Puducherry: Wikis


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Territoire de Pondichéry
Union Territory of Puducherry
Location of புதுச்சேரி

Territoire de Pondichéry
Union Territory of Puducherry
Coordinates 11°56′N 79°50′E / 11.93°N 79.83°E / 11.93; 79.83
Country  India
District(s) 4
Established 1 July 1963
Capital Puducherry
Largest city Puducherry
Lt. Governor Iqbal Singh
Chief Minister V.Vaithilingam
Legislature (seats) Unicameral (30)
973829 (2nd)
1,979 /km2 (5,126 /sq mi)
Official languages Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, French
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 492 km2 (190 sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 IN-PY
Website www.pondicherry.gov.in

Puducherry; Tamil: புதுச்சேரி (Putuccēri), Telugu: పుదుచ్చేరి (Puducěri), Malayalam: പുതുശ്ശേരി (Putuśśēri), French: Pondichéry, English Pondicherry, is a Union Territory of India. It is a former French colony, consisting of four non-contiguous enclaves, or regions, and named after the largest region, Puducherry[1]. Of late, Puducherry is also considered an educational hub of southern India, having 1 central university, 8 medical colleges, 10 engineering colleges, 3 dental colleges, 2 law colleges, 1 veterinary college, 1 agricultural college, 10 arts & science colleges, & 5 polytechnic colleges functioning within its territory. Many medical and engineering colleges including one national institute of technology and a state-owned university are also reported to be in queue.

This article contains Indic text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks or boxes, misplaced vowels or missing conjuncts instead of Indic text.



Puducherry consists of four unconnected regions: Puducherry, Karaikal, and Yanam on the Bay of Bengal and Mahé on the Arabian Sea. Puducherry and Karaikal are by far the larger ones, and are both enclaves of Tamil Nadu. Yanam and Mahé are enclaves of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, respectively.

The territory has a total area of 492 km2 (190 sq mi): Puducherry 293 km2 (113 sq mi), Karaikal 160 km2 (62 sq mi), Mahé 9 km2 (3.5 sq mi) and Yanam 30 km2 (12 sq mi). It has 900,000 inhabitants (2001).


Pondicherry was mentioned in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 1st century CE.

There are various references to the word 'Poduke', a port town on the coromandal coast, in history. The identification of a Roman trading centre in the immediate vicinity of Pondicherry adds weight to the equation of Poduke with Pondicherry. Although this has been suggested by more than one writer, the equation of Poduke with Puduvai the name by which the town was known in the early days, seems to be more acceptable. According to tradition, the town was once upon a time an abode of scholars well versed in the Vedas and hence came to be known as Vedapuri. During the days of Ottakoothar and Kambar in the 11th and 12th centuries, Puducherry was known in its shortened form as Puthuvai.

Joseph François Dupleix became the Governor of the French Territory in India on 15 January 1742 and brought Madras also under French control in September 1746; Madras continued under French rule for 30 years. An attack on Pondicherry by the British in 1748 failed. Dupleix's help to Chanda Sahib and Musafer Jung in 1750 added Villianur and Bahour, a group of 36 villages, to French control. This was the peak period of the French regime; thereafter there was a decline in their sovereignty.

Internal disturbances in Pondicherry gave the British the opportunity, in August 1793, to gain control of Pondicherry; it was administered as part of Madras till 1815. However, after the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the British restored the settlements, which the French had possessed on 1 January 1792, back to the French in 1816. French rule continued till 31 October 1954[2].

Pondicherry helped in the freedom movement in British India since 1910. Sri Aurobindo of Bengal came to Pondicherry in 1910 followed by patriots like Poet Subramanya Bharathi, V.V.C Iyer and others. In 1918, the British demanded the extradition of Sri Aurobindo and other freedom fighters. The French government did not comply with this. Gandhi visited Pondicherry in 1934 and Jawaharlal Nehru in 1939.

Following the understanding reached between the Governments of India and France, the question of the merger of Pondicherry with the Indian Union was referred to the elected representatives of the people for decision in a secret ballot on 18 October 1954; 170 out of 178 elected representatives favored the merger. The de facto transfer of power took place on 1 November 1954; the de jure transfer on 16 August 1962.

French influence

Pondicherry still retains much evidence of its history as a French colony. The design of the city was based on the French (originally Dutch, the plans of Pondicherry dating from the end of the seventeenth century (1693-1694) are preserved in the National Archives at The Hague) grid pattern and features neat sectors and perpendicular streets. The entire town is divided into two sections, the French Quarter ('Ville Blanche' or 'White town') and the Indian quarter ('Ville Noire' or 'Black Town'). The history of French India is led by Joseph François Dupleix, governor general of the French establishment in India, and rival of Robert Clive. Dupleix was primarily responsible for the Carnatic Wars. At first Dupleix was successful in resisting the attacks of the English East India Company, but he lost in the later battles.

There is also French influence in the layout of the city. The numbering of the houses is unique compared to other cities in Tamil Nadu, in that all with the even numbers are on one side and the odd number are on the opposite side of the road.

Official languages of Government

Map of Puducherry Region, Union Territory of Puducherry, India

The official languages of Puducherry are Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and French. The status of each language varies with respect to each district. When communicating between districts of different languages, generally English is used for convenience[citation needed].

Tamil: Language used by the people in the Tamil majority districts of Puducherry and Karikal. Also the official language in neighbouring Tamil Nadu state.

Telugu: Another official language of Puducherry, but used more within Yanam (Telugu region). So, more correctly, it is considered a regional official language of Puducherry while being the official language of Yanam region. It also has an official language status in the state of Andhra Pradesh. And is spoken widely in Puducherry and Karaikal also.

Malayalam: Another official language of Puducherry, but used more within Mahé (Malayalam region). So, more correctly, it is considered a regional official language of Puducherry while being the official language of Mahé region. It also has an official language status in Kerala State and Lakshadweep Islands Union Territory.

French: Also the official language of Puducherry Union Territory. It was the official language of French India (1673-1954) and its official language status was preserved by the Traité de Cession signed by India and France on 28 May 1956.

French remained as the de jure official language of Pondicherry U.T by the Article XXVIII of Traité de Cession which states that:

"Le français restera langue officielle des Établissements aussi longtemps que les représentants élus de la population n'auront pas pris une décision différente" (French version)
"The French language will remain the official language of the Establishments as long as the elected representatives of the people do not take a different decision" (English version)

Languages spoken

Languages (2008)
Languages Percentage
Tamil 89.18 %
Others 10.82
Total 100

As of 1981, number of people speaking in each official languages are,


Puducherry is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India.[citation needed] The city has many colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues, which, combined with the systematic town planning and the well planned French style avenues, still preserve much of the colonial ambience.

The most popular tourist destinations are the four beaches in Puducherry, which are Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serinity Beach[4]. Sri Aurobindo Ashram located on rue de la Marine, is one of the best-known and wealthiest ashrams in India. Auroville (City of Dawn) is an "experimental" township located 8 km North-West of Puducherry. Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities[5].

There are a number of eighteenth and nineteenth century churches in Puducherry as well as a number of heritage buildings and monuments are present around the Promenade beach such as the Children’s Park & Dupleix Statue, Gandhi statue, Nehru Statue, Le Café, French War Memorial, 19th Century Light House, Bharathi Park, Governers Palace, Romain Rolland Library, Legislative Assembly, Puducherry Museum, and the French Institute of Pondicherry at Saint-Louis Street.

Joyful boat rides at Chunnambar boat house (Puducherry-Cuddalore Road) and at Osutari lake, Botanical Garden for joyful train ride and for unseen natures beauty.

ThiRukAameeswarar Temple is one of the ancient, beautiful, and huge temples that is located in a beautiful rural town called "Villianur" (the ancient name was Vilvanallur, which means "vilva maranGal niraindha nalla vUr"), which is located about 10 km away (towards Villupuram) from Puducherry town. This temple is Renowned As "Periya Koil", which MeANs "BiG Temple" in Puducherry locality. The prime god is Lord Shiva and the prime goddess is Goddess Kokilambigai. In addition, there are also other HindU gods such as MuRUgan, Vinayagar, ThakShAnaMoorthY, Perumal, Bhramah, Chandikeshwarar, Natarajar, Navagrahah, and 63 Naayanmaars. The pioneers in this temple say that the age of this temple is about 1000+ years. This seemed to be constructed by one of the Chola Kings. There is also a huge "temple pond". One of the famous festival of this temple is "Ther Thiruvizha" (Car Festival).

Government and administration


Puducherry is divided into two districts and each district is divided into sub divisions, taluks and sub-taluks:

Districts Sub Divisions Taluks Sub-Taluk
Puducherry Puducherry – North Puducherry
Puducherry – South Villianur
Yanam Yanam Yanam
Mahé Mahé Mahé
Karaikal Karaikal Karaikal

Special administration status

According to the 1956 Traité de cession, the four former French colonies were assured of maintaining their special administrative status. That is why Puducherry is the only Union Territory with some special provisions like Legislative Assembly, French as official language, etc. Article II of Traité de Cession states:

"The Establishments will keep the benefit of the special administrative status which was in force prior to 1 November 1954. Any constitutional changes in this status which may be made subsequently shall be made after ascertaining the wishes of the people."


Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross state domestic product of Puducherry at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Year Gross State Domestic Product (In Millions of INR)
1980 1,840
1985 3,420
1990 6,030
1995 13,200
2000 37,810

Puducherry's gross state domestic product for 2008 is estimated at INR 64,570 million, and a per capita income of INR 66,478, one of the highest in India. The literacy rate of the U.T. is 81.49%, much higher than the national average of 64.8%[7]. Puducherry is growing as a destination to hardware units, having subsidiaries of few multinational giants like Wipro, HCL and IBM. The U.T also has manufacturing units of Hindustan Unilever Limited, Suzlon etc. The potential for fisheries is substantial in the Union Territory. The four regions of the Union Territory have a coastline of 45 km (28 mi) with 675 km2 (261 sq mi) of inshore waters, 1.347 ha of inland water and 800 ha of brackish water. There are 27 marine fishing villages and 23 inland fishing villages with fishermen population of about 65,000 of which 13,000 are actively engaged in fishing. Irrigation tanks and ponds are also tapped for commercial fish rearing. The Railways play a vital role for speedy economic growth. The entire cost towards execution of the new broad gauge line for 10.7 km (6.6 mi) from Karaikal to Nagore would now be funded by the Ministry of Railways and work has already been awarded on turn key basis for laying the new railway line in a period of 18 months. The present availability of power is about 400 MW. The demand is likely to increase with the development of Port, Special Economic Zone, other industrial development, trade, commerce etc.It has been decided to expand the Puducherry Airport so that air services could improve gradually over years, to land ATR to Boeing aircraft, to meet the growing demand for air travel. A MoU has already been signed with Airports Authority of India for expansion of Puducherry Airport in two phases.


Important personalities

Puducherry in literature

  • Ananda Ranga Pillai (1709-1761), a dubash and famous writer.
  • Puducherry (then Pondicherry) was the setting for the first third of the Booker prize-winning novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
  • Lee Langley's novel A house in Pondicherry was likewise set there.
  • In Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Prince Pondicherry has Willy Wonka build him a castle made entirely of chocolate, which quickly melts.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the family of a murder victim resides at Pondicherry Lodge. In the adventure of The Five Orange Pips a frightening letter is postmarked from Pondicherry, India seven weeks before the death of Colonel Openshaw.
  • Some Novels of M. Mukundan, Mahe former employee of French Embassy and famous Malayalam Writer.
  • Mr.R.Manavazhagan, Well known Management Faculty,Bangalore
  • Master Ashwath, A Star Research Attachment Scholar, Temasek Secondary School , Singapore.
  • Manoj Night Shyamalan, famous Hollywood director,was brought up in pondicherry.

See also


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Pondicherry article)

From Wikitravel

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Pondicherry (also known as "Pondi", and now officially called Puducherry) [1], is a city and capital of the Pondicherry union territory of Southern India.
French Memorial on Beach Road
French Memorial on Beach Road


Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much indian. French is still widely understood, and the whole city makes for rather pleasant mix of East and West. It is also known as The French Riviera of the East (La Côte d'Azur de l'Est). If you've spent some time in Tamil Nadu and approached Pondicherry by land, you'll very likely experience mild culture shock on discovering elegant French architecture and restaurants serving steak and good wine. Pondicherry is very much a city with a dual personality: crossing from East to West of the central canal reveals two cities with very different characters.

Get in


Pondicherry is well connected from all sides. Chennai is situated 160 km north of the city. Getting to Pondicherry involves a three hour road journey from Chennai. One can get a bus from CMBT in Koyambedu or from Thiruvanmiyur or Guindy. You can be sure of a seat only from CMBT in Koyambedu.

You can also take a taxi from Chennai Airport. It costs Rs. 1500 (apporox USD 35.00) (as of December 2009 if you call a taxi service in advance: +91-413-2622400, +91 413 2623586 (both companies are run by Auroville township near Puducherry), they will be at the Arrivals exit with a sign with your name on it).

The road from Chennai to Pondicherry (the East Coast Road, commonly called ECR) is a scenic highway and a normal journey would take about 3 hours. Most tourists however, cannot resist the seashore kissing the ECR and take a number of stops en route. This route passes through Mahabalipuram, Kalpakkam, Pudupattinam, Idaikkazhinadu (Alambara Fort), Mudaliarkuppam (has a cool boat house), Marakkanam (contains large areas under salt pans), Kanagachettikulam/Kalapet etc. before reaching Pondicherry.

The other route that can be taken to reach Pondy is through the National Highway 45 (NH-45) famously called as the Grand Southern Trunk GST Road. This route passes through Tambaram, Madhurantakam, Melmaruvathur, Tindivanam before reaching Pondicherry. Both the major roads from Chennai are toll roads and approximately take the same time.

Pondicherry is about 320 km from Bangalore. Drive down National Highway 7 (NH-7) till Krishnagiri, take a left off the main highway (roadsigns mark the route) and then take National Highway 66 (NH-66) to Pondicherry. This route passes through Uthangarai, Chengam, Tiruvannamalai, Gingee and Tindivanam. One can reach Pondicherry either through Tindivanam (via Gingee) or Villupuram (via Thirukovilur). Gingee fort is also on the way to Tindivanam and worth spending some time. It is a Archealogical survey of India (ASI)Heritage site. The total travel time should be about 5-6 hours. Do pack some food or snacks for the way as there are no good restaurants enroute.

Pondicherry is well connected to Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Velankanni, etc to the South by National Highway 45A (NH-45A). The road is well maintained till Chidambaram.

Pondicherry connects to the GST or NH - 45 in two places viz. at Villupuram by NH-45A and at Tindivanam by NH-66.

By train

Pondicherry is also connected to Chennai by an electric broad gauge railway line through Villupuram. There are 2 passenger trains running daily to Chennai Egmore Railway station and Tirupati and there is a weekly express train service to Bhubaneswar. In addition to this, there is also a daily express train to Chennai Egmore. It is advisable to go by road rather than train to Pondy{shortened from Pondicherry by natives} from Chennai as the journey is longer by train. Railway services are yet to come to standard terms and they are under intensive development. As of 2009 ,an express train is being planned,named Puducherry Fast Passenger.

By plane

Pondicherry has an airport with facilities for the landing of small aircraft like Dornier, Cessna, etc. But it is not available for public use presently.

Get around

The best way to see Pondicherry and its surrounding areas is by renting out a "Pedal cycle" or a "motorcycle" or "ungeared scooter". But with the Huge traffic, now it is not even possible to walk in many streets as they are crowded. Your hotel should be able to provide the contact to the nearest store. The prices as of June 2009 were Rs.150 for an ungeared scooter and Rs.200 for a geared motorcycle. You will need to provide some identification document as collateral and an advance of Rs 500. Many of the rentals also provide delivery and pickup at the hotel which is very useful. (Note: Usually the number of days for these vehicles are calculated from 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM)

The official Website: [2]

pondicherry tourism [3]


The main language spoken in Pondicherry is Tamil, though French is also widely spoken. Telugu and Malayalam are the other two official languages, but their use is generally confined to specific districts.

English is spoken by most educated people, and is the lingua franca between people from different linguistic districts.

Gandhi Statue on Beach Road
Gandhi Statue on Beach Road
  • The Beach
  • Barathi Park
  • Churches
  • Botanical garden
  • Chunnambar Boat House(which is crowded on holidays and weekends)
  • Oustery Lake(Only as a view but not developed)
  • Paradise Beach
  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Government Museum
  • Auroville city
  • Boat House
  • Manakula Vinayagar Temple
  • Villianur - St. Lourd Church (7Km from Pondicherry towards Villupuram)
  • Villianur Thirukameeswarar Temple


There is not much one is expected to do at Pondicherry. You would understand this better once you get there and understand the pace of life.

You can also do some serious meditation at the Auroville, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, or going to Bharatanatyam performances that are often organized there by the Auroville Cultural Exchange [4] in the local temples, or at major hotels.

You can also go fishing in a Catamaran or while away your evenings at the Rocky Beach. You can also hire mopeds and go on long drives for the sandy beaches that dot the coast line.


Pondicherry is known for its wide variety of cuisines ranging from South Indian delicacies like idly and dosa to seafood like fried fish, prawn bajji and parota.

French influence can be seen to some extent in the local food. The best options are still the local delicacies; the execellent sea food. Good French food is available at restaurants around the French part of town.

  • Rendezvous, 30, Rue Suffren. Open on all days.
  • Satsanga, 30, Labourdonnais. Open on all days.
  • Anjappar, Near Jeeva Theater Signal. Open on all days.
  • Appachi, Rangapillai Street, Open on all days. well known for their Chettinad fare, though they are very crowded and you might have to go early to grab a table.
  • Saravana Bhavan, Jawaharlal Nehru street, Open on full days. Chain restaurant well known for good south Indian snacks. Dosas here are absolutely delicious.
  • Coffee.Com, Mission St, A cool internet cafe hang-out.
  • Hot Breads, Nehru St, A pleasant European bakery.
  • That's Y Food, 248 Mission Street, 0413-4200125/26., [5]. inexpensive fine dining  edit
  • Indian Delights Veg. Restaurant, 49 Mahatma Gandhi road (opposite a hotel). Opens at 5 in the morning, delicious variety of typical south indian dishes. Very cheap, popular with locals, not touristy.  edit


Good branded liquor like Smirnoff, Bacardi and different Scotch Whiskies are very inexpensive as there is no sales tax in Pondicherry. A good store is "Costprice shop" on Lal Bahadur Shastri road.

  • Le Club (French Italian Indian vietnamese), 38, Dumas St (Near Park Guest house), +91 413 2339745 +91 413 4210592. 7 AM--11PM. Wonderfull garden restaurant with high class bar and chill out atmosphere, but sometimes overrated and quite expensive.  edit
  • Seagulls. Nice bar that has concerts sometimes. Sells import beers.  edit
  • Hotel Vijayentra, 108, kamaraj salai,puducherry-605011, 0413-2245316. mobile no. 9443434626. half a kilometre from nehru street(main street) 1km from the bus stand. best budget hotel in pondicherry.24 rooms on two floors,one mini conference hall, one huge conference hall,one restaurent. totally 5floors luxury  edit
  • Aurobindo Ashram, (), [6]. For the budget traveler on a spiritual tour, the guest houses run by Aurobindo Ashram are the best. Please book in advance, if you don't want to be disappointed. The place is clean. Very strict too. No liquor, smoking, eating non-veg. Rs. 500 per day for Indians.  edit
  • Sri Krishnas Guest House, 29/31 Rangapillai Street (3 mins west of GPO), 04132334477, 2221818, 2221010. checkout: 24 hrs after checkin. Large, clean hotel in the main shopping area. Rooms with TV with some English channels. French bakery 2 mins walk. Sea 10 mins walk. Regular Single 350 AC, non AC 250, Double: 750 AC, 500 Non AC triple:900AC, 750 non AC (extra bed 100 INR).  edit
  • Hotel Atithi (Hotel Atithi Official site), First Floor, Knowledge Towers, Little Mount, Saidapet, Chennai 600 015, India., +91 413 2345 000 - 008 (fax: +91 413 2345009), [7].  edit
  • Hotel Corbelli, 170, Mission Street (Near to Casablanca on Mission Street), 91- 413- 2225301 / 2225302 (, fax: 91 - 413 - 2225303 / 2348731), [8]. checkin: 24 Hrs; checkout: 24 Hrs after check-in. Nice and clean hotel with all the basic amenities. Centarlised A/C keeps the heat at bay. Morning breakfast buffet is included in the cost price. INR 1350.  edit


The Pondicherry Guide : Find a hotel, a restaurant and find out what's happening in Pondicherry on ActuPondy.

  • Sunway GRT, [9]. Cleanliness and service up to nice USA/European hotel standards. Not located in the center/touristy area of Pondicherry. You must arrange an auto-rickshaw (for approx Rs. 70) to get to the tourist area by the beach. Nice free buffet breakfast of South Indian foods. INR 3000. (5250,) edit
  • Hotel Promenade.  edit
  • Hotel Vijayentra.  edit
  • Hotel De L'Orient.  edit
  • Anandha Inn.  edit
  • Hotel Annamalai.  edit
  • Villa Helena.  edit
  • Le Dupleix.  edit
  • Hotel Pondicherry Ashok. There is a nice beach nearby.  edit
  • Hotel Mass.  edit
  • ''Hotel Surguru'', 104, Sardar Vallabhai Patel Salai, +91(413)222-7290/233-4377/233-9022, [10]. checkin: Upto 6PM; checkout: 24 Hours. Though not located next to or at the Promenade/Beach or near Aurobindo Ashram or in the French Quarter, it is close to all the places and is within 2km. It has its own parking lot, good rooms and suites, 24 hours coffe shop, one of the best South Indian restaurants among other features to top the reasonable rates it offers to its guests. INR 1,300 to 2,000.  edit


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. Union territory in southern India.
  2. Capital of the union territory of Puducherry (Pondicherry).



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