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3 DAY TRIP IN PONDICHERRY | PONDICHERRY - CHIDAMBARAM - GANGAIKONDA CHOLAPURAM

Beach | City | Lake & Backwaters | Pilgrimage | Historical & Heritage

Photo Credit: Flickr

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Trip Starting Point: Pondicherry Bus Station

Mode of Travel: Car (or Cab) | Bus

Trip Duration: 3 Days

Ideal Start Time: 9 AM (Day 1), 9 AM (Day 2) & 8 AM (Day 3)

Total Places Visited: 19

Day 1 & Day 2 Destinations
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

DAY 1 : PONDICHERRY

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Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 5.45 AM - 12.30 PM and 4 PM - 9.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Manakula Vinayagar Temple is one of the famous ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha and is a popular pilgrimage site in Puducherry.

Manakula Vinayagar Temple was in existence before the French came and settled in Pondicherry and the idol of Lord Ganesha is locally known as Vellakkaran Pillai. The French Jesuits and missionaries tried to demolish the temple several times, but every time local population saved the temple.

Facing the east near Bay of Bengal, the temple was known as Bhavaneshar Ganapathy, now called as Manakula Vinayagar. In Tamil Manal means sand and Kulam means pond near the sea. The temple is spread over an area of about 8000 sq. ft with outer mandapam, raja gopuram and outer enclosure. Measuring 18 feet in height, the gold plated kodikambam is a spectacular highlight of this temple. The outside wall of the temple depicts various forms of the Ganesha with its timelines and locations. The rich architectural .....

Miscellaneous

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 8 AM - 12 PM and 2 PM - 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Sri Aurobindo Ashram is a famous spiritual community (ashram) located in Pondicherry. Founded by Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa (The Mother) in 1926, it is one of the major highlights of Pondicherry and is visited by thousands of people from all over the world. The ashram is also the place of Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

The Aurobindo Ashram is one of the most visited tourism sites in Pondicherry. This ashram comprises several buildings and there are around 1,200 members along with 400 students living in this center.

The serene Aurobindo Ashram comes alive during the festivals. Thousands of tourists, followers and visitors come here. Despite the large crowd the members maintain discipline within the complex, restoring its peaceful environment. The ideals of the ashrams are based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and Mira Alfassa. The ashram contains a library, printing press, playground, art gallery, a dispensary/nursing .....

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 6 AM - 12 PM and 4 PM - 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple located on M.G.Road is believed to be the oldest temple in Pondicherry, dating back to 970 AD.

Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is also famous for its Dravidian architectural patterns, front gopuram and sculptured towers. The idol can be seen in standing form, majestically 5 feet tall.

The temple also houses a sannidhi for goddess called as Perundevi thayar. There is a mirror room in the temple. The Varadaraja Perumal temple houses assorted avatars of Lord Vishnu which are present in divyadesams.

The idols of lord Rama, goddess Sita, lord Lakshmana, lord Hanuman, Lord Navaneetha Krishna, Sri Santhanagopala and Sri Venugopala are present in the temple. The temple also houses two great Vaishnava Acharyas, Nikamanda Mahadesikan and Manavalamamuni. This temple is also famous for first rice feeding of children known as Annaprasana.

Sri Ramanavami festival, Vaikunta Ekadasi, .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km Pondicherry Bus Station, Ananda Ranga Pillai House is one of the oldest buildings in Pondicherry and is located right opposite the Grand Bazaar on Ranga Pillai Street.

Built in 1735, the mansion was named after Ananda Ranga Pillai, who was the courtier of Governor Joseph Francois Dupleix. This beautiful mansion is a perfect example of Indian and Gothic architecture styles. The ground floor is traditional Tamil architecture with a huge courtyard with wooden pillars with exquisite carvings.

Also called as Natives Quarters, this mansion is a treasure house to understand the French colonial period in Pondicherry as documented by Pillai in his diaries. The mansion was one of the few buildings to survive the British invasion and has been recognized by the Puducherry government as a heritage building.

Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and National holidays.
Entry Fee: Rs. 15

At a distance of 3 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Pondicherry Museum is situated in the Bharathi Park and is known for its unique collection of sculptures.

This museum has an excellent gallery with sculptures and has the remains of archaeological findings from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. This gallery is known to have artifacts belonging to Cholas and Pallavas rule of Pondicherry and Karaikal. Burial urns, French furniture, terracotta figures, crockery, guns, swords, paintings, mirrors and several other things dating back to different periods are preserved here.

The painting section includes Tanjore and glass paintings, colonial prints and contemporary oils, pastels and water colors. It has bronze statues of several gods and goddesses along with handicrafts, art work and temple lamps. The ground floor of the museum has a palanquin and pousse-pousse exhibited.

The museum also has a wide collection of snail shells collected from the beaches near Pondicherry.

Timings: .....

Museum & Gallery

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 10 AM - 5 PM. Closed on Mondays and National holidays.
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Jawahar Toy Museum is situated close to the Old Light House on Goubert Avenue near Gandhi Maidan in Pondicherry.

Jawahar Toy Museum is one of the popular museums carrying an exclusive display of a wide variety of toys. The museum has a collection of 120 dolls that are carefully labeled and dressed in beautiful costumes. These dolls and toys have been collected from several states in the country and are seen wearing the traditional dresses of that particular region. The rare collection of toys and decorated dolls represent the culture of different parts of the country. The museum is a must visit place for children.

Jawahar Toy Museum is one of the rarest toy museums in the country. The best collection includes dolls from Punjab, Bengal, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam, Kashmir and southern states. Through art and display, the Museum educates people about the importance of dolls and toys in Indian culture.

The .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
Entry Fee: NA

At a distance of 3 km Pondicherry Bus Station, The Old Light House is one of Pondicherry's most famous landmarks and is situated on Goubert Avenue.

The engineer of the project, Louis Guerre laid the foundation of this Lighthouse in 1835. The lighthouse is 29 meters high. Its round tower sits on a square base with a foundation 9 meters deep to stabilize the sandy ground on which it was built. However, the beacon had not arrived from France so the lighthouse was not operational until July 1836.

The light house was considered to be quite modern for that time with its unique structure. Its light beam could be seen from a distance of 15 miles. The light source consisted of six oil lamps and two reflectors. The light source was converted to electric lamps in 1913. The new lamp had a range of 26 nautical miles.

The lighthouse was shut down in the year 1979, but is an interesting place to visit.

Park

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 7 AM - 8 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Bharathi Park, also known as the Government Park is situated in the central region of the old colonial town of Pondicherry.

Government Park was once the location of the first French garrison and Fort Louis which were destroyed by the British. In 2006 the park was renovated and several new sections were included to make it more attractive. It is a beautiful and peaceful park ideal to spend time with family or for a morning / evening walk.

The Aayi Mandapam or the Park Monument is a famous monument which lies at the center of the park. At one point, Aayi Mandap was the main water source for Pondicherry town.
The Mandapam is an imposing structure that flaunts brilliant Greco-Roman architecture. The presence of flowerbeds, well-manicured lawns and beautiful fountains around the monument make it an attractive place.

There is a wonderful children's play area with several playground equipment. This park is surrounded .....

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 15 Mins
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, French War Memorial on Goubert Avenue is located in French Quarter (White Town). It was built in 1971 to commemorate the brave soldiers who laid down their lives during First World War.

The memorial has four stark white columns with a life-size statue of a soldier leaning on a rifle. On the memorial there is an inscription that says, 'Aux combattants des Indes Francoises morts pour la patrie, 1914-1918' which means French fighters of India who died for their country in 1914-1918.

The memorial is a popular tourist attraction in Pondicherry. There is a small garden built around the monument. The Memorial is beautifully illuminated on the Bastille Day which is celebrated on 14th July.

Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 24 Hrs
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Statue of Mahatma Gandhi is located on the beach front of Pondicherry. Built by the famous sculptor Roy Choudhary from Madras School of Art and Crafts, it is one of the major landmarks in Pondicherry. It is surrounded by eight exquisitely carved monolithic granite pillars which were brought from Gingee Fort.

The statue stands 4 m (13 feet) high is the 3rd biggest Mahatma Gandhi statue. It was inaugurated on January 26, 1965. The square in front of the statue referred to as Gandhi Thidal, plays host to various cultural and musical activities through the year.

There is a tunnel below the Gandhi statue which is believed to be leading to Gingee Fort. There were some efforts to explore the tunnel. But, after a few people died of suffocation, the tunnel was closed.

Beach

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 24 Hrs
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Promenade Beach is one of the popular beaches in Pondicherry along the Bay of Bengal. It is a 1.5 km long stretch between War Memorial and Dupleix Park. This is one of the top places to visit in pondicherry.

This beach is called by multiple names like rock beach due to rocks along the beach, Gandhi beach because of statue of Mahatma Gandhi and also as Promenade beach. Popularly this beach is also called Pondicherry beach because of its close proximity to the city.

It's a long stretch of rocky beach with benches and wide pavement for morning and evening walks. It is adjacent to Goubert Avenue, the historical section of the city which has several beautiful colonial buildings. This long stretch has statues of Jeanne d'Arc Dupleix, Mahatma Gandhi and War Memorial. There is also a 27 meter tall old Lighthouse near this place. The Hotel de Ville and Town Hall also adorn this .....

Overnight Stay in Pondicherry

DAY 2 : PONDICHERRY

Resume Pondicherry Sightseeing

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 30 Mins
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 3 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The statue of Joseph Francois Dupleix is situated in children's park on the beach road. Dupleix was one of the most popular French governors to Pondicherry. He tried to prevent British supremacy by forming alliances with local princes. With the defeat of French in Second Carnatic War, Dupleix resigned his governorship and returned to France.

The 2.88 m tall statue of Dupleix stands at the southern end of the park. This statue has been constructed over beautiful granite columns at Place du Republique. Even though Dupleix left Pondicherry in 1754, French recognition of his contribution came only in 1870, with the commissioning of two statues-one in Pondicherry and the other in France.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 7 AM to 6.30 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2.5 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, The Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus is one of the highly revered religious places in Pondicherry and is located on the south boulevard of the town.

It is one of the 21 Basilicas in India and only one in Pondicherry. This church was established in 1908 by the French missionaries and attained the status of basilica in 2011. This Catholic Church is one of the finest churches of Pondicherry.

The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. The structure is 50 meters long, 48 meters wide and 18 meters high and is held by 24 columns. One can see the biblical words on entrance written in Latin along with the images of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mother Mary carved in the entrance door.

It contains rare stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ and saints of the Catholic Church. A striking statue of Madonna is placed at the right side of the high altar. The statue .....

Park

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 1.5 km Pondicherry Bus Station, The Botanical Garden is located south of the New Bus Stand. The Botanical Garden along with Aquarium was established in 1826.

The Botanical Gardens is spread over an area of 22 acres in the center of the city. The garden is a famous retreat for locals and tourists. It is spread with pruned trees, flower beds and fountains. Perrotet was responsible for transforming the place into a botanical garden. His memorial can be seen inside the garden premises. He introduced many exotic plants from all over the world. In 1960, after the Transfer of Power from the French, the garden became the hub of horticultural development in Pondicherry.

There are 28 plots in the Botanical Garden and each one has separate theme. Other attractions of the Botanical Garden include Children's toy train, musical fountain, aquarium and a Japanese rock.

The aquarium is home to various types of fishes and other marine life.

Timings: 10 AM to .....

Lake & Backwaters

Duration of visit: 1 Hour
Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Entry Free. Boat ride cost varies.

At a distance of 6 km Pondicherry Bus Station, Chunnambar Boat House also known as Plage Paradiso is famous for its backwaters and it's a popular boating venue and is. Located on the Cuddalore main road, the backwater is situated at a point where the Chunnambar River meets Bay of Bengal. Paradise beach is usually reached by boat from Chunnambar Boat House.

Chunnambar Boat House is ideal for boating and also a great picnic spot. The backwater houses a nice resort managed by the Pondicherry Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (PTTDC), known as Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort. The resort offers a range of fun and entertainment options include trekking, yachting, backwater boat trips and beach games. The boating options include motor boats, speed boats, sail boats, rowed boats, water scooters, paddled boats and pedaled boats. Accommodation facility is available on tree top houses.

Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM. Ferry to Paradise Beach: 9 AM to 4 PM.

Boating Fee: .....

Beach

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 24 Hrs
Entry Fee: Free Entry. Need to take boat ride to reach the beach and cost varies.

At a distance of 8 km from Pondicherry Bus Station, Paradise Beach, also known as Plage Paradiso, is an isolated beach located at Chunnambar. This is one of the most famous beaches of Pondicherry and also one of the best Pondicherry tourist places.

The beach is extremely attractive as the sands are very clean and the water is crystal clear. The Paradise Beach is situated close to Cuddalore main road and it houses the famous Chunnambar resort.

Visitors have to cross the Chunnambar backwaters by boat to reach Paradise Beach. These boats leave from Chunnambar boathouse around 6 km from Pondicherry. The beach has shelters and palm trees for shade and protection from the sun and rain. There is one small bar which serves soft drinks and snacks. The tides at the beach are strong at times and it is not advisable to go deeper into the sea. This beach is famed for its lovely sunbathing options and resting under the cool breeze of .....

Overnight Stay in Pondicherry

DAY 3 : PICHAVARAM - CHIDAMBARAM - GANGAIKONDA CHOLAPURAM

Resume Pondicherry Sightseeing

Lake & Backwaters

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Boating cost varies

At a distance of 16 kms from Chidambaram & 217 Kms from Chennai, Pichavaram is among the most exquisite places of tourist interest and a scenic spot.

The backwaters are interconnected by the Vellar and Coleroon River system and offer abundant scope for water sports such as parasailing, rowing and canoeing. The Pichavaram forests not only offer scenic waterscape and backwater cruises but combines the mangrove forests. These are trees permanently rooted in a few feet of water.

The mangroves of Pichavaram are considered among the healthiest mangrove forests in the world. Pichavaram consists of a number of small islands interspersing a vast expanse of water and covered with green trees. The area is about 2800 acres and is separated from the sea by sand bars.

Pilgrimage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: 6 AM to 12.30 PM & 4.45 PM to 9 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 2 Kms from Chidambaram Bus Station and less than 1 Km from Chidambaram Railway Station, Nataraja Temple located in the centre of the town covers an area of 40 acres. It is one of the ancient temples of Tamil Nadu.

The roof of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with gold plates. The presiding deity of the temple is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe and is known as Akasa Lingam. Dedicated to Lord Nataraja, this ancient temple of the Cholas is unique as it one of Panchabootha sthala in India - and it is one of the rare temples where Shiva is represented by an idol rather than the customary lingam.

The Eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres. 108 Bharathanatyam dance gestures can be seen on the eastern tower as well as on the western tower. The northern tower rises to a height of 42.4 meters.

Timings: 6 AM to 12.30 PM & 4.45 PM to 9 PM

Historical & Heritage

Duration of visit: 1-2 Hours
Timings: Timings: 6 AM to 12 PM and 4 PM to 8 PM
Entry Fee: FREE

At a distance of 42 km Chidambaram, 76 km from Thanjavur, 110 km from Trichy & 268 km from Chennai, Sri Brihadeeswara Temple is situated at Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Gangaikonda Cholapuram was the capital of Cholas. It was built by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century. It occupies an important place in the history of India as the capital of the Cholas from about 1025 CE for about 250 years. This temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site 'Great Living Chola Temples'.

Rajendra Chola I has established this temple after his great victories in Northern India. He was originally called Madurantakan and assumed the title of Rajendra during his coronation and continued to rule along with his father Rajaraja-I for a while. Gangai Konda Cholapuram is regarded as the reproduction of Brihadisvara Temple that was built by Rajaraja Chola, father of Rajendra Chola. The temple is renowned for .....

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