About Pondicherry

Pondicherry, a name that many might not have heard but a very popular destination among tourists from India and abroad as well, has been touted as the French Riviera of the East.
Pondicherry Location Map
Pondicherry Location Map

Pondicherry Location Map

Pondicherry Map
Pondicherry Map

Pondicherry Map

Pondicherry Railway Map
Pondicherry Railway Map

Pondicherry Railway Map

Described as one of the most beautiful cities in India, it has been visited by people from all over the world for its extraordinary charm. This well planned city has a French influence that attracts tourists.

  Facts about Pondicherry  
History of Pondicherry

The original name was Puducherry, but the French interpreted it as Pondicherry. The name signifies a new settlement or a new town.
It is also proved that Romans visited the place around 1st century A.D. At the beginning of the 4th century AD, the Pallava kingdom ruled for a short period followed by different southern dynasties like the Cholas, Pandyas and later by Vijaynagar and after them the Sultanate of Maudrai. In 1674, the French Governor named Francois Marin transformed this small fishing village into a grand port town.

Pondicherry first became famous when the French took an interest in this city. Although many wars took place between the English and the French, the French managed to retain power in Pondicherry. Around the 18th century, the town grew considerably.

Geography of Pondicherry

Pondicherry is situated on a total area of 492 kilometers square. It is a union territory that comprises of four small unconnected districts called Puducherry, Yanam, Karaikal which lies on the Bay of Bengal.And Mahe, which is on the Arabian Sea. Karaikal and Puducherry are the largest sections and both are the enclaves of the state of Tamil Nadu. Mahe is an enclave of Kerala and Yanam enclave of Andhra Pradesh. Pondicherry city comprises of 293 kilometers, Mahe 9 square kilometers, Karaikal 160 square kilometers and Yanam 30 square kilometers. All together, you will find 12 pockets in the Pondicherry territory.

The district is located around 180 km south of Chennai on the east coast of India. Karaikal also lies on the east coast, around 150 km from Pondicherry. Yanam lies near the state of Andhra Pradesh again on the east coast, while Mahe lies on the Western Ghats near the state of Kerala.

Climate of Pondicherry

The district lies close to the sea, which is why the climate here is warm and humid. The summer season experiences a rise in temperature that rises up to 38 degrees. In the winter the temperature is pleasant that is 2 degrees. The winter season begins in November and the temperature never falls below 20 degrees. The North West monsoon wets this land from July to August and again from November to January. The summer season begins from March till July. The winters come along with the monsoon season. Tourists are advised to visit the place between the months of December to March.

Education in Pondicherry

This union territory has a highly educated population as compared to the rest of the country. You can find several educational institutions that are excellent in every aspect. Pondicherry has several prestigious universities like the PondicherryEengineering College and Pondicherry University that is famous among foreigners as well. The infrastructure is moderate however.

There are various types of educational institutions like Pondicherry schools, university and colleges along with research institutes and distance education. You can find the very famous and prestigious Sri Aurbindo International Center of Education which is a part of Aurbindo Ashram.

Pondicherry has colleges that teach in fields suh as engineering, like the civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical and electronics, computer science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, the humanities and many more. There are medical colleges for those wishing to pursue a career in medicine. Besides there are dental colleges, colleges for studying biotechnology, management, polytechnics, architecture, law, hotel management, etc. For deserving canditates scholarships, loans for education and other benefits are avaiable options. The colleges also offer hostels for girls and boys.

The literacy rate in Pondicherry is good that goes up to 81.49% compared to the rest of the country. The female literacy rate is 75%, while the male is 88%. More Detail...

Culture of Pondicherry

As mentioned earlier, Pondicherry has a mixed culture. It has several cultures brought together to make it blend into one. Pondicherry is a typical Dravidian place where you will find a majority of people to be Dravidian. Despite of its French culture and character, the place is truly Indian. Although the original people are from Tamil origin, the district is comprised of people from various Indian state and foreign countries. You can experience the French culture even after decades of independence from French. Pondicherry comprises of a multi-national culture and is cosmopolitan in nature. Exposure to different cultures has converted this small place into a very attractive multi-cultural city that has a very distinct characteristics. The crafts that you see here are traditional and the famous handicrafts that you can buy here is the Pondicherry bommai'.

The food here is simply delicious. You are going to love the taste that is truly international with a hint of local touch. The French cuisine blends well with the local cuisines providing a totally exotic food flavour. Here, you will find very nice restaurants that specialize in food that are very popular here along with Malayalam, Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil, cuisines as well.

Language in Pondicherry

Since Pondicherry comprises of diverse cultures, you will find various languages as well. The majority of the inhabitants speak Dravidian language like Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. However, even French and English are spoken here and understood as well. Schools here teach in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu medium along with English and French. But the most widely spoken language is English. The official languages of Pondicherry are Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and French. However, it varies from district to district. English is cusedin government offices. More Detail...

Pondicherry politics

Pondicherry politics has a great influence of the Congress and BJP party which are the two major political parties here. The Congress-led Democratic Progressive Alliance is in the government of the Union Territory of Pondicherry and has a major share in the administration of Pondicherry.

The district government appoints a chief minister who is nominated as a member of legislative assembly looks after the Union Territory of Pondicherry. He takes several charges of the government and looks after the town planning, excise, public works, revenue, finance, planning, general administration, technology, science, confidential tasks, handles cabinet and civil services as well. The political parties are known for their collective effort for the upgrading of the Union territory. The government in Pondicherry comprises of a Lt. Governor, Chief Secretary, Chief Minister, MLA's, and other ministers.

The Government of Pondicherry like all other states comprises of Legislature assembly that has legislative assembly that has 30 members. The legislative assembly looks after various issues of the government sectors. The legislative assembly is operational for five years.

The Lok Sabha is the only one constituency in Pondicherry. It comprises of around 557 elected members. There are various political parties who are responsible for the changes and progress of Pondicherry.

There are 30 Assembly constituencies that are situated in various corners of this Union territory.

Economy of Pondicherry

Most of the population in Pondicherry depends on agriculture and around 90% of the area is irrigated. Various crops are grown here like rice, arcanuts, ragi, cotton, sugarcane, pulses, bajra, groundnut, etc. The dairy here is also quite modern and earning from this sector is high. Fishing can be said to be an important occupation as well as there are around 28 fishing villages.

Around 5,400 small scale industries are running efficiently here. 23 large-scale industries can be seen here along with 79 medium-scale industries. Therefore, around 50,000 people in Pondicherry are employed in the industry sector. The profit from the total industries is Rs. 10,000 core. The industries here manufacture computers, electronic products, pharmaceuticals, sugar, rice bran oil, roofing sheets, leather goods, steel tubes, spirit, earth moving equipments, auto parts etc.

  Industrial Profile Table  

Demographics of Pondicherry

Pondicherry district comes with a population of around 9, 46,600 according to the census of 2011. Today it might be a little more. Pondicherry ranks 460th in the country and the population density are 3,231 per square kilometers. The growth rate in the last decade was 28.73%. The sex ratio is 1031 females for every 1000 males.

Transport in Pondicherry

Being an internationally renowned place for its French legacy, Pondicherry provides a great network of roads in all parts of the Union Territory. You can see national highways that run here to join the other parts of the country. Buses, private vehicles can be found here which very convenient here. There are regular buses that ply from Chennai every half hour.

There is also an airport in the Pondicherry town. However it is a domestic airport. International airport can be found in Chennai. The airport flies regularly to other Indian cities.


The place is a true delight for every visitor. Auroville is the most popular destination in Pondicherry. The French Quarter, the food, the tradition and the French colony are the attractions here. You can find world class beaches here. So, if you love the sun and the water you can enjoy to your hearts content.

The beaches are quite and beautiful. Trees are lined up at the beaches so you get cool breeze here. Besides there are various monuments that you can see like the churches, the colonial buildings, temples built during the ancient times, botanical gardens, museum and many more. The attraction here for foreign and Indian tourists is the Aurbindo Ashram built in 1926. It is an educational center and holds a place of respect as well. More Detail...

Activities in Pondicherry

If you are an outdoor freak, then lots can be offered to you. Most of the activities can be found near the beaches. You can walk on the sands, swim in the sea, watch the sunset or simply take a river cruise. You can go boating on the Chunambar River and watch the scenic nature here. The dolphins play happily in the sea which is a treat to watch.

Simply take a walk around the heritage buildings of the French quarters and broad streets. Check out the seafront promenade, French consulate, go the south, and the old Pondicherry you will get to experience the era gone by.

Hotels in Pondicherry

There is no dearth of hotels here. You can have a wide choice according to your budget. Accommodations can be found in deluxe hotels, mid-range hotels, budget accommodations, etc. You can also check out Aurbindo Ashram as a viable option as the stay is comfortable and the charges are less.

Although there are plenty of hotels, book your room in advance. All the hotel rooms have AC's so there would be no problem for tourists as it is a hot and humid destination. More Detail...

Modern Pondicherry

Along the years, this small and inconspicuous town has developed to be one of the most developed areas in the country. The infrastructure has grown rapidly and is well-equipped with all the essential aspects like modern transport, education, industries, banks, tourism, IT sector and many more. Today Pondicherry comprises of a great network of roads and railway tracks as well. There are large industries which give rise to transport and market. Tourism and fishery being the backbone of economy, there is a lot being done to improve the living style of the people here.

Pondicherry comprises of ninety six nationalized banks that provide for the necessary financial transactions that is needed regularly for industries, and business. The government has also taken a keen interest to develop IT sector.

Pondicherry cuisine

You can expect delectable cuisine here. This is a very unique place where you will find food that has a blend of French and Tamil cuisine. The very subtle and delicate spices will make you hungry for more. The Indo-French style of food has given birth to various unique and tasty foods due to the blend of different cultures. The specialties that you will love here are the curried vegetables, coconut curry, soya dosa, Italian baked beans, assad, tandoori potato, stuffed cabbage, podanlangkal, and many more. Besides, there are many more native and original cuisines that you will love at the local restaurants here.

This is the place where you can help yourself with mouth watering French baguettes, Bbioches, cakes, breads and pastries in French style. More Detail...

Useful facts

The capital of Pondicherry is the Pondicherry town that is an ancient town and well known in the pages of history and mythology. For over 300 years, it has been under the French rule and has since been connected to France and French culture. People born during the French rule have opted for French citizenship and continue to do so. Sri Aurobindo played an important role to build the town to what it is today.

Pondicherry was handed to independent India in November 1954 and relinquished control. After that even Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe were declared as Union territory as they were French settlements.

Last Updated on : September 24, 2014