A city also known as Puducherry, nestled in the in Indian Union Territory of Pondicherry, the city is also famous as ‘Pondi’ and has been officially called ‘Puducherry’, since 2006.
The city of Pondicherry has a rich history, since it was ruled by one colonial power after the other, the great powers such as the Dutch, Portuguese, English and last but not least, the French. The city as well as the neighboring places were conquered by the French East India Company and after the independence of India, the city was given the status of a Union Territory of Pondicherry.
Pondicherry was also ruled by many ruling dynasties of the Indian Subcontinent including the Pallava Dynasty of Kanchipuram , the Cholas of Thanjavur and the Pandya kingdom in the . The Vijaynagar empire took control of most of south India in the 14th century and was entually superseded by the Sultan of Bijapur. The French took control of Pondicherry and had a tight hold over it, they also fought occasional challenges thrown at them by the British and Dutch. Until at the end when it was finally included into the Indian Union along with rest of the places under the French East India Company.
The avearge elevation of the city is at sea level, the topography of Pondicherry and that of the Tamil Nadu coast are similar. A number of ‘Backwaters’ ( a chain of lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian sea coast also called the Malabar Coast) can be found there.
Pondicherry experiences coastal erosion (wearing away of land and the removal of beach sediments by waves, tidal currents or drainage). There is a 1.25 mile long seawall, a deffence against strong waves, which reaches 27 feet high. It is protected from the direct assault of waves by rows of granite boulders which are reinforced every year to stop the eroding sands.
The climate in Pondicherry is on the warmer side. Summers last from April to early June, they are followed by huge humidity and occasional thundestorms from June till September. Monsoons arrive heavily during the the period from October to December . Owing to the coastal climate, winters are generally warm in Pondicherry.
The majority of citizens in the city speak Telugu, Tamil or Malyalam. There is a community of French people and a number of French institutions such as a Consulate (an Embassy or a high commission between commonwealth countries).
The French Institute is a French financially autonomous institution in Puducherry, under the joint supervision of the French Ministry Of Foreign And European Affairs.
L’Alliance Francaise, is an international organization that aims to promote French culture and Language around the World. Since Pondicherry was under the French control for a long time, the French culture is prevalent there in a big way.
Pondicherry also consists of a decent amount of people hailing from different states of India such as West Bengal, Gujarat and Odisha.
The presence of beautiful colonial buildings, churches, temples and statues, combined with systematic town planning and well planned French style boulevards, that still preserve the rich essence the colonial ambience, are the reason behind Pondicherry being one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. Pondicherry is a melange of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture, virgin beaches and cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small quaint little town, makes Pondicherry a well-known weekend destination as well.
The most luring tourist attractions are Pondicherry’s spectacular beaches. The Famous Five beaches are the Promenade Beach, is popularly known as the Pondicherry Beach, is a 1.2 km long stretch of beach front, along the Bay of Bengal. A perfect getaway on a lazy sunny day.
Paradise Beach is a perfect getaway, located 8km away from the Pondicherry and can be reached through a House boat or a river cruise. The beach offers exciting water sports, for those who are hungry for thrill. There are several beautiful resorts and numerous boat cruises available along the beach. On the shore of the Paradise Beach, there are two monuments that stand proud, one is the statue of Mahatama Gandhi and the other is a historical monument, the French memorial.
Auroville Beach, is nestled in the region of Auroville in Pondicherry and is found to be located along the shoreline bordering the Bay of Bengal. The beach situated 12km away from the city centre of Pondicherry, is mostly visited by the local people of Pondicherry and Auroville, since it lies opposite to the road leading to the little town of Auroville. The beach is populated during the weekends and absolutly isolated during the rest of the days. The calm blue waters are prize hypnotizers and have a capacity to lure you towards them.
Serenity Beach, attracts numerous tourists to its idyllic beauty. One can reach the shores via road through a ten minute drive. Strolling on the golden sands of the virgin beach, is an experience on its own. Swimming in the clear blue waters and basking in the sun are instant soul soothers. The beach also offers various water sports such Kayaking, Canoeing and boating.
Karaikal Beach, is one of the best Pondicherry can offer, with advanture sports like kayaking, also a tennis court introduced by the authorities. For your convinience there is a vehicle parking lot, immovable seating and a beach restaurant that serves mouthwatering snacks and drinks. The road leading to this nature’s beauty has been lit up by sodium vapour lamps. All in all the beach tops the list of ‘must-visits’ in Pondicherry.
Puducherry Botanical Gardens, a cool respite from the city heat and humidity, the gardens are situated at the southern entrance to the city bus stop, which lies in the center of the city. Spread across an area of 22 acres, the botanical gardens serve as a green paradise away from the monotonous city life. The area contains the trees labelled with their scientific names, names written in Tamil and also ordinarily. Their medicinal qualities, the amount of oxygen given out by them and the uses of those trees are also mentioned. The gardens are divided into 28 plots full of endangered and exotic trees and plants. The park also consists of a Children’s train, numerous fountains an Aquarium with ornamental fish and a lot more.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, is a spiritual community established at Pondicherry, in the Indian district of Puducherry and is one of the most well-known and wealthiest ashrams in India. The Ashram was established by Sri Aurobindo, who was an Indian nationalist, philosopher, poet, yogi and Guru.
Auroville, the name literally means ‘City Of Dawn’, is an experimental township, in the state of Tamil Nadu, near Pondicherry. This township was founded by Sri Aurobindo’s mother, popularly called ‘The Mother’. The purpose behind the establishment of the town was to create a place where men and women of countries different from each others are able to live in peace and are also able to realize human unity. The town is located 8km north-west to Pondicherry.
The beautiful ancient Hindu temples in Pondicherry include the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam, a famous temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha, is located on the Manakula Vanayagar Street and has existed in Pondicherry since before the French came and settled there. There are many other ancient temples awaiting your photographic attention.
Pondicherry is well connected by roads and rail. The city is connected to Chennai via the East Coast Road through Mahabalipuram. The Pondicherry Road Transport Corporation runs several buses within the city. Pondicherry is also connected by train to places like Delhi and Mangalore. The Pondicherry airport has flights to and from Bangalore.
If you are an admirer of French architecture and culture, this city of ancient temples, picturesque beaches and a hint of French cultures awaits your undivided attention. So buckle up and do make a trip to Pondicherry, India.