One of the hidden treasures of Pondicherry that adds a unique charm in the city tourism is the beautiful white pavilion having a fleur-de-lis like top which is esteemed as Aayi Mandapam or the Park Monument. Located right at the centre of another tourist attraction in Pondicherry, Bharathi Park, Aayi Mandapam is a historical construction that was built by Louis Gurre in the year 1854 for the gratefulness of an Indian courtesan. However, there is an interesting legend behind the construction of this masterpiece which tells that in the early 16th century, the king of Vijayanagara Empire - Krishnadevaraya once on his visit to Pondicherry came across a beautiful building which he assumed it to be a temple, which was actually a house of a devadasi. As a result of his misconception, he even bowed down on his knees and folded his hands to pay his reverence. Some passers-by giggled; however, one even asked the confused king that why he fell on his knees and even paid respect before the house of a temple dancer - devadasi. The whole incident mortified the king and as a result of that, he ordered to demolish her house. Hearing that, devadasi Aayi begged King for his mercy and even assured to demolish it on her own and to dig a pond in that place. The King yielded and Aayi kept her word and she built a tank that was used to supply fresh water to the locals.
The Aayi Mandapam was built in the 19th century when the entire city faces a water crisis. Pierre-Eugène Lamairesse - a French engineer got to know about Aayi Mandapam from where the water was supplied to French quarters (the place where Bharathi park stands now). For that canals were dug up to carry the potable water to the location of the French Quarter. When Napoleon III heard of this whole incident, he ordered to construct a memorial in the name of Aayi Mandapam. On the other hand, Bharathi Park is a perfect hideout in Pondicherry for all the nature lovers. This nature’s centre in the French town is a source of relief to locals as well as the tourists from the scorching heat, especially of the summer season. Whether for children who want a playful time or the family planning for a day-out picnic, Bharathi Park is one of the most frequented travel destinations in Pondicherry. Apart from the lush greenery and a soothing ambiance, the park is known for Aayi Mandapam along with several other historical sculptures. Around the park, there stand a number of colonial buildings that adorn the exquisite setting of the region.
Since Aayi Mandapam is located inside the vicinity of Bharathi Park, thus, the timings of Bharathi Park will be followed to visit the place. The park opens from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
No Entry Fee
20, Rue Saint Gilles Street, White Town, Puducherry, 605001