Pondicherry (or Puducherry), a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, is now a Union Territory town bounded by the southeastern Tamil Nadu state. Its French legacy is preserved in its French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas and chic boutiques. A seaside promenade runs along the Bay of Bengal and passes several statues, including a 4m-high Gandhi Memorial. On the edge of Bharathi Park, the Pondicherry Museum displays carriages, stone sculptures and bronzes. Tranquil Paradise Beach lies south of town and can be reached by boat. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in 1926, is a famous spiritual center devoted to integral yoga. Some 8km north, Auroville (City of Dawn) is a utopian community showcasing the Matrimandir structure’s futuristic golden sphere. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an early-20th-century Catholic church, has a neo-Gothic design. An elephant provides blessings at the entrance of Manakula Vinayagar Temple.