Puducherry Pilgrimage


The Union Territory of Pondicherry has established itself as a popular pilgrimage center of India. Pondicherry pilgrimage comprises of religious places belonging to different caste, community, religion and creed. In Pondicherry and its adjoining places there are more than 350 temples, of which 75 are devoted to Vinayakar. The region of Karaikal has 99 temples.

Pondicherry was a colony of French so the influence of the rulers is quite evident on the culture of the region. There are numerous Churches in Pondicherry built by the French during the 18th and 19th century. The splendid architecture of the Chuches attracts tourists from far of places. Apart from Hindu and Christian beliefs there are religious places of Muslim community. These innumerable temples, churches, dargah relect the cultural heritage of the region.

Temples in Pondicherry



Thirunallur Temple

Among the four regions of the Union Territory of Pondicherry in India, Karaikal is considered one the important pilgrimage centers of India. The are numerous temple in Karaikal some of them are Karaikal Ammaiyar Temple, Anandamangalam (Hanuman temple), Thirumarugal, Navagiraga temples, Thiruchengattangudi, Thirunallur Temple, Thirukkannapuram, Thanjai Brahadeeswarar Temple Thirupugazhur, Thiruvarur, Engan. Among all the Hindu temples located in Karrakal Thirunallur Temple has a place of prominence as the temple is devoted to Lord Saneeswaran (Saturn). The mystic land of Karaikal still reflects the French influence.

According to Hindu mythology the blessings of Saturn can shower one with wealth and prosperity while its wrath can causes great agony and misfortune in one's life. Thirunallur Temple is situated at Thirunallar, which is 5 km west of Karaikal in Pondicherry. Whenever Saturn moves from one Zodaic sign to another, the temple celebrates a festival with great zeal and pageantry, which is called Shanti peyarchi by the local people. Thirunallur Temple in Pondicherry is a wonderful piece of architecture with massive gateways and gopurams.

The Thirunallur Temple is devoted to Lord Saneeswaran (Saturn), featuring in the mythological story of Nala-Damayanti. It is one of the most famous temples in India dedicated to Lord Saneeswaran (Saturn).

The region of Karaikal serves as a gateway to the innumerable places of worship located in the eastern coast of Tamilnadu. The two famous places of worship, Velankanni for Christians and Nagore for Muslims are situated near Karaikal.

Sri Gokilambal Thriukameswara Temple

Pondicherry is a place, which has innumerable places of worship including churches, dargahs and temples. Sri Gokilambal Thriukameswara Temple is a famous place of worship of Hindus. Brahmostavam is a very popular festival celebrated in the temple. The festival is observed for ten days continuously and devotees from all over India come here to receive the blessings of the Lord.

The well-known festival of Brahmotsavam is celebrated with the appearance of the full moon in between the months from May to June.

Sri Gokilambal Thriukameswara Temple is situated in a small town known as Villianur, 11 km away from Pondicherry city. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in the form of Shivlinga. There are other temples, which are devoted to the Devi and Murugan and they were constructed during the 12th century Chola period.

The French influence is quite evident in the traditions associated with the temple. Sri Gokilambal Thriukameswara Temple organizes a Car Festival, which is linked to French heritage. In the festival a 15-meter tall chariot is pulled by the devotees who throng the streets of the town. During the rule of the French in Pondicherry, the Governor was an active participant of the procession and used to draw the huge magnificent chariot through the streets of the town. This tradition is still followed and the present Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry takes part in the festival and draws the chariot on the streets. Apart from this religious activity one can also enjoy the breath-taking view of the Ousteri Lake located nearby and spread over 10 hectares of land, which inhabits rare species of birds.

Karaikal Ammaiyur Temple

Pondicherry occupies an eminent place among the pilgrimage centers of India. Pondicherry and its adjoining places have more than 350 temples, of which 75 temples are dedicated to Vinayakar. Karaikal Ammaiyur Temple is one of the most famous temples in Pondicherry. The presiding Goddess of the temple is Punithavati, also known as "Karaikal Ammaiyar". Inside the temple there is also a sanctum dedicated to Lord Vinayaka.

The legend that is associated with the Temple is that Lord Siva disguised himself as a saint went on the streets of Karaikal and begged for alms. On the way he met a lady called Punithavarthi in Karaikal and asked for alms from her. For her deep devotion to Lord Shiva, she received a place of eminence among the 63 holy saints dedicated to the lord. Where this saint lived now stands the glorious temple with the image of this pious lady. Karaikal Ammaiyur Temple is dedicated to the religious and pious lady Karaika Ammaiyar.

Karaikal Ammaiyar temple is situated in Barathiar Street, in the heart of Karaikal in Pondicherry. In the year 1929, Malaiperumal Pillai build Karaikal Ammaiyar temple in honor of the Godess Karaika Ammaiyar

Mangani Tirunal festival means the festival of the mango fruit is an important festival celebrated in Karaikal Ammaiyar temple. To commemorate the legend of Mother Karaika Ammaiyar giving the Lord curd rice with mango this festival is celebrated. On the day of the festival curd rice with mango is distributed to the needy and devotees of Lord Shiva.

Varadaraja Temple

Pondicherry is a popular pilgrimage center of India with numerous places of worship of different religions. The Varadaraja Temple in Pondicherry is a well-known Vaishnavite temple. In the temple Lord Narasimha is placed behind Venkatachalapathy, the principal deity. Some of the other famous temples of the region are Ammaiyar Temple, Anandamangalam (Hanuman temple), Thirumarugal, Navagiraga temples, Thiruchengattangudi, Thirunallur Temple, Thirukkannapuram, Thanjai Brahadeeswarar Temple Thirupugazhur.

The architecture of Varadaraja Temple is quite similar to the Vedapureswarar Temple. Lord Vishnu as Varadaraja Perumal and Goddess Lakshmi as Thayar are worshiped in this temple. The temple is situated beside Vedapureswarar Temple and is managed and administered by the same trust. The temple is open to the devotees offering prayers from 6 am to 12.00 in the noon and from 4.00pm to 9.30 pm. It is one of the oldest temples in the town that was built during 12th century. Huge number of devotees of Lord Vishnu visits the temple to receive the blessings of God.

Varadaraja Temple is situated on the west of Gandhi Road, which is off Tyagraja Street. The architecture of the temple reflects the influence of Dravidian style. It has a gopuram that is decorated with bright colors and has a number of beautifully carved pillars.

Vedapureswarar Temple

Vedhapureeswarar Temple is located at a central place on the crossroad of Iswaran Koil Street and MG Road. It is a beautiful temple where devotees of lord Shiva come here to offer prayer to the deity. The temple was constructed during 18th century and is very famous for its stone inscriptions and a swayambhulinga. Pondicherry occupies a significant place among the religious places of India. There are nearly 350 temples in Pondicherry and also in the adjoining areas.

The temple was in a dilapidated condition but the concerned authorities took care of it and it was renovated and is properly maintained. The temple is also famous by the name of Eashwaran koil. A marvelous swayambhu lingam is placed in the temple, which faces east direction. The rajagopuram of Vedhapureeswarar Temple is decorated with a lot of sculptural relief. The architecture of the temple is very similar to most of the temples of Southern India. It also has altars for Lord Murugan, Lord Vinayaka and the 63 Nayanmars. The presiding deities of the temple are Lord Shiva and his consort, Goddess Thirupurasundari. The region was very famous during the ancient period among the scholars and disciples engrossed in the study of Vedas.

One of the striking features of the architecture of Vedhapureeswarar Temple is the brightly colored gopuram or tower. The temple is open to the devotees from 6 am to 12 in the noon and from 4.00 pm to 9.30 pm. Vedhapureeswarar Temple in Pondicherry has a huge sculpture of Nandi, 'vahana' of Lord Shiva according to Hindu mythology.

Manakkula Vinayakar Temple

An important itinerary of the Pondicherry pilgrimage is a visit to the Manakkula Vinayakar Temple. The ancient temple had been constructed three centuries earlier and still stands in its magnificent glory in the union territory of Pondicherry.

The temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha. The monumental interiors of the temple are decorated with forty incarnations and forms of the Ganesha carved and designed on the stone walls of the temple. The golden spire forms the superstructure of the temple and is the steeple that crowns the place of worship. Within the premises of the temple lies the shrine devoted to Lord Murugan. According to Hindu mythology, the Lord Murugan is the younger brother of the presiding deity of the temple, Lord Ganesha. The architecture in which the temple structure is stylized is typical of the Deccan art and architecture. The temple's architecture bears similarity with the temples of the other states of South India.

The devotees and the pilgrims gather in large numbers in the temple everyday to offer their prayers to the reigning deity and to seek the blessings of the God. The pilgrims are entertained in the temple by the temple elephant called Lakshmi who gathers coins from the tourists and showers blessings of the god through his trunk.

Built more than 300 years ago, the ancient Manakkula Vinayakar Temple still stands in the territory of Pondicherry in all its grandiosity. The stone carvings and the golden shrine create a heavenly aura around the temple making it a true abode of the temple God, Lord Ganesha.

Kamatchiamman Temple

The Kamatchiamman Temple is situated in the Bharathi Street of Pondicherry and is an important Pondicherry pilgrimage spot. The singularity of the temple lies in the unembellished form of the temple structure. The place of worship is frequently visited by the tourists and the local people who arrive in the temple to offer their prayers to the temple deity.

The temple is devoted to the worship of Goddess Durga who is representative deity of war. The temple is decorated in the interiors on occasions when special prayers are offered to the Goddess. However, the exterior walls of the temple are dark and rust in color. The architecture of the temple is deprived of the furnishings that are present in the other temples of the region. The temple withstood the atrocities of time and still stands in its magnificence in the region of Pondicherry. With time, the ancient temple has been further deprived of its initial luster and sheen. Although bereft of any ornamentation, the temple never lacks the devotees and pilgrims who gather in large number every year to offer their prayers to the goddess.

The austere Kamatchiamman Templeis one of the chief tourists attraction of the territory of Pondicherry although the temple is different from most of the other temples of South India. On the festive days, the temple is flocked by pilgrims who arrive from the different parts of the region and from all corners of the country to participate in the celebrations and to seek the blessings of the Goddess Durga.

Kanniga Parameswari Temple

One of the important Pondicherry pilgrimage spots is the Kanniga Parameswari Temple, which stands on the Mahatma Gandhi Road in Pondicherry. The temple is unique in its architecture as it blends the style of the French with the traditional Deccan architecture of India.

The temple of Kanniga Parameswari is dedicated to the Goddess Shakti who is the representative deity of power in Hindu mythology. Shakti is another form of the powerful Goddess Kali who is one of the popular deities worshiped in Pondicherry and also in the whole country. The monumental structure of the temple is a blend of the architectural style of the French and Tamil styles. The interior ceiling of the sanctum is designed in the traditional style of the Tamil architecture and contains motifs on the granite pillars. The construction stands on the monolithic pillars that represent the architecture of Europe. The walls of the temple are arched and are ornamented and beautified with angels and heavenly creatures designed on them. These along with the stained glass panes are archetypes of the French place of worship. Other than the main sanctum sanctorum, most of the temple structure is designed in the French architectural style.

Devotees and pilgrims from all over the country gather to offer their prayers and seek the blessings of the presiding deity of the temple. Hindu marriages are also conducted in the temple premises. The Kanniga Parameswari Temple still retains the magnificence and uniqueness that was present when the temple was initially constructed ages ago.

Mosques in Pondicherry



Darga of Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari

Pondicherry is home to multiple religions and Hindus, Muslims and Christians all take up pilgrimages to this picturesque town. One of the most popular as well as important Muslim Shrine in Pondicherry is the Darga of Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari. Built in the memory of the Sufi Saint Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari, the Darga was built to commemorate his miracles.

About a couple of Centuries ago, Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari came to Karaikal from Buhara. He lived there and performed a number of miracles to help the people to solve major problems. He died in the year 1829 at the age of 120. The Kandhuri festival is being celebrated foe the last 170 years in the memory of this Sufi Saint. It is at the very location where the Saint lived that the Darga of Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari has been built. Thousands of Muslim Pilgrims still come to this venerated shrine to take the blessings of the Great 'Fakir'. The Darga of Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari also welcomes a number of tourists irrespective of their religion.

The Darga of Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari is a perfect example of a the typical Islamic architecture with hints of Tamil style blended with it. The Darga of Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari takes a completely different look at the time of the Kandhuri festival which is marked by grandeur, pomp and splendor. The celebrations are inaugurated by hoisting a huge flag which marks the Sea- faring past of Pondicherry.

The Mulla Mohammad Mosque

Although once a French Colony, the presence of Hindu and Muslim religion and Culture are equally distinct in Pondicherry.

There are a number of Mosques in Pondicherry and The Mulla Mohammad Mosque is one of them. The language of Urdu is a very important part of the Islamic religion and the Mulla Mohammad Mosque was some what built with this intention.

The Khuthbha Mosque is the first ever Mosque built in Pondicherry and the Mulla Mosque was built as a part of it. The purpose of building the Mulla Mohammad Mosque was to teach Urdu and preach the doctrine of Islam in the Urdu language.

The Mulla Mohammad Mosque, although a part of the Khuthbha Mosque, has a separate building and existence. The Mulla Mohammad Mosque has a small pond with fishes in it and it also houses a hall for cooking the fasting food of Ramjan and a hall for Jenesha.

Meeran Mosque

Pondicherry in the South of India is pilgrimage spot for the Hindus, Muslims and Christian alike. There are a good number of Temple, Churches and Mosques in the region. One of the most important religious destination of Muslims in Pondicheery is the Meeran Mosque. Built almost Three hundred and Fifty years ago, the Meeran Mosque is the oldest Mosque in the whole of Pondicherry.

The architecture of the Meeran Mosque is quite unique. Built by the Arcod Nawabs that basic structure of the Meeran Mosque follows a Gothic Islamic style. The Dome of the Mosque is supported by four lofty Pillars and the Meerhath and the Meember are located very near it. Just above the Meerhath there is the Kalima Slab. In order to enhance the beauty of the facade minaret a Bronze Kallasa is placed on the top of the structure.

The Meeran Mosque is also the resting place of the divine graves of Meeran, the one who built the Mosque and of Suubhi Errai Perriar Mullah. The local people visit the Meeran Mosque for regular prayers.

Khuthbha Mosque

The Khuthbha Mosque has been in existence even in the pre- Colonial days and is a glaring example of the secular culture of the country. The Khutbha Mosque like all other Mosques co-exist peacefully with all the Temples and Churches in the region which makes Pondicherry an important Pilgrimage spot irrespective of the religion.

Khuthbha Mosque, in all probability, was the first Mosque built in Pondicherry. It was initially built at the present location of the Seventh Day School. With the coming of the French the area of the Khuthbha Mosque came to be categorized as a 'White area'. Thus an order was promulgated which demanded the shifting of the Khuthbha Mosque and the entire Islamic society to the Southern end of the city.

The Khuthbha Mosque has been so built as to face Mecca, the most revered pilgrimage for Muslims. The Khuthbha Mosque also houses the Darga of Moulla Saiubu and organizes regular sessions of prayer.

Churches in Pondicherry



Church of Our Lady of Good Health

Pondicherry had been a French Colony for Three Hundred long years and therefore it is only natural that French influence would reflect in every aspect of the Culture of Pondicherry.

The Church of Our Lady of Good Health is a perfect example of that impact. The 17th and 18th Centuries witnessed an acceleration in the preaching endeavors of the French Missionaries. This zeal of the Missionaries led to the construction of a number of Churches in Pondicherry and the Church of Our Lady of Good Health was a result of the efforts of the Missionaries.

The Church of Our Lady of Good Health is located in a tiny village called Ariyankuppam. A perfectly rustic place, the village is situated at a distance of 4 Kilometers from the South of Pondicherry. An unique feature of the Church of Our Lady of Good Health is that it provides an exciting beaten track for cycling expeditions.

Constructed in the year 1690,the Church of Our Lady of Good Health later went on to be re- built and renovated several times. The most prominent feature of the interior of the Church of Our Lady of Good Health are the rounded arches which carry a vault over the central aisle. The Crucifix is a free standing one and it is displayed upon the altar. The side walls inside the Church are decorated with brightly painted wooden images. The interior of the Church is completely peaceful and is a perfect place to rejuvenate ones mind and soul.

Eglise de Notre Dame de la

Often known as the 'Riviera of the East' Pondicherry shows clear traces of French influence a the Eglise de Notre Dame de la is a perfect example of that. Pondicherry was a French Colony for hundreds of years and therefore quite naturally had imbibed some of the Cultural trends of the French. It has been more than fifty years that French have left but even today Pondicherry has retained its French character.

Around the 17th and the 18th Centuries a number of French Missionaries landed in Pondicherry and the French Missionary Zeal resulted in the building of a number Churches in the region. Eglise de Notre Dame de la was also a product of the same Missionary influence and was built in the year 1791. The Eglise de Notre Dame de la is situated on the Mission Street and was built in the place of another Church that existed there.

The Eglise de Notre Dame de la resembles a Church in France in its basic structure. The grand facade of the Eglise de Notre Dame de la is supported by a twin Doric columns below and by Ionic Columns above. The most dominant feature of the interior of the Eglise de Notre Dame de la are the eight barrel vaults and at the center of the Church there is a dome which has eight circular openings. Just in front of the Church building is a statue of Mother Mary with infant Jesus in her arms. The Eglise de Notre Dame de la is set in a serene ambiance surrounded by lush greenery.

Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas

A living monument of the French Colonial heritage, a number of Churches and other buildings in Pondicherry reverberate the charm of French architecture. About 160 Kilometers South of Madras, on the Coromandal Coast is located Pondicherry, a region that the French ruled for 300 long years.

Pondicherry is the house to some of the most beautiful Churches in India and the Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas is one of them. With the coming of the French Missionaries in the 17th and 18th Centuries there was a steady rise in the number of Churches in the region. Very naturally, these Churches reflect signs of Western influence in their architecture.

The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas was built in the year 1865 and was modeled after the Basilica at Lourdes, which is located in Southern France. With dominant influence of Roman architecture, The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas expresses the colonial hangover of the region. The most notable feature of The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas is its Masonry which is known to mix fine lime stone with the egg white which creates a texture similar to that of white marble. The church also exhibits a huge oil painting in The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas which was presented by the French Emperor, Napoleon the third.

The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas is framed with flower trees and is located in a picturesque environment. In order to visit The Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges at Rue Dumas or the other places in Pondicherry one can take a flight to the Airports of Maduri or Chennai. Pondicherry can be reached via train and buses also ply from the neighboring states of Chennai, Bangalore and Kerala.

Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus

Once the bastion of French Colonialism, Pondicherry is home to a number of beautiful churches. In the 17th and 18th Centuries the advent of the French Missionaries in Pondicherry led to the building of a number of churches in the region. The most prominent and a direct fallout of that Missionary zeal is the Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus which is also known as the Jesus Church.

The Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus is an obvious specimen of the Gothic charm. Located on the Southern Boulevard, Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus is dedicated to the sacred heart of Lord Jesus Christ. The Church is known for its stained glass panels that has the entire life of Jesus painted on it and the Gothic Architecture of the building is magnificent. With rose windows, twin spires, imposing facade, everything about the Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus reminds the visitor of the Gothic architectural charm.

The interior of the Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus has an interesting fusion of French colonial trends and South Indian styles. The walls of the church are ornamented with terracotta and stained glass which gives the Church a bright, ostentatious character.

Over time the Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus has undergone much ravage but still this Gothic Church in Pondicherry is a must visit. Reverberating the tale of French Colonialism, the Eglise de Sacre Coeur de Jesus stands as the greatest witness of the French colonial traditions and the effects that colonial leaders left back.

Church of the Capuchins

After remaining a French Colony for hundreds of years, it is only natural that Pondicherry would have distinct marks of French influence. There are a number of Churches in Pondicherry which very well manifest the Cultural impact that the French had on the region.

The Church of the Capuchins, Pondicherry is one of the best product of French influence. Although much of its past glory and glamor has been eroded with time, yet the serenity and beauty of the Church of the Capuchins, Pondicherry makes it an ideal place for meditation and self contemplation.

One of the first Churches to be built in the region, The Church of the Capuchins, Pondicherry is located on Rue Dumas. With the acceleration of the French Missionary Zeal in the 17th and the 18th Centuries there was a creation of some grand Churches in the region and the Church of the Capuchins, Pondicherry was a direct fall out of the endeavor of the French Missionaries.

One of the oldest Church in the region, The Church of the Capuchins, Pondicherry was among the few buildings that survived the ravage and destruction of 1761. The gable of the Church of the Capuchins, Pondicherry is the most interesting part of the Church building. Today the Church of the Capuchins, Pondicherry also houses an orphanage.

Church of The Assumption

The Churches in Pondicherry are probably the best manifestation of the Cultural impact that the French Colonial leaders have left back on the region. The Church of The Assumption Pondicherry is a living example of that French influence. Like most other Churches in the region, the Church of The Assumption Pondicherry has marks of the effects of French culture and architectural style.

The Church of The Assumption Pondicherry is located in a region called Nellitoppu which lies in the Western outskirts of the main city. The French Missionary zeal in the 17th and 18th Century had a direct impact on the region and there was a distinct acceleration in the number of Churches that were built in Pondicherry. Built in the year 1851, The Church of The Assumption Pondicherry was among the very first Churches to be built in the region and it had apparent signs of French influence.

The Church of The Assumption Pondicherry has an impressive collection of statues. At the main entrance of the Church there is a serene image of Mother Mary and the left tower of the Church has a statue of Saint George, depicting him in the act of slaying a yall-like monster. The interior of the Church of The Assumption Pondicherry is endowed with some of the most beautifully crafted altarpieces which includes a Crucifix with flying angels surrounding it.

The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes

The French Missionary Zeal resulted in the construction of a number of Churches in Pondicherry and The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was a product of that same Missionary endeavor. With distinct marks of French influences, the The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes also indicates at an attempt to assimilate the customs of the local people.

The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is situated at Villianur which is a village located at about 6 miles West of the city of Pondicherry. The work for the construction of the Church was begun in the year 1867 and the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes was finally erected in the year 1876. The structure of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes resembles the Basilica in the France and the Church has close association with Our Lady of Lourdes Church in France.

An interesting feature of The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes is a Tank, which is common in the Hindu Temples, within the Church campus. This feature indicates at the fusion of the local Hindu customs with the Christian Culture. The devotees bathe in the Tank during the ritual of honoring the Madonna. The Church is also a home to a statue of our Lady of Lourdes which had been brought down from Lourdes. On the first Saturday after Easter Sunday is celebrated as the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes facilities of accommodation for the pilgrims visiting the Church.





Last Updated on 30 May 2013