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PONDICHERRY

Pondicherry beachNestled on the Eastern seaboard of India, Pondicherry is an enchanting and fascinating place. The name Pondicherry has been derived from the Tamil word Puducheri signifying 'the new settlement'. It was a French settlement that comprised Pondy, Yanam, Karaikal, and Mahe. Pondicherry has managed to retain its French aura. From its delightful restaurants offering French cuisine and streets bearing French names, Pondicherry's French connection is very much alive. There is still a strong influence of French culture especially on it's architecture, a result of the centuries old relations this place maintained with France.

The excavations near Pondicherry reveal that a Roman settlement existed here 2000 years ago. Pondicherry has been a theatre of many battles in the wars between the British and the French, and was the capital of French India before it attained independence. Pondicherry is famous as a centre chosen by late Sri Aurobindo, revolutionary turned saint, who built his Ashram, which draws huge crowd of tourists. Sri Aurobindo selected this peaceful and harmonious place to make his abode and remained there till his death. He became one of the most famous sages of modern times produced by India. This French colony became a part of the Indian Union in the early 1950's, with the French voluntarily relinquishing control.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram: Founded in 1926, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram has grown, under the Mother's guidance, from a small group of two-dozen disciples into a large diversified community. Counting the students of the Centre of Education and the hundreds of devotees who live nearby, the larger ashram community consists of more than 2000 people. The Ashram is located in the eastern part of the city. Ashramites live and work in a large number of buildings spread throughout the area. In the ‘sadhana’ or spiritual discipline at the Ashram, there are no obligatory practices, no rituals, no compulsory meditations or systematic instructions in Yoga. ‘Sadhaks’ are left free to determine the course and pace of their ‘sadhana’ in accordance with their own natures but it revolves around only one principle: One must surrender to the Divine principle and an opening to the Divine force so that it may work to transform one's being. Sri Aurobindo, taught Integral Yoga, synthesizing yoga and modern science. The activities of the ashram include the development of art, culture, and spiritually, besides agriculture and cottage industries.

Sacred Heart Church: Pondicherry has large churches and cathedrals scattered around the town, including the striking brown and white sacred Heart Church on South Boulevard. Nearby are the peaceful, extensive Botanical Gardens, opened in 1740.




 

 
 
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