This post is part of a series on ‘Walks in India‘.
Highlights: Beachside promenade, French buildings, Sunrise at the Beach, Aurobindo Ashram, Paper Factory, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Ananda Rangapillai’s House.
Season: November to February, when it is not hot.
Time of the day: Evening – 6am to 10am
Distance: Approximately 6kms
View Walks in India – Pondicherry in a larger map
Places to see and walking map of Pondicherry
Pondicherry was once a French Colony, and even today has an essence of many things French.
Start early and wait for the sunrise near Gandhi Statue at Beach Road(Goubert Road). Walk south on the long beach road after watching the sun some up, and turn left at the end of the road to Laurent Street. Walk zig-zag along the roads which have buildings with Frech heritage. This section of the walk has a few restaurants that may serve Frech food, and also a bookshop with French books. Stroll along Romain Rolland Street and Suffren Streets at an easy pace.
When you feel done with this part, take La Bourdonnais Street and walk north. The next stop is the well known Aurobindo Ashram, where you can visit the samadhi of Sri Aurobindo. This is a quiet place with a feel-good, where you can see a lot of people meditating. A little ahead of the Ashram is the 300-year old Manakula Vinayagar Temple.
Continue walking on La Bourdonnais Street. At the end of it is a handmade paper factory that belongs to the Ashram. You can watch paper being made here, and even buy some. Getting back from the paper factory, walk on Gingy Street till you reach Ananda Rangapillai Street. Turn right on Ananda Rangapillai Street and get to Ananda Rangapillai’s House. This is a palatial 18th century mansion of Ananda Rangapillai, who was a courtier of a French Governor.
The Walk ends at Ananda Rangapillai’s House.