherry for 2 days, this beach is a must-visit, located about three to four hours from the main town area. This beach offers the best activities for all to enjoy and spend a great time with friends and family.

  • Timings: 9.00 AM – 5.00 PM, all days of the week.
  • Activities: Kayaking, boating and canoeing are some of the activities that one can choose from at the Karaikal Beach. A volleyball match on the beach or a swim in the shallow waters are also great ideas.

8. Serenity Beach, Pondicherry

Serenity Beach is a well-known beach in Pondicherry. You can spend your time leisurely on the beach while relaxing to the meditative sound of waves crashing. This beach is also quite popular among surfers who come here to catch the waves.

  • Timings: The beach closes at 6.30 PM, all days of the week.
  • Activities: You can head for a swim along the shoreline in the shallow waters. If you are more adventurous, try surfing. Also, don’t forget to take pictures of the tranquil greenery surrounding the beach. Apart from boating, kayaking and canoeing, you can also shop at the Serenity Beach Bazaar open only on weekends from 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM. Also known as the Handicraft Market, it offers products that mostly come from local boutiques around town. You can also learn the art of yoga at one of the many yoga centres located here. 

9. Ousteri Lake, Pondicherry

Ousteri Lake is a beautiful artificial lake built a century ago, and is one of Asia’s important wetlands. Covering an area of 390 hectares, this massive lake is the largest catchment area for fresh water in Pondicherry. Over 40 species of migratory birds such as the Open-bill Stork, Golden Oriole and Painted Stork among others migrate to this lake every year.

  • Timings: 9.00 AM – 5.00 PM, all days of the week.
  • Activities: You can indulge in bird watching on a boat ride and enjoy taking photographs with your loved ones against the backdrop of the picturesque lake.

10. Botanical Gardens, Pondicherry

 The historical Botanical Gardens is truly a nature lover’s delight. Constructed in the early 19th century by French colonists, the gardens house over 1500 species of plants covering an area of 22 hectares. The common flora seen here are the several different species of roses, along with bright orchids and jasmines. Kids would absolutely enjoy the fascinating train ride inside the Children’s Park.

  • Timings: 10.00 AM – 5.00 PM
  • Entry Fee: The entry to the gardens is free. However, the fee for train ride is Rs. 10 for adults and Rs. 5 for children.

11. Auroville, Pondicherry

This is one of the most famous places in Pondicherry and a must-visit for solace seekers. Founded in 1968, Auroville is a universal town where people from any country can live together in peace and harmony, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and status. In the middle of the town, there is a temple called ‘Matrimandir’ which symbolizes the universal Mother.

  • Location: Viluppuram
  • Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM for visitors

12. Shri Aurobindo Ghosh Ashram, Pondicherry

This popular spiritual community or ashram in Pondicherry was founded by Shri Aurobindo (Indian freedom fighter) in 1926. It is one of the most important tourist places in Pondicherry for tourists looking for peace and tranquillity. 

  • Location: Marine Street
  • Timings: 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM

13. The Pondicherry Museum, Pondicherry

The museum houses an amazing collection of bronze sculptures of the Chola and Pallava dynasties. It also has artefacts that were found during the archaeological excavations at Arikamedu. It takes at least two hours to see all the collections on display.

  • Location: Easwaran Kovil Street
  • Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM
  • Entry Fee: INR 10 for adults, INR 5 for children, INR 50 for foreign nationals

14. Chunnambar Boathouse, Pondicherry

If you love boating, Chunnambar Boathouse is a must-visit. It is also known as “Plage Paradiso” and is located where Chunnambar River meets the Bay of Bengal. You can enjoy a relaxing sunbath here, while admiring the unmitigated beauty of the place. 

  • Location: National Highway 45A, Nonankuppam
  • Timings: 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Entry Fee: INR 10 per head, with extra charges for water sports and other activities

15. Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Pondicherry

This temple dates back to 600 AD and is considered the oldest Hindu temple in Pondicherry. It is dedicated to Sri Varadaraja Perumal, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It displays the Dravidian style of architecture and also has an eye-catching gopuram with many sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. 

  • Location: Mahatma Gandhi Road, Heritage Town
  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Places to visit in Pondicherry if you have 3 days

Pondicherry

16. Auro Beach

The serene and exotic Auro Beach or Auroville Beach in the “City of Dawn” is a major part of the ashram. Thousands of locals and tourists visit this beach every day to enjoy different activities and relax in a serene environment. 

  • Location: Auroville Beach
  • Activities: You can enjoy a swim in the sea or stroll on the sands. The waters of the beach experience low tides; hence surfers and water sports enthusiasts can spend quality time here enjoying their favourite activities. 

17. Bharati Government Park

This lush green park is one of the most soothing places to visit in Pondicherry. Well-maintained lawns, fountains, and seasonal flowers accentuate its beauty. You must also check out the Aayi Mandapam or Park Monument here. This popular structure flaunting stunning Greco-Roman architecture was the main source of water in Pondicherry in earlier times.

  • Location: Rue Saint Gilles Street, White Town
  • Timings: 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM

18. Jawahar Toy Museum

This is a great place to visit with kids. It showcases over 120 dolls decked up in vibrant traditional costumes of different Indian states. Hence, this museum is a perfect place where both kids and adults can know more about the cultures of the states in India.

  • Location: Old Light House on Goubert Avenue
  • Timings: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Entry Fee: Entry to the museum is free

19. Arikamedu

If you are keen to learn more about the history of South India, Arikamedu is a must-visit. This archaeological site was built in the 19th-century and it once served as an important trading place in Pondicherry. Intensive studies and several excavations at the site confirm trade connections with the Roman Empire during the supremacy of Augustus Caesar. 

  • Location: Ariyankuppam
  • Timings: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

20. Old Lighthouse

This is yet another delightful site for history buffs. It was built in the 19th-century by the French rulers and was once the only guiding light for ships at sea. Although the lighthouse was shut down in 1979, it is still a popular tourist attraction in Pondicherry.

  • Location: Goubert Avenue
  • Timings: 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM

21. Kokilambal Thirukameshwara Temple

It is also known as Villianur Temple and is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Thirukameshwara and Goddess Kokilambal. The temple has exquisitely sculpted majestic towers and several pillars with carved images. It is also known for the annual temple car festival celebrated here during May and June.

  • Location: Villianur
  • Timings: 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM

22. Manakula Vinayagar Temple

This ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is quite popular in Pondicherry. It is spread over an area of 8000 sq. ft and has a spectacular gold-plated kodikambam. The outside wall of the temple with different forms of Lord Ganesha is unmissable. The shrine also has a golden vimana that enhances its architectural beauty.

  • Location: White Town
  • Timings: 5:45 AM to 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM

23. Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus

The church is one of the most sacred religious places in Pondicherry. It was established in 1908 by the French missionaries and boasts excellent Gothic architecture. When you visit the church, remember to check the stained glass panels depicting events related to the life of Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Location: South Boulevard
  • Mass Timings: 5:30 AM, 12:30 AM, 6:00 PM from Monday to Saturday
    • 5:30 AM, 7:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 5:00 PM, 6:15 PM on Sunday

24. Park Monument

When visiting places in Pondicherry, make sure you check out the Park Monument. It is also known as Aayi Mandapam and was built during the reign of the French Emperor Napoleon III. This iconic structure stands proudly in the middle of the Bharati Government Park.

  • Location: Rue Saint Gilles Street, White Town
  • Timings: 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM

25. Statue of Dupleix

The statue was built in 1870 in the honour of Dupleix, a French Governor who ruled Pondicherry till 1754. It is made of granite and is positioned at the end of Rock Beach. If you are interested in the history of the French colonial rule over Pondicherry, this statue is a must-visit. 

  • Location: Goubert Avenue
  • Timings: 24 hours

Pondicherry is an idyllic tourist haven and a quiet and peaceful retreat away from the bustling lifestyle of cities. Besides, the numerous historical landmarks and natural attractions that can be visited in a day or two, await you. From various water sports adventures around the tranquil beaches to the town’s colonial heritage, vacationers can keep themselves entertained throughout and make the most of their holiday.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pondicherry:

Q: Which are the must-visit beaches in Pondicherry?

A: Serenity Beach and Auroville Beach in Pondicherry are definitely a must-visit, especially if you're a surfer or an amateur interested in learning the sport. Paradise Beach truly justifies its name and is known for its choice of water activities. For a quiet stroll, Reppo, Promenade and Veerampattinam beaches in Pondy are ideal.

Q: Where can I go to enjoy the nightlife in Pondicherry?

A: There are some amazing pubs and nightclubs in Pondicherry, the most popular of all being Pub Zipper, Toxic, L'Aqua, Tantra, Bay of Buddha, Ozone Bar and Dragon Lounge.

Q: Which are the ideal months to visit Pondicherry?

A: October to March makes the best time to visit Pondicherry when the weather is not too hot but just chilly enough to be pleasant for sightseeing and other outdoor activities.

Q: Suggest some good places to eat in Pondicherry.

A: Café dés Arts, Le Rendezvous, Surguru, Domus, Satsanga, Restaurant Chez Francis, Maison Perumal, Kasha Ki Aasha, Bay of Buddha and Gelateria Montecatini Terme are the top 10 restaurants in Pondicherry for an eclectic dining experience.

Q: How to reach Pondicherry?

A: Pondicherry Airport has direct connectivity to Bangalore and Hyderabad. Moreover, the railway station at Puducherry services regular express and high-speed trains from different parts of the country. You can also reach Pondy via taxis or PRTC buses from cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirupati, etc.