Easily approached from Chennai via the scenic East Coast Road, the former French enclave has just a few square kilometres of scenic French architecture spread out over a neatly arranged block of streets that retain their French names. Every building, though, speaks volumes of its past. Some host luxury hotels such as Le Dupleix and Le Promenade, while others have been turned into cafés and pizzerias. Prominent among them are Rendezvous, Satsanga and Don Giovanni among scores of others.
The Aurobindo Ashram, named for the revolutionary poet-saint Aurobindo Ghosh, is a prominent and pervasive presence in Puducherry. One half of the town, with its grey-painted buildings, is administered by the Ashram; the other contains French offices and institutions such as the Romain Rolland Library, Alliance Francaise and the French Institute.
About 12 km north of Puducherry is Auroville, established by Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator Mirra Alfassa from Paris. After Aurobindo’s death, she became the spiritual guide of the community he founded and became known as the Mother. Auroville, and its central edifice, the awe-inspiring Matri Mandir, was constructed according to her vision.
Charming beaches such as Serenity Beach and the Auroville Beach draw visitors from all over, but they eventually consume themselves shopping for clothes, jewellery and leather apparel at Nehru Street.
If you plan to go during a weekend, avoid driving, as the Beach Road is barricaded off for the convenience of tourists.
Read more about Puducherry.
Top 12 Travel Destinations
Here’s our selection of the 12 most captivating Indian holiday destinations of 2012. Feel free to argue but, most importantly, get up and pack!By Bijoy Venugopal | Yahoo! India News – Fri 7 Dec, 2012 10:28 AM IST
From shaking up the very foundations of the Indian government to stirring up unseemly controversies, from showing incredible courage in the face of extreme adversities to losing a reputation built over years of hard work in just a blink of an eye, from setting the electoral hustings afire with golden speeches to getting into trouble for not speaking at all, there were many 'newsmakers' in 2012 who caught the common man's imagination. Some made it for stellar reasons, others for all there is wrong with the society. Here are 12 'newsmakers' that deserve a mention. More »
Trying to pick twelve travel destinations in India is a little like choosing the twelve best feathers on a peacock’s train, but pick we must. The most dramatic phenomenon we’ve observed in 2012 is the rising number of Indians choosing their own country for a great holiday. At one end of the spectrum, they are hitchhiking and backpacking. At the other they are patronising the most luxurious hotels and resorts once reserved for tourists brandishing wads of foreign exchange. Keen to experiment, they are experiencing everything from scuba-diving to cycling. Many are taking to wildlife and landscape photography with a passion. Here’s our selection of the 12 most captivating Indian holiday destinations of 2012. Feel free to argue but, most importantly, get up and pack! More »
It was an eventful year in the world of finance and business, one that actively involved all three actors: the government, people and even the common man. From violent employee agitations to controversial reform proposals and volatile economic indicators, we compile the twelve defining news events of 2012. More »