About Mahatma Gandhi Statue
Installed as a tribute to the Father of the Nation, the Gandhi Statue in Pondicherry is one of the most visited monuments of the city. The four feet tall statue made of black marble is the tallest Gandhi statue in all of Asia. The statue captures the essence of Gandhiji, as he ventured out for his infamous Dandi March in the year 1930.
Located on the Seaside Promenade, the black statue towers against the backdrop of the rolling blue waves of the Bay of Bengal. The statue itself is surrounded by eight monolithic pillars. These pillars were transferred from the Gingee Fort in the year 1986, even before the statue itself was installed, which was in the year 1995.
A stage flanks the Gandhi statue towards the front side. This stage is known as the Gandhi Thidal. A number of cultural activities, including dance and music functions, are held on this stage throughout the year. The Gandhi Statue is well-lit and adds to the beauty of the beachside, especially during the evening, and marks the area as a prominent landmark in Pondicherry.
History of Gandhi Statue
The Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Pondicherry was constructed by the celebrated artist, Roy Chaudhury, of the Madras School of Arts and Crafts. Apart from the statue itself, there are eight white monolithic pillars that surround the edifice.
These beautifully carved monolithic pillars was transferred from the Gingee Fort, which is located only 68 kilometers out of Pondicherry, and erected in the year 1986. The Gandhi Statue itself was erected much later, in the year 1995, right opposite to the Old Pier
Highlights of Gandhi Statue
1. The four meter square statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the Beach Promenade in Pondicherry is the biggest Gandhi Statue in Asia.
2. The eight magnificent granite pillars surrounding the statue were transferred all the way from Gingee, a Fort located 70 kilometers away from Pondicherry.
3. There is a tunnel beneath the statue that leads all the way to Gingee. Initially, the government had tried to desilt the tunnel and open it for public use. However, following a fatal accident in which four people got trapped and died of suffocation, the tunnel was closed for good in the 1960’s.
How to Reach Mahatma Gandhi Statue
The Gandhi Statue is located only two kilometers away from the Pondicherry Bus Stand. One can either take the short walk between the two places to get to the statue. Alternatively, one can take a cab or a taxi, or drive their own car to the statue, which would take around 2 minutes only.
Best Time to Visit Mahatma Gandhi Statue
The best time to visit Pondicherry would be during the late autumn and winter months, between October to March. During this time, the temperature here remains relatively low, and the weather remains dry and pleasant enough to enjoy the beachside promenade.
The best time of the day to visit the Gandhi Statue on the Promenade would be during the day or early dawn, when the crowd is relatively lesser and the beach is tranquil and serene.
What Not to Miss at Mahatma Gandhi Statue
Things to Do Near Gandhi Statue
1. Shopping: The Goubert Market is a traditional market located only a short distance away from the Gandhi Statue, making available for the locals the daily essentials at a cheap price. Situated close to the beach is also Anokhi, an apparel store known for its fine quality cotton prints and popular among tourists visiting Pondicherry.
Along the promenade in Puducherry lies AURA, a sea-facing gift shop selling artefacts and handicrafts made in Shri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville. Located inside Dune Mansion is the Ma Pondy Cherie, a concept store selling souvenir items, men and women’s apparel, books, and other handcrafted items.
2. The Pondy Cycle Tour: The Pondy Cycle tour offers a full two hour tour of White Town on 5 fully customized cycle. The tour commences at 7 AM every morning, and gives a tour of the empty Pondicherry streets, enjoyed best in the early morning light. The cycle tour is led by a guide, who takes the cyclists across Goubert Market, through Muslim area and Kuruchikuppam, and finally into Heritage Town. The tour finally ends with an Indian or French style breakfast in the gardens of Sita’s Cultural Centre.
3. Visit the Museums around the locality: Located only a small distance away from the beach is the Pondicherry Museum. Despite being considerably small in size, the museum houses a huge collection of historical artefacts, especially from Arikamedu. The museum also details the local history of Pondicherry, and contains sculptures salvaged from Chola and Vijayanagara Temples.
4. Enjoy A Tour Across the French Colony: Storytrails is a story-based walking tour that takes its participants across the French-influenced section of the city. Led by a group of extremely enthusiastic storytellers, the tour focuses on the everyday, mundane sights of the streets- the local customs, and the meaning and symbolism behind the regular way of life.
5. Enjoy the sunrise at the beach Promenade: The seaside promenade is absolutely perfect for evening and morning strolls. The serenity of the beach is only compounded by the cleanliness. The beachfront promenade is also perfect for enjoying the sunrise and sunsets as well.
6. SCUBA Diving: One can enjoy a number of watersports in the beaches of Pondicherry. There are many organizations offering SCUBA lessons and facilities for beginners and experts alike. Divers can apply for certification courses, as well as one day courses for absolute beginners. Dive into the deep blue waters of the Bay of Bengal and have a glimpse of its colourful marine life. One can spot a great range of corals, kingfisher, manta rays and eels. If one is lucky, one can maybe even spot sharks or whales!
Attractions near Gandhi Statue
1. Kargil War Memorial: The Kargil War Memorial stands at the edge of the Rock Beach in Goubert Avenue, honouring the soldiers lost at Kargil. The marble memorial, standing proudly between four surrounding pillars, is hard to miss. There is no entry fee required to visit the Kargil War Memorial.
2. Old Lighthouse: Standing erect at the foot of Promenade Beach, the Old Lighthouse offers a perfect birds-eye view of the serene city of Pondicherry. The Lighthouse was built in the 19th century by French colonizers in order to guide the ships home.
Following Independence, a newer lighthouse was set up by the Government of India, and the old one stopped functioning. It is now open as a tourist attraction to beachgoers at Promenade. At a nominal feel of Rs. 10, one can climb to the very top and enjoy the open horizon across the beach.
3. Sri Aurobindo Ashram: The Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry is a spiritual community. The Ashram was opened by a select few disciples who had started following Sri Aurobindo after he retired from politics in 1910.
Today, the Ashramites live and work in about four hundred buildings spread across a vast land. The Ashram has become an important destination for spiritual seekers as well as tourists now. The Ashram also houses a bookstore, which contains original works written and published by Aurobindo, as well as collected periodicals and pamphlets.
4. Our Lady of the Angels Church: The Our Lady of the Angels Church, also known as Eglise Notre Dame des Anges, is the oldest and grandest Church in Pondicherry. The original structure was built by Napoleon III in 1855, in Greco-Roman Architecture. The main chapel is flanked by two towering pillars on two sides.
Each tower houses a clock, which although non-functioning in modern times, used to earlier toll at every two hours accompanied by the singing of Ave Maria. The shrine faces the East towards the Bay of Bengals. The Church offers mass in three languages, namely English, French and Tamil.
5. Immaculate Conception Cathedral: The Immaculate Conception Cathedral is the mother Church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore. The Cathedral, built by the Jesuit Fathers who arrived at Pondicherry in the 17th century.
The Church is known for its splendid architecture, as well as the statues and altars lining the church premises. The church houses altars dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux, Our Lady of Good Health, St. Joseph and the Sacred Heart.
Other Essential Information About Mahatma Gandhi Statue
- Location: No. 40, Goubert Avenue, Beach Road, Puducherry – 605001
- Timings: There is no specific timing to visit the Gandhi Statue. The statue remains open for public view at all times.
- Entry fee: There is no entry fee required to visit the Gandhi Statue.
- Visitor's Facility: There are toilet facilities available at the Promenade Beach, but they are all Pay and Use.
- Parking Facility: There are parking spaces available on Promenade Beach Road.
- Distance from Pondicherry bus stand: the statue is located at a distance of 2.5 kilometers from the Pondicherry Bus Stand.
Places to stay in Near Gandhi Statue
1. A La Villa Creole: Nestled within the French Quarters of Pondicherry, A La Villa Creole is a luxury guesthouse offering a ten person stay. The guesthouse offers four double bedded rooms, each attached to a toilet of its own. The homestay is perfect for a large family or group stay with friends. The homestay also has a restaurant of its own, free Wi-Fi services for its guests and nearby parking facilities.
2. Villa Bayoud Sea View Heritage Hotel: Offering splendid views of the Seaside Promenade, this heritage hotel offers 14 rooms for stay. The fully air conditioned rooms are equipped with modern amenities, such as Wi-Fi services and a flat screen television. The specialty stay also offers free breakfast services, a children's activity area and a bay view.
3. Hotel Coramandal Heritage: This 150 year old Franco-Tamil heritage stay at the heart of the colonial town. In 2007, the ancient home was converted into a guesthouse. This peaceful stay in the heart of Pondicherry offers 10 luxurious rooms for stay, fitted with the most modern amenities. Coramandal Heritage also offers a café of its own, with a cyber ether. The hotel prides in its bonus facilities of a painting gallery, showcasing South-Arcot paintings, and a boutique selling the finest cotton products.
4. Hotel du Parc: Located only a short stroll away from the beachside Promenade is this magical heritage stay. The hotel complex was established as early as the 17th century, and served as a residence for many of the French Governors staying in Pondicherry, including Dupleix. The hotel offers 10 colonial-themed rooms for stay, fitted with modern amenities. It also offers free breakfast and Wi-Fi services for its residents.
5. Dumas Guest House: The Dumas Guest House is a 19th century Colonial Heritage guest house located in the French quarters of Pondicherry. The seven well-equipped rooms of the guest house are fully air conditioned, and each is fitted with their own personal bathroom as well as a personal refrigerator. The guest house also has a private garden and a terrace available for the joint use of the guests.
Places to eat near Gandhi Statue
1. Flaming Dragons: Flaming Dragons in Pondicherry is known for its accommodating menu, spanning across multiple cuisine options including Chinese, Indian and Asian cuisines. The restaurant is also known for its offer of beverages and drinks. Apart from its posh, interior setting, Flaming Dragons also offers outdoor seating options on its terrace. The restaurant also offers romantic candle light dinner services upon request.
2. Le Cafe. Beach. Not Just Coffee: Located on the beach itself, this café remains open 24x7. The café is one of the oldest ones in Pondicherry, built as early as 1950. The beachfront café offers a wide range of junk and finger food, including sandwiches, pizzas and fries. The café is especially well known for its offer of wood fire pizza. It offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options as well.
3. Lighthouse: The Lighthouse is the rooftop restaurant of the Hotel Promenade. Deriving its name from the Old Lighthouse which lies close to the diner, Lighthouse offers a fine dining experience to its guests. This beachfront hotel delights in its Asian offers, and operates from breakfast through dinner, as well as after-hour services. The restaurant has a bar of its own, serving drinks 5pm onwards. The restaurant offers indoor as well as outdoor seating options.
4. Bay of Buddha: This terrace restaurant in Pondicherry offers authentic Asian options with ample vegetarian offers. Bay of Buddha is well known for its sushi and seafood variety, made from the freshest catch of the day. The restaurant also houses a bar of its own. It also organizes candle light dinners for its diners upon request.
Tips for visiting Gandhi Statue in Pondicherry
1. It is best to visit the statue during early daytime or dawn, when the crowd is not very heavy.
2. Make sure to carry your beach essentials while visiting the Gandhi Statue.
3. Pondicherry beaches can get extremely hot at times. Make sure you were loose, cotton clothing and carry summer essentials such as sunglasses, sunscreen and so on.
4. There are parking facilities available at Promenade beach.