Pondicherry Attractions


    There is an interesting story behind the construction of the Aayi Mandapam.

    King Krishnadevaraya, the ruler of the prosperous Vijayanagara Empire, ruled over the Deccan. His empire stretched from Karnataka to Kanyakumari. One day, the king set out from his capital at Hampi and went on a tour of his kingdom.

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    Auroville - or the 'City of Dawn' - was conceived as a place of research into the ideal of human unity by the Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. The idea is to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill can live together in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Auroville came into existence in 1968.

    Visits to the Matrimandir are allowed during the following timings:
    Mon - Sat: 9:30am - 12:30pm and 2:00pm - 4:30pm
    Sun: 9:30am - 12:30pm only

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    Looking out over the Bay of Bengal, with its frontage facing the rising sun, the church of Our Lady of Angels stands in the former Capuchins' square, surrounded by the streets Dumas, Surcouf and Romain Rolland. Between the church and the sea lies a little garden, in the middle of which stands a statue of Joan of Arc, armoured and carrying a battle standard. The statue and the garden bearing her name, were acquired and gifted by Francois Gaudart, politician and industrialist, shortly before his return to France in 1919. The statue was installed in April 1923.

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    Sri Aurobindo and the Mother stayed, for over half a century, in a block of four houses that came to be known as the Ashram main building at Pondicherry. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother moved from 41, Rue Francois Martin to 9, Rue de la Marine on 25 October 1922. The property later came to be known as the Library House (because of a library on its ground floor) - this is the house that you first see as you enter the main gate of the Ashram main building. After a few years, two adjacent houses - 7, Rue de la Marine (Rosary House) and 8, Rue Saint Gilles (Secretariat) - were taken on rent for the disciples. Finally, the house at 28, Rue Francois Martin (Meditation House because of the two halls used for collective meditation) was rented in December 1926 and almost immediately purchased.

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    Chunnambar is situated 8 kms from Puducherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical paradise is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cosy seaside tent for yourself. Overnighting within the tree-houses on the backwater provides a relishing experience of the great outdoors.

    The beach at Chunnambar also known as Plage Paradiso or 'Paradise Beach' is located near the mouth of the backwater. The sand is pristine and the water is clean. It's an ideal place for sun bathing and beach sports. A short, pleasant cruise into the sea from here could reward you with the memorable sight of playful dolphins in natural habitat, horsing around.

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    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 - 30 January 1948) was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahatma (Sanskrit: "high-souled", "venerable") - applied to him first in 1914 in South Africa - is now used worldwide. He is also called Bapu in India.

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