DANEBORG FORT ~ TRANQUEBAR
A short trip south from Pondicherry is The Daneborg Fort at Tranquebar. The crumbling fort is located right on the coast. It was once a Danish post that was first settled in 1620. It has lots of nooks and crannies to explore including some old cells and storerooms.
There is a dusty but sweet old museum with some quaint artifacts from Danish history. Overall it is well worth the trip here. Your kids will thank you especially after 2 hours of playing “wars”…
One place definitely not to be missed when visiting Pondicherry is Auroville. Situated only 12km from Pondicherry it is an easy trip by auto-rickshaw or taxi.
Auroville is an international community that was started by a French lady “The Mother” in 1968 (the Mother was a close associate of Sri Aurobindo). It is an amazing conglomeration of communities set out over 20kms.
First you must go to the visitor centre and watch the free obligatory but very interesting video presentation on Auroville. You will then be issued with a pass to visit the Matrimandir (from the outside). The Matrimandir is a short walk from the visitors centre. It is a huge, gold ball that looks just like a golf ball. It is the spiritual centre of Auroville. If you wish to visit the inside of the Matrimandir you must gain a special pass that entitles you to visit for an hour on Sundays.
At the visitors centre you will find a photo exhibition, Boutique d’Auroville, Seagulls Bookshop and Info Cafe. Often they sell local crafts there too. When I was there last I bought some tiny, divine hand-made dolls made by disadvantaged widows. All proceeds went directly back to these ladies.
It is also possible to visit different communities within Auroville. You will need to ask about this at the information office at the visitors centre.
An important tip…If you go to Auroville on a rainy day do NOT wear white or light coloured trousers. Unfortunately the red soil found there does not agree with light colours and you will never get the stains out!