Churches in Pondicherry


Immaculate Conception Cathedral Churche opening and closing time
Opening Time : , Closing Time :

Location: 204, Mission Street, Puducherry.
Approximate visiting time: 1 hour plus traveling time

Immaculate Conception Cathedral is the cathedral mother church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore. It is also known as "Samba Kovil", which is a phonetic corruption of "Saint Paul's Kovil" where "Kovil" means church. Located on Mission Street, this cathedral, which bears a strong resemblance to a church in France, was built in 1791 on the ruins of the older church. The imposing facade presents paired Doric columns below and ionic above. In front of the church is a statue of Our Lady with the infant Jesus in her arms. The interior design consists of eight barrel vaults and a central dome pierced with eight circular openings.The Jesuit Fathers came to the French colony of Pondicherry as missionaries in 1689. There they bought a very large garden to the west of the French Fort. In the 1692 they, with the financial help of Louis XIV, king of France, erected a church which was demolished by the Dutch in the following year. A second Church was quickly built in 1699 but could not last long.From 1728 to 1736 a large church was built on the site of the present Cathedral. This third church was razed to the ground by the British in 1761 during the Seven Years War.Provisionally erecting in 1765 (fourth in serial) a functional kind of irregular shaped shed where the Mission Press (official press depot of the archdiocese) is now, since the year 1770 the Fathers were earnest in building the present cathedral on the foundations of the 3rd Church. On 20 June 1791 the main work was finished and the Church was consecrated by Bishop Champenois. The Bell tower was built later. The choir loft was added in 1905. The Sanctuary was remodelled in the year 1970. The esplanade in front of the Cathedral was remodelled in 1987, to allow people to take part in liturgical ceremonies and special functions held outside.The Fest of this Church i.e., Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary falls on the 8th of December. The 300 years old church is also the residence of the bishop. Mass services in Tamil and English are conducted.It is one of the oldest tourist sites in the city and was visited by Mother Teresa during her visit to Puducherry.


The Sacred Heart of Jesus Churche opening and closing time
Timings: 5:30am - 12:30pm and 6:00pm
Sunday Tamil mass: 6:15pm
Location: M.G. Road, Puducherry.

In the year 1895, the then Archbishop Mgr. Gandhi consecrated the Archdiocese of Pondicherry to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He wished to build a new church in devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus. Rev.Fr. Telesphore Welter, the parish priest of Nellithope prepared the building plan and parish priest of the Cathedral Rev.Fr. Fourcaud commenced the construction of the new church in 1902 at the Southern side of Pondicherry.The blessing of the church and the first mass were held at the western wing of the present church by Mgr. Gandhi on 17, December 1907 and the new parish surrounding this church was established on 27, January 1908. The year 2008-2009 was celebrated as centenary year of founding of the parish. A special postal stamp and postal envelope were released to mark the valedictory function of the centenary celebrations.At the end of the Centenary Celebrations on June 2009, a request was placed through Telesphore Toppo, President of CBCI, to the Holy See for the elevation of this church to a Basilica. The Holy See granted the status of minor basilica to the church, with a papal brief dated Friday 24 June 2011. This arrived on Friday 29 July 2011 at the archbishop's house and was officially announced by Mgr. Antony Anandarayar, Archbishop of Pondicherry and Cuddalore on the same day. The Papal Nuncio to India, Salvatore Pennacchio (Titular Archbishop of Montemarano) visited the basilica on September 2, 2011 and officially declared the church as a basilica in the name of the Holy See. At present the basilica is headed by Rector S. Maria Joseph.These degrees are inscribed near the main entrance of the basilica above the stoups.This 100 years old historical church is 50mts. long 48mts. wide and 18mts. high with Latin rite cross shape in aerial view is in Gothic style. 24 main columns hold the structure. A biblical verse from 2nd Chronicles 7:16 is written above the entrance door in Latin "sanctificavi locum istum, ut sit nomen meum ibi" which means "I have consecrated this house, that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there forever." Inside the church there are glass pictures of 28 saints who were related to the devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus. Statues of the four evangelists were erected, beneath which there are four lamp posts describing their lives and inviting Jesus and the twelve apostles, on the front facade. The Grotto for Sacred Heart of Jesus facing the City Railway Station were added and the church illuminated inside and out with chandeliers, focus and flood lights.Location132, Subbaiah Salai, Puducherry, 605001 Mass Timings Mon - Sat 5:30am, 12:30pm, 6:00pm Sunday 5:30am, 7:30am, 12:00pm, 5:00pm (English mass)6:15pm (Tamil mass)


Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges Churche opening and closing time
Timings: 5:30am - 12:30pm and 6:00pm
Location: Dumas street and Surcoof St, White Town, Puducherry.

Looking out over the main beach with its frontage facing the rising sun, the church of Our Lady of Angels stands in the former Capuchins' square, surrounded by the streets Dumas, Surcouf and Romain Rolland. Between the church and the sea lies a little garden, in the middle of which stands a statue of Joan of Arc, armoured and carrying a battle standard. The statue and the garden bearing her name, were acquired and gifted by Francois Gaudart, politician and industrialist, shortly before his return to France in 1919. The statue was installed in April 1923.Established by the Capuchins, three other churches with the same name preceded the current one. Indeed, the first French cleric to settle down in Pondicherry, as early as 1674, belonged to the Capuchin order. A first church was built in 1707, a year after the death of Francois Martin, the first French Governor of Pondicherry. When it grew small and threatened to collapse, a second church was built between 1739 and 1758, under the rule of Governors Dumas and his successor Dupleix. But like most of the city around it, it was razed to the ground by the English in 1761. A third church, of which only the square bell-tower and the reallocated nave remain, was then built at the corner of the streets Dumas and Surcouf, from 1765 to 1770. In 1828, the Capuchins gave way to the Holy Spirit Fathers, who built the current church (from 1851 to 1855) during the episcopate of Msgr. Bonnand, Vicar Apostolic of the Coromandel Coast.Credit for its construction must be given to the engineer Louis Guerre (1800-1865), descended from a family based in Pondicherry since the eighteenth century; he also built many other beautiful residences in the neighbourhood, including the Vice- Consul's residence and the presbytery."The construction of the entire building is of the same nature: made up of brickwork with lime mortar and sand for the foundations, the rising walls and the vaults and arches". Priests from the Paris Foreign Missions Society began to replace the Holy Spirit Fathers from 1887 onwards. The church since it was built, has traditionally housed a priest from France, but since 2008, it is being served by a Frenchspeaking Tamil priest, Fr. Michael John Antonysamy. The Capuchins being a Franciscan Order, the church derives its name from the St. Mary of the Angels Basilica in Assisi, which contains the 'Portioncule', the little chapel that was restored by Saint Francis and where he founded his first community. Our Lady of Angels stands out by virtue of its immensity, accentuated by its two square bell-towers on the front facade and the polygonal dome above the crossing. This church with a Latin-cross plan stands atop a substructure and occupies a space of 55 by 35 metres. It can be reached through two symmetrical staircases, with a dozen stairs each. The front facade is divided into three bays at the lower level, marked by the three openings. The central bay projects slightly forward and is decorated by a triangular pediment above an entablature supported by twin fluted pilasters of the Ionic order. This serves as the main entrance while the two windows to the side are aligned with the aisles of the nave. Two inscriptions in Latin can be seen on the facade. One is on the lintel above the entrance: DOMUS DEI (House of God), while the other is on the frieze of the entablature: D.O.M. (Domino Optimo Maximo - To the Lord, the best and greatest) SUB INVOCATIONE DOMINAE ANGELORUM (Under the protection of Our Lady of Angels).The towers have two levels and are crowned by a rooftop terrace with stone handrails and rectangular balusters. Around the edge of the first level are 24 niches, in which the statues of the 12 apostles and 12 urns are to be found in alternation. Each side of the second level (which houses the bells) features a round arched window that is partly covered by an abat-son. The side facades are punctuated by vertical rectangular windows, one in each bay of the nave. As in the main facade, the overarching entablature is borne by fluted pilasters of the Ionic order. Both the facades of the northern and southern arms of the transept bear a triangular pediment in the spirit of the main facade. The side entrances, through which light enters the transept, may be reached through a stairway with two flights of converging half-pace stairs.The main entrance leads to a narthex that is shielded by a gallery held up by four coupled Corinthian columns. The five bays of the nave and the arms of the transept are covered by a barrel vault whereas the aisles lie under groined vaults patterned with transverse ribs supported by pilasters of Tuscan Doric order. The crossing of the transept is crowned by a drum dome propped on pendentives. The nave extends past the transept and ends in a semicircular apse. The interior architecture includes huge semicircular arches separated by Corinthian pilasters bearing an entablature that goes all the way round the building. Directly above the pilasters, transverse ribs rise from the entablature and reinforce the barrel vault.The coffers on the vault are deeply moulded and decorated with stylised flowers. The sidewalls are to receive 14 plaster panels of the Stations of the Cross (painted in 2011). These were created in the Parisian studio of the sculptor Jean-Bernard Duseigneur (1808-1866).The interior of the church is luminous, and presents a contrast between the brightness of the aisles where there is movement and the relative dimness of the nave, suitable for contemplation.The dome located above the high altar, diffuses a soft glow of light through its eight latticework glass windows based on the primary colours of blue, yellow and red. The slightly elevated high altar is made of white marble with grey veins. It was gifted by Francois Gaudart. Flanked by two pairs of columns in red marble, a low-relief of the Last Supper is displayed on it in wrought brass. The work however remains anonymous. A grave marker on the ground, in front of the altar, carries two names, that of Hyacinthe de Lalande de Calan, Governor of the French settlements in India, deceased on 14th June 1850, and that of his daughter Marie Louise de Calan, deceased on 25th February 1851. Shortly before his death, the Governor must have planned to build the new Church of Our Lady of Angels on which work had begun in 1851.From 2009-2012, the church of Our Lady of Angels underwent a major renovation programme led by the Association of Friends of Pondicherry Heritage, that gave the edifice back its lustre. The exterior and the interior of the building were completely repainted. A substantial amount of preliminary work was carried out. The most important of these include: waterproofing work, refitting of the 22 windows, restoration of the 8 dome windows, reparation of the light, sound and electrical system, reworking of the tiling, restoring the 4 columns on the altar, refurbishment of the wooden furniture (unique to Pondicherry) including the caning of the benches and the restitution of the Stations of the Cross.All this work was executed by firms and artisans from Pondicherry, under the direction of the general contractor Patrick Lafourcade (who died in an accident on the 4th of March 2011), and then under Samuel Victor. The work was financed primarily through individual donations coming from the faithful of the church of Our Lady of Angels, the Association of Friends of Pondicherry Heritage and casual visitors. This was supplemented by grants from the French Ministry of Culture and the VMF Foundation (Fondation des Vieilles Maisons Francaises).The renovated church was blessed on 4th March 2012 by the Most Rev. Dr. Antony Anandarayar, Archbishop of Pondicherry. The rehabilitation of the environs of the church and the garden of Joan of Arc, will be carried out in a future renovation programme.The church of Our Lady of Angels is the only church in Pondicherry where mass is celebrated every Sunday, in all the three languages of the city: French, English and Tamil.


Lady Of Good Health Churche opening and closing time
Timings Week Days - 6.00 am Thursday - 5.30 pm Saturday - 6.00 am and 5.30 pm Sunday - 7.30 am
Location: Ariyankuppam, Puducherry.

The church is located in Ariyankuppam, a village 4 km south of Puducherry, and makes for an interesting cycling expedition off the beaten track. After the French coming to Pondicherry in 1673, Armenians under the leadership of Bishop ADDA SIMON built the Church of Our Lady of Conception in 1690. This church was given to the Jesuits of the Carnatic Mission around 1700 and the church was renamed Church of Our Lady of Health. The interior has rounded arches carrying a vault over the central aisle. A freestanding Crucifix is displayed upon the altar and brightly painted wooden images are set on shelves in the side walls. It has been a very popular pilgrimage amongst the people of Pondicherry for the last 270 years.LocationMadha Koil Street, Ariyankuppam, Puducherry 605007 Mass Timings Week Days - 6.00 am Thursday - 5.30 pmSaturday - 6.00 am & 5.30 pmSunday - 7.30 am


Churche Of Our Lady of Lourdes opening and closing time
MASS TIMINGS Week Days 6:00am
Mass: 1st Saturday 5:30am, 6:45am, 11:30am, 6:00pm
Mass: Sunday6:00am, 7:30am, 5:30pm
Location: Villianur, Puducherry.

This interesting church is located at Villianur, a small town 11 km. from Puducherry. It was erected in 1876 and is in the model of the Basilica in France. The statue of Notre Dame was donated by the French Government a year later after the church was erected. A curious feature here is the Church tank, which is usually common in most Hindu temples. We can only speculate about the purpose of the tank. Was it an attempt to assimilate the local customs or was it built out of necessity is still a question. The ritual bathing in the tank, a long standing tradition, is one of the highlights during the festival honouring Madonna held in June.Church HistoryIn 1867, missionaries in Pondy decided to build a chapel. After 10 long years the same was ready and Rev. Fr. Tharbes, a cousin of Bernadette - the visionary of Lourdes - was appointed as the parish priest. This is the first Church outside France to be named after Our Lady of Lourdes. A generous donation allowed the commissioning of a statue under the supervision of Bernadette who had seen the original apparition. Despite three dangerous falls, the box containing the Holy Mother's statue arrived intact at Pondicherry on 4th April 1877.Legend has it that Thambusamy Mudaliar, a native of Kumbakonam, prayed before the statue and was later cured by a vision of the Lady of Lourdes. From then on thousands have flocked to lay eyes upon the statue to be cured of all manner of infirmities. In 1885 the Arch Bishop went to Rome and reported the numerous miracles that took place at this Shrine to the Holy Father and got permission on February 21st, 1886 to declare this as an official Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Villianur and to crown the statue in his name.On his return from Rome, on 8th May 1886 in a grand celebration, witnessed by around 40,000 people, during the pontifical high mass the Arch Bishop crowned the miraculous statue in the name of Pope Leo XIII and declared this church as the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes at Villianur and attached permanent plenary indulgences to this shrine.Sacred PondA natural pond in front of the chapel, once used as a water reservoir for irrigation of the lands around, was consecrated and another statue from Lourdes, France was installed in its centre. Believers take water from this pond bring blessing upon their house. This is the only Catholic Church in Asia to have such a pond.The Grotto19 years after Our Lady's apparition at Lourdes, the first church and grotto for Our Lady of Lourdes was constructed in 1877. The centenary celebrations were held on September 10th 1977. Rev. Fr. Duissen planned the construction of a larger grotto outside the Church based on the one inside the Church which was in accordance with instructions of the Second Vatican conference.Pilgrimage on FootAs a sign of gratitude to Our Lady of Villianur, for saving the city from a cyclone, the first pilgrimage on foot (12 Km.) took place on October 10, 1977 from Pondicherry and this beautiful tradition is still continued on the second Saturday in the month of October.Stations of the CrossIn 2009 the Stations of the Cross were constructed around the 'Sacred Pond'. MASS TIMINGS Week Days 6:00am - Mass1st Saturday5:30am, 6:45am, 11:30am - Mass, 6:00pm - Mass & Car ProcessionSaturday6:00am, 11:30am, 6:00pmSunday6:00am, 7:30am - Mass, 5:30pm - Mass and Car ProcessionFeastFlag Hoisting - The Saturday after Easter Sunday. Feast - The 15th day after Easter Sunday i.e. third Sunday of Easter Season.LITURGICAL TIMINGSSecond Saturday of October2:00pm - Pilgrim Walk starts from the Cathedral, Pondicherry.5:30pm - Mass at Villianur. Contact SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF LOURDESCHURCH STREET, VILLIANUR, PONDICHERRY 605110,