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Puducherry is a multi-lingual, multi-religious region with people from various faiths. Around 350-450 temples are in and around Puducherry.Same are with Karaikal which has half the strength of temples as Puducherry.Most of the temples seems to have been built up during 10th and 12th century. A sizeable share is dedicated to the local deities.

TEMPLES
1.Villiannur:

You can locate the architecturally fine sight of the Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswara Temple, 10 kms from Puducherry. Thousands of devotees converge here for a ten-day annual festival (Brahmotsavam), held during May - June along with the appearance of the full moon.

A devout crowd takes out the massive 15m tall temple chariots, basking in finery, on a procession. It's a remarkable sight. The Lt. Governor of Puducherry ritually joins the heave. A secular practice, carried over from the French days, when the French Governeurs themselves used to draw the car out on the streets. Besides, the breath-taking Ousteri lake nearby, spread over 10 hectares, is home to rare varieties of birds.

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Ten kms from Puducherry the famous temple of Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswarer is situated at a place called "Villiannur". This has massive 15 m tall temple chariot, which is usually taken out on a procession during the Brahmotsavam festival during the month of May - June along with the appearance of the full moon. Remarkable is the secular practice carried over from the French days when the French Governers themselves used to draw the car out on the streets. Besides, the temple is the calm cool serene Ousteri lake spread over 10 hectares. For the bird watchers this will be an interesting place to see rare varieties of migratory birds.

2.ThirunallarTemple:

Thirunallar is 5 kms west of Karaikal. The sanctum sanctorum of Lord Dharbaraneswara Temple holds Siva as the main deity. However, its shrine dedicated to Saneeswaran (Saturn), which figures in the story of Naki Damayanti; makes this the most famous Saturn temple in India.

The blessings of Saturn are said to be overwhelming, while its wrath causes great misery. The temple hosts a mammoth festival (Shani peyarchi), each time Saturn moves from one sign of the zodiac to another.

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To the west of Karaikal there is a famous Siva temple where the shrine is dedicated to Saneeswaran (Saturn).This is among the very few Shani (Saturn) temples of India.It is believed that blessings of Saturn are overwhelming, while the wrath of Saturn (Sani) causes great misery.As per the indian astrology each time the saturn moves from one zodiac sign to other, the temple hosts a festival called "Mammoth Festival" (Shani Peyarchi ).

3.The Varadraja Temple:

The Varadaraja Temple (12th century) is the most important Vishnu temple in town, located just west of Gandhi Road, off Tyagraja Street. Here Narasimha sits behind Venkatachalapathy, the main deity.

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This 12th century temple is supposed to be the most important Vishnu Temple in town. This is located in the west of Gandhi Road, off Tyagraja Street.Here, Narasimha sits behind Venkatachalapathy, the main deity.

4.Vedapureeswarer Temple

Another Siva Shrine but of 18th century stone inscriptions and a swayambhulinga in Puducherry is very famous.Recently renovated, the gopuram (tower) adds to its beauty and is brilliantly colourful.

5.Manakkula Vinayakar Temple

Manakkula Vinayakar Temple is located behind Raj Nivas and near to Arabindo Ashram is a place of attraction for the tourist in Puducherry.The story goes that a Frenchman finding the place of worship a nuisance made several futile attempts to throw away the deity.Strangly it kept reappearing.Convinced,he turned an active beleiver.There it is also fondly referred to as Vellakkaran (White Man) Pillai (Ganesha). The elephant belonging to the temple is an attraction for children.

6.Karikal Ammaiyar Temple

This temple has an image of the lady saint who is said to be among 63 saints of Lord Siva. Legend says that Lord Siva disguised himself as an ascentic seeking alms from a lady called "Punithavathi" from Karaikal.A small and beautiful temple erected right where she lived and prayed.

7.Srim Moolanthar Temple

This is a 10th century Temple, about 25 km from the city. The temple boasts of some granite carvings of Bharat Natyam Mudras (poses).

 
MOSQUES
Masthan Saheb Darga:

Dedicated to Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari, a Sufi saint who came to Karaikal from Buhara two centuries ago. He died aged 120, in 1829. Various miracles are attributed to him. The above 170-year-old Kandhuri Festival (November) is celebrated in his commemoration. It starts with the hoisting of a huge flag on a pole - reminiscent of a ship mast and a sea-fairing tradition. And winds up, 10 days later with a spectacle of floats lit with electric colors.

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A Sufi Saint, Masthan Saheb Syed Dawood Buhari came to Karaikal two centuries ago.Various Miracles are attributed to him.He died at the age of 120 in 1829.In his commemoration 170 years old Kandhuri festival is celebrated.It starts with hoisting of a huge flag on a pole depicting a ship mast and sea-faring tradition.The festival concludes on the 10th day with spectacle of floats lit with electric colours.

 
CHURCHES:

The Church of the Capuchins was the first built in Puducherry and the only building that survived the destruction of the town in 1761. Today it is but a shell, however it has an interesting gabel.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Cathedral, was built in 1791 on the place of a former church. It was built based on a design of an existing church in France and has varied ornamental decorations.

The Holy Heart of Jesus is an example of Gothic masonry work. It contains rare and beautiful stained glass panels depicting events of the life of Christ.

The Notre Dame des Anges (1852) is a beautifully built Church facing the ocean. Its clear lines, Greek-Roman architecture and mellow colours add to its harmony and the interior finish of shell-lime (Chettinad) plaster is superb.

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French missionary zeal in the 17th and 18th centuries saw a number of grandly embellished churches built in Puducherry. The Churches of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Eglise de Notre Dame de la Immaculate Conception, Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges in Puducherry, the Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes in Villianur are particularly noteworthy.



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