Situated on the Coromandel coast, about 160 kms south of Chennai, lies the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The French ruled this territory for 300 years, and today, it stands as a living monument of the French culture in India. It is bound on the east by the Bay of Bengal and on the other three sides by the South Arcot District of Tamil Nadu. About 150 kilometres south of Pondicherry, on the east coast, lies Karaikal, while Mahe is situated on the Malabar coast. Yanam is situated in the adjoining East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.Pondicherry traces its origin to Saint Agasthya, the revered sage of the south. The excavations near Pondicherry reveal, that a Roman settlement existed here, 2000 years ago. It was also the site of many a battle between the British and the French, and was the capital of French India, before it attained its independence.
This restored, attractive, former French colony, exudes a Mediterranean aura with its chic streets, elegant houses, ornamental gardens and the Hotel de Ville. Being a small and quiet enclave of Tamil Nadu, it has imbibed the Tamilian culture. Apart from the charming atmosphere, excellent restaurants and cheap beer, what attracts most travellers to Pondicherry is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its offshoot, Auroville, 10 km outside town. The ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo in the year 1926, has brought international reputation to this coastal town. The ashram, the spiritual tenets of which combine yoga and modern science is quite popular within India and abroad. Festivals of Pondicherry differ from the rest of India, for the French influence still persists prominently here. Masquerade, held in March - April, is a popular mask festival, during which brilliantly costumed and masked people of Pondicherry, dance down the streets to the music of trumpets and accordions. During the Eve of the Bastille Day, retired soldiers parade the streets in war finery, singing the French and Indian National Anthem. French is still widely spoken, and the seaside villas and the cobbled streets are more reminiscent of the south of France than the south of India!!
Pondicherry is located at 162 Kms south of Chennai, the capital of Talmilnadu and 22 kms north of Cuddalore, the capital of South Arcot District of Tamilnadu. Pondicherry is surrounded by Bay of Bengal on East, and on the other sides are the South Arcot District of Tamilnadu.
Pondicherry consists of four small unconnected districts: Pondicherry, Karaikal, and Yanam on the Bay of Bengal and Mahé on the Arabian Sea. Pondicherry 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: Pondicherry (city) 293 km², Karaikal 160 km², Mahé 9 km² and Yanam 30 km². It has 900,000 inhabitants (2001).
Practical way of getting to Pondicherry is either by Bus or by Train. Reaching Pondicherry is fast and easy if you prefer travelling by road. From Chennai, there are buses every 30 minutes. It will take 3 & 1/2 hours to reach Pondicherry. From Villupuram, Pondicherry is located at 40 Kms towards east. For every 15 minutes buses depart from Villupuram to Pondicherry. The train system in Pondicherry is infrequent and slow. The narrow guage track is connected from Pondicherry to Villupuram and which inturn connects it to Chennai.
Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research Institute (JIPMER) - jipmer.edu
Pondicherry Engineering College
The practice of traveling for pleasure.
The business of providing tours and services for tourists.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Auroville - a universal city in the making in south india
Official languages of Government
Official languages of Pondicherry are French, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Though Status of each languages varies differently with respect to each district. When Communicating in between districts of different languages, generally English is used for convenience.
Language used by the Pondicherry Government, especially used when communicating within and between the Tamil majority districts of (Pondicherry and Karikal) along with issuing official decrees. Also official Language in Tamil Nadu state. It was declared as Classical language in 2005 by Indian Government.
It is also official language of Pondicherry Union territory. Though it was official language of French India (1673-1954), its official language status was preserved by Traité de Cession (Treaty of Cession) signed by India and France on 28 May 1956.It remained as 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 répresentants élus de la population n'auront pas pris une décision différente (French version)
The French language shall remain the official language of the Establishments so long as the elected representatives of the people shall not decide otherwise (English version)
Regional official languages
It is also an official language of Pondicherry but used only when communicating within Telugu district (Yanam). So, more correctly it is considered as regional official language of Pondicherry while being official language of Yanam District. It is also has official language status in Andhra Pradesh State.
It is also an official language of Pondicherry but used only when communicating within Malayalam district (Mahe). So, more correctly it is considered as regional official language of Pondicherry while being official language of Mahe District. It also has an official language status in Kerala State and Lakshadweep Islands Union Territory.Language spoken in numbers
As of 2001, number of people speaking in each official languages are,Tamil: 220,749 (In Pondicherry and Karikal Districts)
Telugu: 31,362 (In Yanam District only)
Malayalam: 36,823 (In Mahe District only)
French: Above 10,000 Pondicherry's special position in Indian Spiritual Philosophy
Podicherry was the residence of one of India's most renowed Freedom Fighter and Spiritualist, Sri Aurobindo. The world-famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its offshoot, Auroville still operate from Pondicherry.
Pondicherry in literature
Pondicherry was the setting for the first third of the Booker prize-winning novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
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 second Sherlock Holmes novel, "A Sign of Four" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the family of a murder victim resides at Pondicherry Lodge.
Puducherry is endowed with excellent infrastructural facilities on par with the best available in the country. A network of all weather metalled roads connecting every village exists in the territory. Puducherry has a road length of 2552 km (road length per 4.87 sq km), the highest in the country.
Road length comparsion with Tamilnadu and India as a whole.