PONDICHERRY is a living monument of French culture in India. The town was once upon a time, an abode of scholars well versed in the Vedas. Joseph François Dupleix became the Governor of this French Territory in India. Internal disturbances in Puducherry gave the British, the opportunity to gain control. However, after the Treaty of Paris, the British restored the settlements to the French. French Influence - The design of the city was based on the French grid pattern. (Originally Dutch, the plans of Pondicherry dating from the end of the seventeenth century are preserved in the National Archives at The Hague). The city has many colonial buildings, churches, temples and statues, which, combined with the systematic town planning and the well planned French style avenues, still preserve much of the colonial ambience. Beaches in Puducherry are Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the best-known and wealthiest ashrams in India. Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above any creed, politics and nationalities. The heritage buildings and monuments present around the Promenade beach are the Children’s Park & Dupleix Statue, Gandhi statue, Nehru Statue, Le Café, French War Memorial, 19th Century Light House, Bharathi Park, Governor’s Palace, Romain Rolland Library, Legislative Assembly, Puducherry Museum and the French Institute of Pondicherry.
The French and the British tried to remove the deity from this place and even threw the deity in the sea. But the deity came back to the same place.Peace Of Mind - PONDICHERRY SRI MANAKULA VINAYAGAR TEMPLE was in existence even before the French came and settled in Pondicherry i.e. before 1666. The local people called their God as Manal Kulathu Vinayagar meaning God near the pond of sand. Later it was known as MANAKULA VINAYAGAR. The Jesuits and missionaries tried but could not demolish Manakula Vinayagar temple. The French and the British lived in this part of the town. They made every effort to remove the deity from this place and even threw the deity in the sea but every time they did this, the deity came back to the same place. Later a temple was built near the shores of the Bay of Bengal as per the Ganapathy Agamam and was named Bhuvanesa Vinayagar Temple. Thollaikkathu Siddhar, a saint standing 6ft tall, with broad forehead, glittering blissful eyes, big hole bearing ear, small pot bellied with hand extending up to knee cap and hands with lotus regai, guru medu and sanimedu at a height showing arul gnana regai, got enlightenment from this deity and attained Samadhi in this temple, nearly 300 years ago. From then on, people bring their new born here for worship before going to any other temple. The temple is 300 years old and its early history is marked by trouble, with the French ordering that the annual festival around the streets of Pondicherry should not take place. This caused unrest among the people and 15,000 of them gathered to set off towards Chennai. As they were all workers in a textile factory, the authorities revoked their decision, fearing that work would be affected. This type of incident kept repeating till, strangely, Dupleix, the great French leader himself developed affection for the idol. Such are the winning ways of Lord Vinayaka! who lives in a region bound by sand”. To the Eastern side of the temple lies the sea and the sand. Inside the temple, there is a small pond, which the priest will show to the devotee with the help of a lit camphor. Though the pond is close to the sea, the water is clear. It is believed that anything put into the pond will turn black in colour.