The Ashram main building was the abode of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother during most of their stay in Pondicherry. In the inner courtyard is the Samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. The Ashram is open to all for Darshan during fixed hours every day.
The Ashram is a Registered Trust, founded by the Mother. The Ashram community comprises of about 1200 persons. The inmates live and work in several buildings spread all over the town of Pondy.
Occupying the premises of what was formerly the Government Library is the Pondicherry Museum - a treasure-house of antiques. Besides a section on French India with rooms done in typical French style, the museum devotes sections to Archaeology, Geology, Sculpture, Bronzes, Arms, Print, Handicraft and Art.
The pride of the museum is a cot supposed to have been used by Dupleix and a pousse-pousse -the rickshaw look-alike that was a popular mode of transport in 18th century Pondicherry.
For sun-bathing, swimming or merely strolling, Pondicherry's beach and the 1 1/2 km-long promenade alongside, are the most delightful parts of the city. On the beach front is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi surrounded by eight, exquisitely carved monolithic pillars and a War Memorial raised by the French in honour of those who died in World War I.
There are more than 350 temples in and around Pondicherry, 75 of them dedicated to Vinayakar.
The Varadaraja Temple and Villenour's Thyirukameswarar Temple both date to the 12th century. Inscriptions found in the former relate the existence of a Sanskrit College in Pondicherry.
The Car Festival of Thirukameswarar Temple attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. Other celebrated temples are: Manakula Vinayakar temple, Tiruvandar Siva temple, Chengazhunir Amman temple and the Bahur temple of Srimoolanathar.
The large number of 18th and 19th century Churches in Pondicherry is yet another legacy left by the French.
Notable are: The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Eglise de Notre Dame de la Conception, the Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges, the Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes and the Chapel of the Sisters of Cluny.
Houses Of Bharathi, Bharathidasan And Ananda Rangapillai
Subramanya Bharathi, the Tamil poet-revolutionary whose pen was an important weapon during India's freedom struggle, sought refuge in this French enclave when the British made life impossible for him elsewhere in South India. At No. 20, Easwaran Koil Street, where he lived in Pondicherry, Bharathi composed some of his finest patriotic songs and such immortal works of Tamil literature as the Panchali Sabadham, Kannan Pattu and Kuyil Pattu.
Bharatidasan, another great poet, was inspired by Subramanya Bharathi, whom he regarded as his guru. He won the Sahitya Akademi award for his play "Pisirandayar". He lived at No.95, Perumal Koil Street. The houses of both Bharathi and Bharathidasan are now maintained as memorials and are places of pilgrimage for Tamil-lovers.
Ananda Rangapillai lived at No. 69-C, Rue Rangapillai (Maison Ananda Rangapillai). His palatial house is an excellent piece of 18th century architecture, a unique blend of French and Eastern styles. Ananda Rangapillai is the famous diarist of Dupleix's time. The records he maintained of the events between 1736 and 1760 are an invaluable source of information on the history of Pondicherry and the French India that age.
The Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education and Research is one of the six such outstanding medical institutions in India. Situated in sylvan surroundings, JIPMER is a complex of artistically-designed modern buildings and includes, on its campus, a 600-bed Teaching Hospital and the Students' and Nurses' Hostels. Residential Quarters for the staff and a playground.