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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular religious sites in Pondicherry?

Jigyasha Prasad DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

Not only is Pondicherry a fascinating city to visit, but it is packed with history, religion and culture laden sites for the admirer of early empires and their antiquities. Some of them are:

  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Your search for means to spiritual solace and peace will end at the doorstep of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, even as your journey towards self-discovery and self-truth begins. Home to the approach of Integral Yoga and Sadhna, the Ashram was established by Sri Aurobindo, when he settled in Pondicherry in 1910, following a spiritual order. He was later joined by Mirra, a French lady, known now as Mother. Following Sri Aurobindo's retirement, Mother shouldered the entire responsibility of the Ashram. If you visit the Ashram by 9 am, you can take a special permit to visit Sri Aurobindo's room and his spiritual work. A rare collection of beautiful artifacts are kept there. At the Ashram's Publication Department, you can buy books on Sri Aurobindo's and Mother's works as well as their disciples', in over 15 languages.

  • Cathedral churches

The churches of Pondicherry are a subtle beauty; their simple, white or mustard exteriors take on a certain magnificence at daybreak and sunset. They are some of the more outstanding achievements of the French settlement in Pondicherry, with architectural styles ranging from Gothic to Greek-Roman. Some of the churches to visit are The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacred Heart Church, The Notre Dame des Agnes and Church of Our Lady of Good Health Church of Capuchins.

Intersperse your sightseeing with visits to these churches situated in different parts of the city and you are bound to be touched deeply by their serene and tranquil ambience and will come out feeling blessed.

Established in the 12th century by the Cholas, this temple has been a witness to the multicultural antiquity of Pondicherry. Do stop for a moment on your way in or out to see the beautifully and intricately carved facade that provides a clue to the temple's rich past. It is a holy place of pilgrimage importance for all the Hindus. If you are visiting Pondicherry in May or June, be sure to visit the temple. The ten day annual festival of Brahmotsavam is celebrated here, beginning on the appearance of the full moon, to receive Lord's blessings. You will find the temple very crowded as thousands of devotees from all over India come here for the festival. Not only will you get to see the massive 15 meter tall temple chariot, all decked up in the temple finery, being taken out in a procession, but you will also be offered curd, rice, buttermilk and sandal by the devotees. The belief here is that their wishes are fulfilled by serving the crowd of visitors. In the haze of the remarkable sight before your eyes, do not forget to offer your own prayers to Lord Shiva and take blessings.

Not only are the religious sites in Pondicherry steeped in mythology and folklore, but they provide a lyrical insight into its cultural fabric, if you stop to listen.

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