Puducherry / Pondicherry

Union Territory of India  ~>>  Area –492 sq km  ~>> Language – French, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu

Mostly visited for
PuducherryBeaches in Puducherry,  Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville, Promenade, Chunnambar Lake House, Botanical Garden, Government Park, Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Church, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Arikamedu, Tiruvakkarai, Mayilam, Ousteri Lake

Weather – Summers are from January to April, Monsoons strike the territory during May to September and Winters hit the shoreline during October to December

Connectivity
By Air: Puducherry does not have any airport. Chennai (165 km) is the closest airport – which has an international airport as well.
By Rail: Puducherry Railway Station, connected to major places in Tamil Nadu, Bhubaneshwar, Bengaluru.
By Road: Puducherry is well connected by road to most of the places in the South.

History, Geography and Culture of Puducherry / Pondicherry
Often referred to as a ‘French Riviera of the East’, Puducherry or formerly called Pondicherry is a slice of France in India. Quite literally, here one can easily find French duplex buildings, French speaking locals and an exquisite territory with French past. Historically, the region served as a marketplace known as Poduke or Poduca during 1st century. The area came under Kanchipuram in the 4th century under Pallava Kingdom. Later in medieval period of 10th to 13th centuries, the area was taken over by Chola dynasty of Thanjavur. Pandyas in the later 13th century controlled Poduke. The turbulent times in the political history of the region came to an end as Vijayanagar Empire took control of almost all the South of India in the 14th century. This Hindu rule lasted until 1638, to be replaced by the Sultan of Bijapur. The French acquired Puducherry in 1674 and held complete control over the region with occasional interruption from the British and Dutch, until 1962, when it was incorporated into the Indian Union as a Union Territory.

Geographically, the territory is similar to Tamil Nadu’s coastal topography. The union territory consists of four small unconnected districts: Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam on the Bay of Bengal and Mahe near Arabian Sea. Pondicherry and Karaikal serve as a separate enclave in Tamil Nadu, whereas Yanam and Mahe are the enclaves belonging to the Andhra Pradesh and Kerala respectively. Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach are the most visited attractions of Pondicherry.

The enclave area-wise distinction is as under - Pondicherry 293 km², Karaikal 160 km², Mahé 9 km² and Yanam 30 km². The different locations under the dominion of Union Territory of Puducherry are a result of French culture that inevitably binds the districts together.
This French influence can be easily in cultural fabric of Pondicherry. Be it architecture, cuisine, language, festivals; a part of France dwells here comfortably. Usage of French grid design pattern and perpendicular streets still reiterate the colonial influence here. The town is divided into two segments: the Ville Blanche or French Quarter and the Ville Noir or Indian quarter. Even many streets here are named in French, and French style villas are a common sight here. The cuisine here is also a cultural fusion between the French and the Tamil, which results in a mild intermingle of flavours and recipes. The usage of the French language is also a cultural wealth of Pondicherry. Also, the territory is a home to Sri Aurobindo Ashram where Aurobindo Yoga can be availed easily in this peaceful retreat.

Religion – Hinduism, Christianity and Islam

Festivals
Puducherry tourNew Years Day, International Yoga Festival, Pongal Festival, Republic Day  of India, Masi Magam Bakrid – Muslim day of Sacrifices, Tamil New Year, Good Friday, Chitrai Kalai Vizha - (Summer Festival), Villianur Temple Car Festival, Bastille Day- On July 14th, Bastille Day, Veerampattinam Car Festival, Fete De puducherry (Festival of puducherry), Independence Day, Puducherry De Jure Transfer Day- 16th of August marks puducherry’s complete accession to the Indian Union in 1962, Sri Aurobindo’s Birth Anniversary, Vinayaka Chathurthi, Navaratri, Ayudha Puja, Vijayadasami, Deepawali, Karthigai Deepam Festival, Christmas Season

Buy - Southern Silks, Handmade Clay, Metal Pendants, Incense Sticks, Aroma Candles, Handicrafts

Eat – Idli Sambhar, Dosai, Vada-Pongal (A Mixture of Rice and Lentils), Appam, Idliyappam, Uppuma, Coconut Chutney, Mulaga Podi, Rasam, Payasam-Specially French Cuisine.

Hotels – The small boulevard avenue of Pondicherry hosts almost 47 hotels with world class amenities suiting a discerning traveller with great ease and comforts.

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