Are you planning to visit Pondicherry? This French town with its yellow walls has stolen my heart and so will yours. What if you want to go further than Pondicherry for a day? Then these 4 places should definitely be on your list!

What to expect in this article

Chidambaram temple

The Temple of Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Did you know that the Temple’s architecture represents the link between arts and spirituality and it was constructed during the 10th Century?

It has five main Halls, named the Kanaka Sabha, the Cit Sabha, Nritta Sabha, Deva Sabha and Raja Sabha. They all look a bit different. 

We visited this place early in the morning (9am) and it was not crowded yet. I loved that there were many locals and the area around the water was stunning. People plucking fruits from the trees, an old lady bathing in the water, a man praying. 

4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Chidambaram

When we visited this place, we did not know that my grandmother, whom passed away a long time ago, had always told my uncles that ‘it’s one of the most beautiful places in India’ and ‘only if you are lucky, you can visit Chidambaram.’
I felt this place was amazing, but now it even has a more special place in my heart❤️

It is located 78km south of Pondicherry. By car it will take around 2 hours to reach this destination. 


Now, Auroville is a special case and very different as the other places in this article. 
Auroville basically wants to be a universal town where women and men of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.

It is not easy to enter the Matrimandir, which is the center of Auroville. 
But the town around it has many cool cafeterias (like Hope cafe and Bread & Chocolate) and beautiful nature. As it is only 20km from Pondicherry, so you should definitely visit it at least once. 

4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Auroville 14 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Auroville 1
The Matrimandir

We had the chance to visit the Matrimandir, but like I said, is it not easy to gain access. You have to know someone from the community, then send them a text why you would like to visit and then wait if you are allowed to visit.
Lately many have been refused, which is funny for a town that states to be a ‘universal town for everyone…’

Auroville is located 20km from Pondicherry. By bike you can reach within 20-30 minutes. 

Do you want more tips on fun cafeterias or activities in Pondicherry? Make sure you read the articles below. 

4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Auroville 1
Auroville has many cool cafeterias
4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Auroville 1 India
This lotus pond is amazing

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Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram is a place famous for its temples and monuments. 
The Shore Temple is one of the most famous one, also listed on the UNESCO Heritage list, which consists of three temples. 

Nevertheless, Mahabalipuram is not just a must-visit for its ancient temples, but also because of the sandy white beaches. Next to that, because the sea is close by, restaurants are filled with delicious seafood.

4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Mahabalipuram 3
The lighthouse

We really wanted to see the lighthouse, if you climb some rocks you will have an incredible view over the sea and lighthouse. Unfortunately, we were not able to do this. Reason for this being the heat.

In July we visited Mahabalipuram, while it was scorching hot and I still had to get used to Indian summers. If you look at the photo below you can even see the humidity affecting my camera’s lens.

My tip will be to not visit in the summer, as most places are not shaded. But if you are in Tamil Nadu, make sure you visit this unique place. 

Mahabalipuram is located 95km from Pondicherry, which means it is a 3-hour car ride. 

4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Mahabalipuram 3 India
4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Mahabalipuram 3 India

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

Pichavaram is the second largest Mangrove forest in the world, with 1100 hectare area. 

You have to go here and enjoy a boat ride, through the narrow canals and hoping you get to see some wildlife. We did see a few birds, which was very special. 
India is India, which means that if you want to go through the narrow canals, you will need to pay a bit more to your driver (next to the official entre fee). 

As this place is very different as the other 3 mentioned above, it should be on your list. This activity is also very welcome on a hot day. 

Pichavaram is located 65km(2h ride) from Pondicherry and 15km (20min ride) from Chidambaram. I would advise you to visit both Chidambaram and Pichavaram in 1 day if possible. 

4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Pichavaram India
4 Incredible places to visit near Pondicherry Pichavaram 3

How many of these places have you visited or are you planning to visit? Or do you have any places you would like me to add? Let me know on Instagram!

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