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Park Monument or Aayi Mandapam
Pondicherry holds within itself rich and interesting stories about the arrival of the European maritime powers of the 16th century ,the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Danes, the English ,the French, setting foot first in 1670 and most importantly about how a tiny fishing village was transformed into a grand port city by the 18th century. This union territory of India has for long become a hot tourist spot for travelers all around the world. Sightseeing in Pondicherry is a wonderful experience and one of the most significant places you must see is Park monument or Aayi Mandapam in Pondicherry. Other places include the Botanical Gardens in Pondicherry, The Statue of Dupleix in Pondicherry and many more.
The most beautiful public space in Pondicherry is the green and shaded Government Park located in the heart of Pondicherry and standing proudly in its centre is Park Monument or Aayi Mandapam in Pondicherry. Built in Greco-Roman architecture during the reign of Napoleon III, Emperor of France, this milky white structure is a pride of Pondicherry .The Park Monument or Aayi Mandapam in Pondicherry is a well-planned structure with beautiful lawns, flowerbeds and fountains situated in front of the Raj Niwas, the residence of the Lieutenant Governor.
Going back to the history of Pondicherry, we come to know that this monument has an interesting story of Aayi attached to it who was a 16th century courtesan. Once a king was passing by her residence and on seeing her candle lit home he mistook it to be a holy place and wandered to it. When he came to know that he had done a mistake, the King felt very guilty. His anger and frustration at his gross judgment so touched the heart of the lady that she razed down her home and replaced it with a reservoir. Some 300 years after this incident, this place served to quench the thirst of Napoleon's men. When Napoleon heard of the story, he decided to build a monument as a tribute to Aayi and the monument came to be known as Park Monument of Pondicherry.
When ever you come to Pondicherry, do visit this this magnificent monument still standing tall and narrating the story of the courtesan.