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பாண்டிச்சேரி ( புதுச்சேரி)
Puducherry, Pondichéry
Clockwise from top right: Gandhi statue, Promenade Beach, Matrimandir, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Aayi Mandapam (monument), Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Nickname(s): Pondy
Pondicherry is located in Puducherry
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Country India
State Puducherry
District Puducherry
Established 1673
Elevation 3 m (10 ft)
Population (2011)
 • City 654,392
 • Density 9,166/km2 (23,740/sq mi)
 • Metro 654,392
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN CODE 605001-605014
Telephone code 91 (0)413
Vehicle registration PY-01,PY-05

Pondicherry (/pɒndˈɛri/ or /pɒndˈʃɛri/) or Puducherry is a city, an urban agglomeration and a municipality in Puducherry district in the Indian union territory of Puducherry. It is affectionately known as Pondy, and has been officially known by the alternative name Puducherry since 2006.[1] Pondicherry is the regional capital and largest city in the territory.


Pondicherry waterfront circa 1900

The history of the city of Pondicherry is recorded only after the arrival of Dutch, Portuguese, British and French colonialists. By contrast, nearby places such as Arikamedu, Ariyankuppam, Kakayanthoppe, Villianur and Bahur, which were annexed by the French East India Company over a period of time and which became the Union Territory of Pondicherry after Independence, have recorded history predating the colonial period.

A marketplace named Poduke or Poduca is recorded as a Roman trading destination from the mid 1st century. The area was part of the Pallava Kingdom of Kanchipuram in the 4th century. The Cholas of Thanjavur held it from the 10th to 13th centuries, only to be replaced by the Pandya Kingdom in the 13th century. The Vijayanagar Empire took control of almost all the South of India in the 14th century and maintained control until 1638 when they were supplanted by the Sultan of Bijapur. The French acquired Puducherry in 1674 and held it, with an occasional interruption by the British or Dutch, until 1954 (de jure 1956), when it was incorporated into the Indian Union along with the rest of French India.

On 18 October 1954 in a general election involving 178 people in Pondicherry Municipal and Commune Panchayat, 170 people were in favor of independence and eight people voted against. On 1 November 1954, Puducherry became part of the union.

However, the formal agreement was signed on 16 August, which is the date celebrated as Independence Day in Puducherry; following the demands of French India, Viduthalai Kaala Makkal Iyyakkam to their current Chief Minister of Puducherry. So 1 November was declared as the Independence Day of Pondicherry and 16 August as the Republic Day.

The French in Puducherry

The French East India Company established this town as their headquarters in 1674. Five trading posts were established along the South Indian coast between 1668 and 1674. The town was separated by a canal into the French Quarter and the Indian Quarter.[2]


Pondicherry in 1816

The topography of Pondicherry is the same as that of coastal Tamil Nadu. Pondicherry's average elevation is at sea level, and a number of sea inlets, referred to as "backwaters" can be found.

Pondicherry experiences coastal erosion. The city is protected against the sea by a 1.25 mile (2-kilometres) long seawall, first completed by the French in 1735, which reaches a height of 27 feet above sea level.[3] A weather-beaten cement plaque with the year 1952 is still visible along a section of the seawall. The seawall is protected from the direct onslaught of waves by rows of granite boulders which are reinforced every year to stop erosion. Whenever gaps appear or the stones sink into the sand, the Government adds more boulders to keep it strong.

Town structure

Map of Pondicherry Region, Union Territory of Puducherry, India

Pondicherry city consists of 42 wards. Wards 1-10 are located in north of the city. Wards 11-19 are located in Boulevard Town and remaining wards are located in the southwest of the downtown.[4]

Panoramic view of Pondicherry town


In 2012, the Ministry of Power inaugurated the Smart Grid project in Puducherry.[5]

Farming around Pondicherry include crops such as rice, pulses, sugarcane, coconuts, and cotton.


The climate of Pondicherry is classified by Köppen-Geiger system as tropical wet and dry (As),[6] similar to that of coastal Tamil Nadu. Summer lasts from April to early June, when maximum temperatures frequently hit the 41 °C (106 °F) mark. The average maximum temperature is 36 °C (97 °F). Minimum temperatures are in the order of 28–32 °C (82–90 °F). This is followed by a period of high humidity and occasional thundershowers from June till September.

The northeast monsoon sets in during the middle of October, and Pondicherry gets the bulk of its annual rainfall during the period from October to December. The annual average rainfall is 1,240 mm (49 in).[7] Winters are warm, with highs of 30 °C (86 °F) and lows often dipping to around 18–20 °C (64–68 °F).

Climate data for Pondicherry Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.2
Average high °C (°F) 29.0
Average low °C (°F) 21.9
Record low °C (°F) 17.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 12.3
Average rainy days 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.4 1.9 2.8 5.3 6.7 6.5 10.3 11.8 6.8 55.0
Source: India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to 2010)[8][9]


At the 2011 India census,[10] Pondicherry had a population of 675,000. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Pondicherry has an average literacy rate of 76%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 82%, and female literacy is 71%. In Pondicherry, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.

The majority of Pondicherrians speak Tamil, Telugu, or Malayalam. There is a community of French people in Pondicherry and a number of French institutions such as a consulate, the French Institute, and L'Alliance Française.[11]

There is also a sizable community of Indians from other states of India, notably West Bengal, Gujarat and Odisha.[citation needed]

Tamil and French are the official languages of Pondicherry.

Urban agglomeration

Local bodies Area Population
Pondicherry Municipality 19.54 km2 241,773
Oulgaret Municipality 36.70 km2 300,028
Total  56.24 km2 541,801

Data according to 2001 census.

There are two proposals by the Puducherry government, firstly to merge Pondicherry and Oulgaret municipalities, and upgrade Pondicherry municipality into a '"municipal corporation", and secondly to upgrade Villianur and Ariyankuppam commune panchayats into municipalities, which would increase the Pondicherry region's urban area around 155 km2. of the total 292 km2.


A PRTC deluxe bus.

Pondicherry is connected to Chennai via the East Coast Road through Mahabalipuram.[12] The Pondicherry Road Transport Corporation runs buses within the city.[13] The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation operates Volvo air-conditioned services from Chennai to Pondicherry.[14] There are daily bus services from several main stops from Chennai.

From 14 April, as PM N.Modi announces the city to be a Smart City - Pondicherry is now connected by Air India with an ATR aircraft service 6 times a week except Wednesday, it is an afternoon service departing from Bangalore returning by evening to Bangalore.

Pondicherry is connected by train to all metros: Chennai, Delhi, Howrah, and Mumbai, as well as other important cities such as Kanyakumari, Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore and Mangalore.[15][16] Puducherry Airport has scheduled flights to Bangalore, as well as charter flights and operations of the local flying training school.


French War Memorial

Pondicherry is a popular tourist destination in South India. The city has many colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues which, combined with the systematic town planning and planned French style avenues, still preserve much of the colonial ambiance.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram

The most popular tourist destinations are the four beaches in Pondicherry, which are Promenade Beach (also known locally as the Rocky Beach), Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India. Auroville (City of Dawn) is an "experimental" township located 8 km north-west of Pondicherry. It 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.

There are a number of old and large churches in Pondicherry, most of which were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. 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, Governors Palace, Romain Rolland Library, Legislative Assembly, Pondicherry Museum and the French Institute of Pondicherry at Saint-Louis Street.

Puducherry is also popular for its eateries that cover a wide variety of cuisines ranging from French, Indian and Italian to Mexican, Thai and Chinese. Some restaurants also serve a unique Indo-French cuisine that gives tourists a taste of Puducherry's colonial influences. Most popular eateries include Baker's Street, The White Town Cafe, Zuka, Carte Blanche and La Maison Rose.

Puducherry Botanical Gardens is located south of the New Bus Stand. Chunnambar Backwater resort is situated 8 km from Pondicherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical resort is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. Boating and tree house[clarification needed] are very popular.

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam on Manakula Vinayagar Street is a Hindu temple, which houses Lord Ganesha. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple was in existence before the French came and settled in Pondicherry i.e. before 1666. According to Sasthra, Lord GANESHA is named in 16 types based on his various forms, out of which this god facing the east coast near the Bay of Bengal was named as Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy, now called as Manakula Vinayagar. In Tamil, 'Manal' means sand and 'Kulam' means pond near the sea. Earlier, there was full of sand around the pond. So, the people called the god as Manal Kulathu Vinayagar [means God near the pond of sand]. Later, it was named as Manakula Vinayagar.

Thirukaameeswarar Temple is one of the ancient temples located in a rural town called Villianur (the ancient name is Vilvanallur, meaning "vilva marangal niraindha nalla vur"), which is located about 10 km away (towards Villupuram) from Pondicherry town. This temple is renowned as Periya Koil "Big Temple". 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[clarification needed] in this temple say that the age of this temple is about 1000+ years. It is thought to have been built by one of the Chola kings. There is also a huge "temple pond". The "Ther Thiruvizha" (Car Festival) is celebrated at this temple.

Apart from sight seeing places for the tourists, there are a number of various bakeries and restaurants that cater to the Europeans taste buds. For others there are many Indian, Continental, Chinese and fast food restaurants to choose from.

Notable people


Actors, directors and performance artists

Science and technology

Politicians and public servants

Armed Forces


  • The titular character in Yann Martel's Life of Pi.
  • Prince Pondicherry, a character from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, is named for the city. The character asked that Willy Wonka build him a palace made of chocolate. Given the heat of the Indian climate, this decision worked out poorly for the fictitious prince.


See also


  1. "Bill to rename Pondicherry as Puducherry passed". The Hindu. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 2 May 2016 – via thehindu.com.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. WORRALL, JILL (11 April 2016). "Peace, love and a French flavour in Pondicherry, South India". www.stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://www.pondicherryonline.in/Profile/Geography/
  4. Town and Country Planning Department, Pondicherry, India: City Development Plan – Pondicherry, Final Report, March 2007, S. 159 Archived 19 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Smart grid project inaugurated". Puducherry. The Hindu. 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2012-10-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Climate: Pondicherry - Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 6 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. http://education.vsnl.com/imdchennai/rdwr.htm
  8. "Pondicherry Climatological Table Period: 1971–2000". India Meteorological Department. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Ever recorded Maximum and minimum temperatures up to 2010" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Pondicherry: Forever France? by Anand Jha". Boloji.com. 2002-11-10. Retrieved 2013-03-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ramakrishnan, Deepa (23 February 2012). "After a decade on fast lane, ECR is set to expand". Chennai. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "20 buses launched in urban routes". Puducherry. The Hindu. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 2012-09-19.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. V, Venkatasubramanian (19 Feb 2010). "A boon to Kancheepuram unit of TNSTC". Kancheepuram. The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-09-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Delhi-Puducherry train link from July 3". The Hindu. 25 June 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Changes in train timings". Puducherry. The Hindu. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. http://thinkbusiness.nus.edu/articles/item/126

External links