As the lonely planet guide said, go to pondicherry expecting a bucolic european indian setting and you are bound to be disappointed. Most of pondicherry is quintessentially TamilNadu - hot, noisy and crowded. Nevertheless it does have its share of "cool" spots to offer to the visitor, the botanical gardens, the beach and the promonade, auro beach and neighbouring auroville.
Below are images from a stroll around the botanical gardens.. a little unkept and run over, nevertheless a nice way to escape the blistering heat.
A beautiful silk cotton tree
Gigantic trunks of the silk cottons
The African Mahagony (khaya senegalensis) - there was a board saying this was the oldest specimen in the country.