Located on the Southern coast of India, Puducherry is a charming small town, popular with tourists. Formerly a French colony, it is still very French in its culture. Known as Pondicherry till its colonial name was officially changed to the local variant, the town acquired international fame because of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram situated here.
The colonial heritage buildings, stretches of unspoilt beaches and unhurried pace of life make Pondicherry an ideal place for rejuvenation and rest. The Aurobindo Ashram adds a meditative mood to the peace and beauty of the sea and sand. The only elements breaking the serenity are the riotous bougainvillaea bursting over the courtyard walls of houses.
The churches in Puducherry are definitely worth a visit. Built in the Gothic style, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is perhaps the most beautiful with the life of Christ exhibited along the glass panels behind the altar. Also on the must-visit list is the Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes, situated in Villiyanur on the outskirts of Puducherry, which was built on the same lines as that of the Basilica at Lourdes in France.
Puducherry is developing into a shopping destination with silks, textiles and traditional dolls being major attractions. At the Aurobindo Ashram, you can also buy unique handicrafts made by the people in their home.
The smiling faces, beautiful sunsets and the tranquillity of Pondicherry can be very seductive, encouraging travellers to visit it again and again.
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