Heritage Walk in Pondicherry
Pondicherry is a city which is beautifully seeped in history and culture, where the rich old past and surreal present collided together to form a prodigious heritage that has exquisitely manifested itself in the city’s air. And with a Heritage Walk, one gets to unveil the invincible heritage along with the resplendent history of the French town of Pondicherry.
1. Ashram Walk:
Starting Point: Ashram Office
Ends at: Ashram Dining Room
Total Distance: 1 km
Estimated Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Ashram Walk on the heritage tour of Pondicherry takes you down to lanes of the history of Aurobindo Ashram. From its establishment days to the present time, you get a glimpse of everything historical that has been a part of Aurobindo Ashram. The ashram was founded by the Sri Aurobindo Ghosh in the year 1926 and was taken to the new heights by Mirra Alfassa - a Parisian Mystic who is also esteemed as The Mother. Today, the Ashram has a number of constructions that together make it one of the popular heritage sites in Pondicherry. A heritage walk to the Ashram covers the northern section of Pondicherry. On this walk, you will be taken past various French edifices like French Institute, French Consulate and Ashram Art House. Besides, you will also get to see some shops that are selling products made by Ashram ancillaries.
- Ashram Office
- French Consulate
- French Institute
- Ashram Library
- Ashram Art House
- Ashram Playground
- Le Foyer de Soldat - a magnificent hall built for those soldiers who had been a part any French war.
- Ashram and Samadhi
- Golconde - the residential quarters of the Ashram’s people
- La Tienda - shop
- Vak Bookshop - shop
- Auroshikha - shop
- Boutique d'Auroville - shop
- Auroshree - shop
2. French Heritage Walk
Starting Point: Pondicherry Tourist Information Centre
Ends at: Pondicherry Tourist Information Centre
Distance: 2 km
Estimated Time: 1 to 1.5 hours
French Section of Pondicherry showcases impressive legacy through the historic building that has left behind by the French people that once resides in India. A heritage walk to this section through the well-paved streets takes you to some of the impeccable constructions that are easily differentiable by their garden courtyards accompanied with kaleidoscopic bougainvilleas, baroque gateways arches and not to forget the colonial buildings. These edifices are painted in the exquisite shades of peach and lime. Adding a unique charm in the heritage walk of Pondicherry are the serpentine French names. Besides, if you don’t feel like walking much, this entire heritage walk of the French Quarter can also be done through a rickshaw ride.
- Department of Tourism
- Gandhi Statue - an effigy that gives tribute to one of the greatest freedom fighters of India who is also given the title of ‘Father of the Nation’.
- Hotel de Ville - The former town hall of French administration which is now serving as Pondicherry Municipal Office.
- French War Memorial
- Toy Museum
- Old Lighthouse - a historical construction built in the year 1836 A.D.
- Nehru State
- Pondicherry Museum - the French period construction that houses a rare collection of historical artefacts from different periods.
- Romain Rolland Library
- Raj Niwas - Another French building which is presently serving as the official residence of Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry.
- Ashram Dining Room
- Aayi Mandapam - a stunning memorial which was built by the French to pay their reverence to a devadasi - a temple dancer from the early 16th century.
- Cercle de Pondicherry -
- Pondicherry Art Gallery
- Joan of Arc Statue
- Church of Capuchins - Another French colonial building which is now serving as an orphanage.
- Le Grand Hotel d Europe - one of the oldest buildings which ware built in 1891 and is now houses hostelries.
- Lycee Francais
- Hotel Lagrenee de Meziere
- Alliance Francaise - Cultural and information centre which also teaches French and has a library.
- Hotel de L'Orient - a heritage building which is now one of the finest hotels in Pondicherry.
- Dupleix Statue - an effigy of the French governor in India
- Ashram Theatre
- Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient - an institute of history, Indology and architecture.