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Pondicherry

Famous as “Riviera of the East”, Pondicherry is one of the Union Territories of India. The original name is ‘Putucceri or ‘Panticceri’, it is a Tamil word which means “New Town”. However, after the arrival of French, it not only became a French colony but its name was also transformed as French word ‘Pondicherry’. But again in the year 2006, the official name changed and its new name is “Puducherry”.

Administratively, Pondicherry comprises four small districts namely Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe but geographically, all these four districts are located at different parts of the country and popularly known as pockets. Geographical locations of these districts are:

Puducherry: it is located in the south east coast of India along the Bay of Bengal. It is surrounded by Tamil Nadu from three sides and Bay of Bengal from the east side. It covers about 293 km² area; with the capital city Pondicherry, it is the most important among all.

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Karaikal: it is located further south of Puducherrry at the south east coast of India along the Bay of Bengal. Surrounded by Tamil Nadu from three sides and by Bay of Bengal from east side, Karaikal covers 160 km² area.

Yanam: it is located north of Puducherry at the south east coast of India along the Bay of Bengal. It is surrounded by Andhra Pradesh from three sides and in the east, Bay of Bengal limits its boundary. It covers 30 km2 area.

Mahe: it is located on south west coast of India along the Arabian Sea. It is surrounded by Kerala from three sides and from the west Arabian Sea limits its boundary. It covers 9 km2 area.

The Pondicherry region still has many non-Indian descent residents with French Passports. These are those people who choose to remain French when they have been asked their choice either remain French or become Indians at the time of transfer of Pondicherry to India in the year 1954.

French designed city is divided into two sections namely the French Quarter (Ville Blanche or 'White town') and the Indian quarter (Ville Noire or 'Black Town'). You can still find here many street names and houses of French style; however, Indian and French style houses are pretty common. Interestingly, the architecture of the city is preserved from the destructions by and organization namely INTACH. Besides the French Monuments, there is also French Consulate in Pondicherry along with various cultural organizations.

Pondicherry Tourism

Representing amalgamation of French and Indian culture and architecture, Pondicherry is also one of the important attractions for the tourists.

Major Tourists’ Attractions in Pondicherry

Heritage and Architecture

Arikamedu: It is an Indo-Roman archaeological site that gives the evidence of Roman trade for example ancient Roman coins and wine jars.

French War Memorial: Dedicated to all those soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War, French War Memorial is located nearby the Goubert Avenue, one of the most popular places of Pondicherry. Every year on 14th of July, the annual commemoration is celebrated.

Pondicherry Museum: Located in the Bharathi Park, Pondicherry Museum is a superb gallery where you can enjoy sculptures and various other archaeological findings belonging to Arikamedu Roman settlement. You can get opportunity to know the Pondicherry history.

Jawahar Toy Museum: Located at the old Light House building nearby Gandhi Maidan, Jawahar Toy Museum is a doll museum. You can see here varieties of beautiful dolls and toys, which are collected from different parts of Indian states.

The Statue of Dupleix: Built to honour Francois Dupleix (Governor of Pondicherry during the year 1750s), Statue of Dupleix is 3 meter high statue of Dupleix. Constructed of precious granite, it is one of the most important attractions in Pondicherry.

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Raj Niwas (Palais du Gouvernement): Residence of Pondicherry’s Lieutenant Governor, Raj Niwas is an 18th century building.

Religious Places

Aurobindo Ashram: Founded in the year 1920, it is the place where Sri Aurobindo and Mother Mirra Richard spent maximum years of their lives. Symbol of peace, it is the must visit place in Pondicherry.

Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus: Beautifully constructed with stained glass windows and superbly highlighting the life of Jesus, it is very popular religious tourists’ destination.

Natural Landscapes

Botanical Garden and Aquarium: Established in the year 1826, Botanical Garden and Aquarium have wide range of collections of exotic and rare plants along with an aquarium.

Paradise Beach: Famous for the view of beautiful sun rise, Paradise Beach is resting hub for all tourists and native people.

Pondicherry Beach: It is popular of its calm and secluded surroundings. You can enjoy here soft breeze, dazzling sands and cold water.

Other Attractions Auroville City: Established by Mother Mirra Richard in the year 1968, Auroville city is perfect blend of different cultures. People of different nationalities live together; this is the reason, it is known as ‘Universal Town’.

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