Pondicherry Tourism, Pondicherry Travel Guide

Pondicherry Tourism

About Pondicherry - Pondicherry Tourism

Puducherry (formerly called Pondicherry), is a peaceful union territory known among tourists by the names of ‘India’s Little France’ and ‘The French Riviera of the East’. Pondicherry is very popular among travellers for its unique nature that stands apart from other tourist destinations in India. Travellers find the unqiue shift of culture and architecture from Indian to French, when they move from one part of the town to other crossing the canal, as very interesting. The city of Pondicherry provides a plethora of tourist attractions with its long stretch of beaches, backwaters, canals, French boulevard town, fishing villages and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The city is also home to some of the best cuisine restaurants and cafes that provide the feeling that you are dining in some city in France. Pondicherry is a perfect place for travellers who are looking to find a place away from the busy city life and all the places here, including hotels and cafes are built to give tourists that experience.  

Enriched with its architectural marvel and cultural wealth, Podicherry is a well planned and well built town, located perfectly on the Coromandel shoreline covering a total land area of 492 Sq. Kms. There are four districts which comprise this territory namely Pondicherry or Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe. Puducherry was under the French rule for nearly about 281 years.

The French developed an oval shaped, lovely ‘boulevard town’; the town is divided by a grand canal into two sections - one the Tamil side called as Ville Noire or the black town and the other, a European side which was known as Ville Blanche or the white town. French quality and rich taste reflect in grand colonial mansions, beautiful boulevards, clean and wide streets, spellings on sign boards and buildings, names of roads and public places. The culture of Pondicherry as a Union Territory is a mixture of the culture and tradition of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Pondicherry represents a cosmopolitan form of life that is unique in India and of great interest to tourists. About 55 languages are spoken by the people of Pondicherry.

The natural beauty of Pondicherry lies in its un-spoilt beaches and well laid out parks and gardens. The temples and churches of the city, French colonial heritages, the sprawling premises of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, the city of Dawn are some of the worth visiting sites for travellers in this small port city. Among the various churches in Pondicherry the most famous one among tourists is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is famous for its beautiful architecture style. 

History of Pondicherry - Pondicherry Tourism

History of Puducherry (formerly called Pondicherry) can be traced back to 1st century. As mentioned in archeological records, a marketplace named Poduke or Poduca of 1st century, identified as possibly being Arikamedu, about 3 km from the modern Puducherry.

Little is known about the area's early history. The "Bahur Plates", issued in the 8th century speak of a Sanskrit University that was here from an earlier period. As per legends, the sage Agastya established his great Ashram here and the place was known as Agastiswaram, an inscription found near the Vedhapuriswara Temple hints at the credibility of this legend.

Various southern dynasties controlled Puducherry in different centuries; at the beginning of the 4th century AD the Puducherry or Pondicherry area was part of the Pallava Kingdom of Kanchipuram. During the 10th century AD, the Cholas of Thanjavur took over the rule that was replaced by the Pandya Kingdom in the 13th century. After a brief invasion by the Muslim rulers of the North, who established the Sultanate of Madurai, the Vijayanagar Empire took control of almost all the South of India and lasted till 1638, when the Sultan of Bijapur began to rule over Gingee.

Pondicherry was apparently an important element of Roman trade with India. The presence of the foreign countries benefited the commerce and economy of the region of Pondicherry. The Portuguese were the first to set up a factory in the region in the beginning of the 16th century. The Danes and the Dutch followed the Portuguese and established their trading centers in Poto Novo and Cuddalore. The French too had an eye on the wealth and the fertility of India. The Dutch captured Puducherry in 1693 but returned it to France by the Treaty of Ryswick in 1699. Thus the French dream of Indian empire began and got over by establishing their supremacy in Puducherry.

The French acquired Mahe in the 1720s, Yanam in 1731, and Karaikal in 1738. Union Territory of Pondicherry or Puducherry was ruled by the French for more than 3 centuries and today it symbolizes the living monument of the French culture in India. When the British gained control of the whole of India in the late 1850s, they allowed the French to retain their settlements in the country.

Right from the time India gained its independence from British rule in 1947, the issue of the French settlements was raised with the Government of France. After independence government of India signed an agreement with France in June 1948 which gave power to the people to determine the political status of their land. Accordingly, the municipal elections in Puducherry, Karaikal and Yanam were held in October 1948. All municipalities except one were captured by the French India Socialist Party, a pro-French group. The new councilors at a meeting accepted the autonomy offered by the French Government.

The French rule in Puducherry lasted till 1954. After seven years, Pondicherry joined Indian Union in 1954. Pondicherry or Puducherry and the other enclaves of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam came to be administered as the Union Territory of Puducherry from July 1, 1963.

   
   
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