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35th ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE INDIAN RHEUMATOLOGY ASSOCIATION PUDUCHERRY | 5-8 DECEMBER



Pondicherry – City of Ashram and Temples

Pondicherry or as mentioned by Roman traders – “Poduca’’, is so beautiful and mesmerising that whoever came here for trade tried to settle in. Romans then French, Dutch, British all fought for the place. The impact of French colonisation was so strong that it took 7 years to include this city in Independent India after 1947.
Ruled by different dynasty in different time lines, Pallava, Cholas and Pandyas among others, this city has versatile and vivacious heritage. Both the European modern touch and ancient India’s aroma can be spotted here together.



Places To Visit

1.Paradise Beach

It is among the most beautiful beaches of Pondicherry. Sand over here is extraordinarily soft and grainy, and walk along beach is beautiful. One can get best view of sunrise here. It is isolated one and only way to reach there is ferry through backwaters which takes 20 minutes to reach from chunnambar boathouse.

What is special about this place : Isolated commercial beach
Since when has it been there :
Interesting fact : need boat to reach there
Distance from JIPMER - 8 Km
How to get there: Car and Buses

2.Auroville Ashram

Also called as universal township and people from across the world of all cultures and traditions come and live together in peace. The city is planned in a circle of radius 1.25kms, and the centre of the city is the famous Matrimandir along with the gardens surrounding it. The township itself is surrounded by green belt. Entire township was created out of waste land. It was officially inaugurated in 1968. It’s a beautiful place where one can relax and calm inner soul. What is special about this place: Spiritual place for everyone

Since when has it been there: 1968
Interesting fact: Experimental township
Distance from JIPMER: 10 Km
How to get there : Car and Buses

3.Pondicherry Museum

Pondicherry Museum houses a fantastic collection of sculptures. It has the remains of the archeological findings from the Arikamedu Roman settlement. Specimens of Chola and Pallava art from Pondicherry and Karaikal are also displayed in the sculpture gallery. Hisotry lover should not miss it. Closed on Monday and all government holidays. Opens at 10:00 Am and closes by 5:00 PM.

What is special about this place : Excellent sculpture collection
Since when has it been there :
Interesting fact : Archeological findings from the Arikamedu
Distance from JIPMER : 5 Km
How to get there : Car and Buses

4.Sri Aurobindo Handmade Paper factory

It’s an amazing place for stationary lovers. Papers are made of locally available white fine-cotton rags. One can actually see the factory how these handmade papers are made and also buy products.

What is special about this place : handmade papers
Since when has it been there : 1959
Interesting fact : Papers made of rags
Distance from JIPMER : 5 Km
How to get there : Car and Buses

5.Botanical garden

The gardens were laid out in 1826 in ornate French style, with pruned trees, flower beds, gravel lines paths and fountains. It spreads over 22 acres of land with more than 1500 species of plants. Placards provide information about the species and interesting facts about the plant. The garden also offers toy train rides, six fountains, one of which is musical and dancing fountain.

What is special about this place

: One of the best botanical garden in Tamilnadu
Since when has it been there : 1826
Interesting fact : Great information of plants and their medicinal value is available.
Distance from JIPMER : 4 Km
How to get there : Car and Buses

6.Rock beach

Accentuated by the beauty of rocks sitting against the serene waters, Rock Beach is a beautiful getaway among places to see in Pondicherry. Whether you’re looking for a pleasant stroll while the splashing waters drench your feet or grab a bite while watching a beautiful sunrise, Rock Beach is amongst the most recommended Pondicherry tourist places for everyone. 

What is special about this place : Best restaurants and Gandhi statue
Since when has it been there :
Interesting fact : also caller Gandhi beach and promenade beach
Distance from JIPMER : 5 Km
How to get there : Car and Buses

7.French War Memorial

Built on the Promenade, it serves as a reminder of those valiant soldiers who lost their lives during the World War-I from 1916 to 1919. The memorial, built in 1938, is reminiscent of the fact that war leaves fatalities behind.

What is special about this place : reminder of world War 1
Since when has it been there : 1938
Interesting fact : memorial is decorated and illuminated yearly on Bastille Day (July 14)
Distance from JIPMER : 5 Km
How to get there : Car and Buses

8.Ousteri Lake

The lake was declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the government. Consisting of water, marsh and mudflats, this site is inhabited by more than 40 migratory birds. Golden Oriole, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Open bill Stork, Tailor Bird and Spotted Owlets are some of the unique bird species seen here. 

What is special about this place : Boating is available
Since when has it been there : 1938
Interesting fact : Part of it lies in Tamilnadu
Distance from JIPMER : 5 Km
How to get there : Car

9.Gingee fort

It was built in 9th century as small fort by kings of konar dynasty. The present fort was built in 15th and 16th century by Nayaks of Gingee. The fort passed to the Marathas under the leader-ship of Shivaji in 1677 AD, Bijapur sultans, the Moghuls, Carnatic, Nawabs, French, and the British in 1761. It is also known as "Troy of the East". The Gingee Fort complex is on three hillocks: Krishnagiri to the north, Rajagiri to the west and Chandrayandurg to the southeast. The three hills together constitute a fort complex, each having a separate and self-contained citadel. It was built at a height of 800 feet (240 m) and protected by a 80 feet (24 m) wide moat. The complex has a seven-storeyed marriage hall, granaries, prison cells, and a temple dedicated to its presiding Hindu goddess called chenjiamman. 

What is special about this place : Historical importance
Since when has it been there : 9th century
Interesting fact : National Monument since 1921
Distance from JIPMER : 70 Km
How to get there : Car

10.Arikamedu

Its and archeological site in Pondicherry. Archaeological excavations was conducted by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1945, and by Jean-Marie Casal in 1947–1950.There in 1947–1950. The site was identified as the port of Podouke, known as an "emporium" in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea and Ptolemy. Digs have found Amphorae, Arretine ware, Roman lamps, glassware, glass and stone beads, and gems at the site. Based on these excavations, Wheeler concluded that the Arikamedu was a Greek trading post that traded with Rome, starting during the reign of Augustus Caesar, and lasted about two hundred years—from the late first century BCE to the first and second centuries CE. Subsequent investigation by Vimala Begley from 1989 to 1992 modified this assessment, and now place the period of occupation from the 2nd century BCE to the 8th century CE.

What is special about this place : Historical importance
Since when has it been there : 1945
Interesting fact : evidence of roman connection of Pondicherry
Distance from JIPMER : 10 Km
How to get there : Car and bus

11.Mangrove forest

Located at Pichavaram village of Cuddalore district. It is India’s second largest mangrove forest located in back water, created by confluence of velar and coleroon rivers on bay of Bengal. It also attracts migrant and local birds including snipers, cormorants, egrets, storks, herons and pelicans.

What is special about this place : India’s 2nd biggest mangrove forest
Since when has it been there : 1945
Interesting fact : mangroves contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action.
Distance from JIPMER : 80 Km
How to get there : Car and bus

Churches

1.Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The south boulevard at Subbayah Salai houses this famous church in Pondicherry built by the French missionaries in 1700’s.

What is special about this place : It’s a classic example of gothic splendour and one must visit this to experience its inner beauty and peace.
Since when has it been there : It was built by the French missionaries during the 1700’s.<
Interesting fact : The church beautifully depicts the events from the life of Christ through its stunning glass panels. It also contains spectacular glass pictures of twenty-eight saints, the great devotees Jesus Christ.
Distance from JIPMER :5.9 kms
How to get there:easily accessible by road through car or bus.

2.Immaculate Conception Cathedral

Constructed in 1791, it is regarded as the main mother church of Roman Catholic Archidiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore.

What is special about this place : To one’s surprise, this famous church in Pondicherry is the fourth church built on this location, earlier gone through a lot of renovations.
Since when has it been there : 1791
Interesting fact : You will see a lovely statue of Virgin Mary right outside the church, but it is said that the interiors are something you must not miss out.
Distance from JIPMER : 5.3 kms
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

3.Our Lady of Assumption Church

Locals call it Punidha Vinnearpu Annai Aalayam.If you really want to feel blessed, you must experience visiting this terrific church at least once in your lifetime.

What is special about this place : The church believes in bringing more and more people together to love and is committed to providing an array of religious services.
Since when has it been there : Since 1858
Interesting fact : One hundred and sixty years old, the church houses an outstanding collection of statues enveloped by French architectural patterns.
Distance from JIPMER : 4.5 kms
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

4.The Church of Lady of Lourdes

Situated in Villianur, this church is famously known as Villianoor Thuya Loordhu Annai Thiruthalam, among the locals. It is one of the most beautiful catholic churches in Pondicherry, which is visited by many, every year.

What is special about this place : The church gives a true feeling of the original Our Lady of Lourdes Church in France.
Since when has it been there : 1876
Interesting fact : While visiting this beautiful architecture, you will also witness the breath-taking statue of Notre Dame, which was a gift to the church from the French Government.
Distance from JIPMER : 9.3 kms.
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

5.Church of Our Lady of Good Health

Placed in a busy street in Ariyankuppam, this church has been refurbished many times, till date.A visit to this church makes for an interesting cycling expedition. Also known as one of the oldest churches in the area, the Church of Our Lady of Good Health may get you emotional, but it’s worth visiting it once.

What is special about this place : At the time of your visit, don’t miss watching the cross in the church that showcases the death of Jesus on the Lord’s Table
Since when has it been there : 1690
Interesting fact : This church enjoys a majestic look with unmatchable interiors surrounded by curved archways.
Distance from JIPMER : 16 kms
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

6.Emmanuel Methodist Church

It’s a wonderful church in Pondicherry and is believed to be a blessing to other churches in the area.The kind of sacrifice and devotion made by people for this beautiful architecture truly expresses its the rich history.

What is special about this place : The church is popularly known for its prayers.
Since when has it been there : May 1991
Interesting fact : It is also one of those churches in the Pondicherry area that has undergone numerous renovations.
Distance from JIPMER : 950 metres
How to get there : easily accessible by road.

7.Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges

You can also call it the church of Our Lady of Angels; the church is beautifully sited at the peaceful corner of two famous streets – Surcoof and Dumas Street.Pray to the Mother Mary holding young Jesus in her arms before you step into this awe-inspiring architecture.

What is special about this place : The marvellous architecture is a must watch; this is what makes it one of the old-world charms.
Since when has it been there : 1855
Interesting fact : You will also see numerous relics in the church premises and each one of them is worth watching.
Distance from JIPMER :4.3 kms
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

8.St. Andrew’s Church

Situated in the Reddiarpalayam area,this church is one of the oldest churches in Pondicherry. When you plan to visit Pondicherry, remember the name of this church as it’s a popular landmark that will help you return to your location in case you are lost.

What is special about this place : The church is well-known for hosting special events and gatherings. It is believed that the Church was destroyed by the British in 1761 and was later rebuilt in 1830.
Since when has it been there : 1745
Interesting fact : The original structure was built in Gothic architecture in 1745 by Kanakaraya Mudali, the longest serving dubash of the French East India Company.
  Distance from JIPMER : 2.6 kms
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

9.St John’s Church

Churches in Pondicherry are something that can freshen you up from the chaos of cities.Although the church has lost its charm over the years, you must not miss any chance to visit and experience its inner beauty backed by rich history.

What is special about this place : Even at present, it has the capacity to house 300 people anytime
Since when has it been there : 18th century
Interesting fact : This church is a two-hundred-year-old Anglican property with an overwhelming history.
Distance from JIPMER : 4 kms
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

10.Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

Velankanni has one of the country's biggest Catholic pilgrimage centres, the Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health.Devoted to Our Lady of Good Health, it is popularly known as the "Lourdes of the East". It is built in the Gothic style, was modified by Portuguese and then further expanded later on due to the influx of pilgrims. The church building was raised to the status of basilica in 1962 by Pope John XXIII.

What is special about this place : The church's founding is attributed to three miracles: the apparition of Mary and Jesus to a slumbering shepherd boy, the curing of a lame buttermilk vendor, and the survival of Portuguese sailors assaulted by a violent sea storm
Since when has it been there : 16th century
Interesting fact : Annually, 20 million pilgrims flock to the shrine from all over India and abroad,[4] out which an estimated 3 million people visit the shrine during its annual festival from 29 August to 8 September. The 11-day annual festival concludes with the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of Mary on 8 September
Distance from JIPMER : 141 kms
How to get there : easily accessible by road through car or bus.

Temples

1. KAMATCHIAMMAN TEMPLE – Bharathi street, Puducherry

The singularity of the temple lies in the unembellished form of temple structure. The temple is devoted to the worship of Goddess Durga who is representative deity of war. The architecture of the temple is deprived of the furnishings that are present in other temples of the region. The temple withstood the atrocities of time and still stands in its magnificence.

Opening time – 5.30 am , closing time – 9.30 pm
Darshan : morning 6.00 am to 12 noon, evening – 5.00 pm to 9. 00 pm
Distance from JIPMER – 4.5 kms
How to reach – taxi, city bus service

2. KANNIGA PARMESWARI TEMPLE – Kamatchi amman koil street, Puducherry

Unique in its architecture as it blends the style of the French with the traditional Deccan architecture of India. Dedicated to the Goddess Shakti, one of the forms of Maa Kaali- the Deity of Power. The interior ceiling of sanctum is designed in the traditional style of the Tamil architecture and contains motifs on the granite pillars. The construction stands on monolithic pillars that represent European style of architecture.

Timing – 6 am to 11am in the morning, 5 pm to 8 pm in the evening
Distance from JIPMER - 4.8 km
How to reach – city bus, Taxi

3. MANAKULA VINAYAGAR TEMPLE – kamatchi amman koil street, Puducherry

The name literally translates to “God near the pond of sand,” the temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Ganesha. The monumental interiors of the temple are decorated with 40 incarnations and forms of Lord Ganesha, carved 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- the brother to Lord Ganesha. The mega festival of Brahmotsavam is celebrated for 24 days in this temple in the month of August and September. One of the unique attractive features of the temple is that special blessings are given by the Elephant, holistic creature associated with the Lord Ganesha. The temple is roughly three century old.

Timing – morning 05.45 am to 12.30 pm and evening 04.00 pm to 09.00 pm
Distance from JIPMER - 5 Km
How to reach - City bus , taxi

4. SRI GOKILAMBAL THIRUKAMESHWARA TEMPLE – Villanur, Pondicherry

Also known as Villanur temple, is most popular for Brahmotsavam, which is celebrated continuously for 10 days. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in the form of “Shivalinga”. The annual temple car festival held in between the months of May and June involves the pulling of a 15 metres tall chariot through the street by devotees. During the French colonial rule, the Governor of Puducherry used to join the very procession and actively participate In chariot drawing through street. The temple was created by Chola emperors in 12th century

Timings - 5.00 am to 12 noon
Distance from JIPMER - 8.8 km
How to reach – City bus , Taxi

5. SRI VARDARAJA PERUMAL TEMPLE- M G road, Puducherry

Almost 800 years old – one of the oldest in the town belongs to the Deity Lord Narsimha an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu as Vardaraja Perumal and goddess Lakshmi as Thayar are worshipped in this temple. It is believed that idol established in the temple was originally found buried in the earth- extremely beautiful and enchanting smile. The temple is situated beside Vedhapureeshwarar Temple and is managed by same trust. One special activity is that infants are given their first morsel of rice known as “annaprasanam” in front of the deity so that the child may grow with blessings of the deity. The temple is 800 years old and one of the oldest in the town.

Timings - morning 6.30 am to 12.00 noon and evening 04.30 pm to 09.30 pm
Distance from JIPMER - 6.6 km
How to reach - City bus , Taxi

6. VEDHAPUREESWARAR TEMPLE – M G Road

A Temple of Lord Shiva also known as Eashwaran Dharmaraj Koil on M G Road adjacent to Vardaraja Perumal Temple. It’s 75 feet tall colourful “Gopurum” is adorned by statues of gods and goddesses like most temples in South India. The presiding deity is a “Swayambu linga”- meaning the idol manifested on its own and was found in its current form. There is a special temple for the Lord Dakshinamurthy within this temple on the southern side. Devotees perform “abhishekam”- an ancient sacred Hindu custom of bathing a deity in water, milk, honey, ghee, fruit juice and other liquids. Resultant mixture is intended to be served as “prasadam” to the devotees. The original temple was demolished in 1600 and then the remains were reconstructed by devotees.

Timings - Morning 06.30am to 12.00 noon and evening 04.30 pm-09.30 pm
Distance from JIPMER - 6 km
How to reach - City bus, Taxi

Ashrams

1. AUROVILLE - Bommayapalayam

Auroville- or the “City of Dawn” was established by the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo “Mirra Alfassa”. To live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the divine Consciousness, and describe it as belonging to nobody in particular, but to humanity as a whole. It was designed by the French architect Roger Angel. Around 2000 people live in settlements with two third being non-Indian. The central Matrimandir, which is not a temple but a place for individual silent concentration, is set in area of 62 acres at centre. During the inauguration ceremony of Auroville in 1968, soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus shaped urn and mixed to symbolise universal openess.

Timings – Morning 09.30am to 12.30 pm and 2.00 pm – 04.30pm in evening
Distance from JIPMER - 9.1 km
How to reach – City bus, taxi

2. SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM – Marine street, White Town

Came into existence in 1924, It is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of Yoga and modern science. It was set up by Aurobindo Ghosh who after arriving into Pondicherry immersed into spiritual realm and discovered the power of Yoga. Out of his many followers, Mirra Alfassa also known as “the Mother” was entrusted to handle the ashram after him. The ashram’s influence can be felt in most of Pondicherry. The main ashram building is where the mortal remains of Aurobindo and the Mother are kept. Their “Samadhi” or mausoleum, which is generally surrounded by supplicating devotees, is in the central courtyard under a frangipani tree and is covered daily with flowers.

Timing – 6 am to 8 pm daily
Distance from JIPMER - 4.9 km
How to Reach - City bus, Taxi