- Famous for: Serenity, Divinity, Holiness
- Entrance fee: There is no fee for this place of worship
- Visiting Time: 7 AM to 12 noon and then from 3 PM to 8:30 PM
- Visit Duration: 2 hours to 3 hours
A beautiful piece of architecture which can mesmerize any visitor with its dazzling look is what the serene location of the Immaculate Conception Cathedral stands for. Visited by most of the tourists visiting Pondicherry, this spot with its breathtaking interiors and exteriors is famous all over the country. Having got a mix of the design and styles of Indian as well as that of the French, this church is present very close to the beach and provides a very relaxing environment. Constructed almost 300 years ago, this church has got a history which is really engaging. The spot where the church is built on has had many kinds of churches on it which couldn’t withstand either due to demolishment by opposing forces or because of a poor base. The various altars and the statues are beautifully maintained with the prime attraction being the bell tower which has got the huge bell hanging in it.
- Maintain silence at all times for a serene experience.
- The masses are conducted in both English and Tamil for the convenience of the locals and also the foreigners visiting the dainty location.
Things to Do
- Meditate and pray earnestly in the calming environment which is a world away from the hustle outside of the church.
- Photograph some of the best photos with the beautiful architecture of the church and it’s amazing exterior serving as the backdrop.
- Look into the intricate design of the structure and also the statues which have been put up within the church.
- Attend the masses which are conducted in the mornings and the evenings while also listening to the sermon of the priest.
- Gaze at the art work which is present on the walls of the church.
- Eat out at the various eateries which are present around the church and which cater to a wide range of tastes.
- Shop at the local bazaars to collect some great artifacts and souvenirs at good bargains.
Availability of Guides
Since this is a place of worship, there is no necessity of a guide as the history of the spot can be read over in the church itself.
Best Time to Visit
Pondicherry being a coastal town, has got a tropical climate throughout the year. The summers are really humid and the rainy season can see quite a downpour too. The winter is the tourist season in which the mild climate makes the sightseeing a pleasant and enjoyable affair. Visiting the church in the early mornings and evenings, provides a soothing effect. Moreover, the Church fest is celebrated with great fervor on December 8th and is called the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary.
How to Reach
Pondicherry has got a good bus network as the nearest railway station is in Vilipuram which is about 35 kilometers away while the airport has only got certain aircraft from Bangalore and Hyderabad coming in. Another choice to reach Pondicherry would be through the Chennai Airport which is an international one. Cabs and auto rickshaws can be then used to reach the cathedral as it is present near the beach right in the middle of the city which makes it very accessible.
Interesting Facts and Trivia about the Immaculate Conception Cathedral
- Priests from France where the first to buy the land and establish a religious building on it at around 1689.
- The cathedral was once paid a visit by Mother Teresa.
- The first church built at that location at around 1690 was destroyed by the Dutch rulers who invaded the area.
- The foundation of the present building was laid around 300 years ago, starting out as a Mission press.
- The consecration of the place of worship was done by the Bishop Champenois.
- This church is locally known as Saint Paul’s Kovil.
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- Salem Biriyani Hotel
- Wangs Kitchen
- Mahatma Gandhi Statue
- Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple
- Bharathi park
- Pondicherry Park
The alluring environment is a peaceful retreat to just spend some time indulging in one’s own thoughts. The serenity makes the place even more inviting and is a place which has got to be visited for its enthralling construction and art work.