Puducherry offers a variety of exciting experiences, from spiritual learning at the Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, to shopping in the street bazaars or at designer shops to cultural evenings in Alliance Francaise.
Puducherry, an ex-French colony with its quaint colonial houses and numerous restaurants. Puducherry offers a variety of exciting experiences, from spiritual learning at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, to shopping in the street bazaars to cultural evenings in Alliance Française.
And during your exploration of the treasures of Pondicherry, do not miss to admire the buildings of the French Institute.
The Institut français de Pondicherry, created under the terms of a treaty to sell French settlements in India, was inaugurated on March 21, 1955. It was at its origin, under the impetus of its first director (Jean Filliozat), The study of Indian civilization, and particularly the history and religions of South India.
In the 1960s, an ecology department was created to collect information on the state and evolution of the environment in South India (vegetation, soils, climatic changes, etc.) with the Ghats One of the world’s 34 “hotspots” for biodiversity.
The creation of the Department of Social Sciences in the 1980s marked the evolution and dynamics of Indian society as a field of research at IFP.
The development of research and the need to support it with modern methodologies and instruments led to the creation of the Applied Informatics and Geomatics Laboratory (LIAG). The installation of LIAG as a common tool has greatly enabled the development of new research objects.
The Institute also has a library that houses collections specializing in IFP-specific research, and which is enriched over the years thank to a dynamic acquisition policy. It is open to the public within a framework set by IFP.
Just 8 km to the south is Auroville, a unique international township which is home to people from 44 different nationalities coexisting and working together. This utopian concept is the realization of the dream of Mirra Alfassa, a French disciple of Sri Aurobindo, known as “The Mother”.
Trips can be organised to Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Swamimalai, Karaikudi, Madurai etc… All of these places offer a unique insight into Tamil culture.
The port of Mahabalipuram was already known in the time of ancient Greece.
In the seventh century, during the reign of the Pallava dynasty, Mahabalipuram was an important port probably in communication with the Srivijaya in Indonesia and the Kingdom of Champa on the Indochinese peninsula.
However, if no port facility was found to date, the tsunami, a result of the earthquake of 26 December 2004, has revealed structures that could be linked to this activity.
The site includes a large number of Hindu monuments dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, but also Krishna and the Mahabharata hero. The three principal monuments or groups of monuments are:
The Descent of the Ganges or The Penance of Arjuna:
The Descent of the Ganges is a bas-relief dating from the seventh century, probably the largest in the world. The sculptures that cover the entire surface of two huge rocks, 27 meters long and 9 meters high, depicts the course of the Ganges from heaven and the Himalayas as described in the Panchatantra.
The Temple of the Shore
The Shore Temple is a temple built in 700-728 by the Pallava king Rajasimha Narasimhavarman II (in) along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. This is one of the first temples built as opposed to temples carved in caves excavated in the cliffs.
The Five Ratha
The five Ratha (Pancha Ratha) – Yudhishthira (or Dharmaraja), Bhima, Arjuna, Draupadi and Nakula-Sahadeva – are monolithic monuments of different sizes and shapes excavated a small hill, sloping gently towards the south, South of the village.
The term ratha is incorrectly used here because it means “carriage” (see Puri), like those used in processions. The Ratha of Mahâbalipuram do not have a wheel, unlike the temple of Surya of Konarak which is in the form of a trolley with wheels, pulled by sculpted horses.
To the west, lies a magnificient archeological site, Gingee, an ancient fort set amongst a landscape of granite chaos.
Further west (50 km) is the town of Thiruvannamalai wich is famed for its very large and ancient temple and the sacred hill called Arunachala, symbolizing the element fire.
At the foot of this hill, lived one of the greatest seers of India, Ramana Maharshi.