Inspite of its diminutive size, Pondicherry attracts a large percentage of tourists visiting India.
The unique spiritual charm of the place in enhanced by the fact that it was a home to the great poet Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (whose real name was Mirra Alfassa and she was born in Paris.
An accomplished pianist and a painter, she became a follower of Shri Aurobindo and later came to be known as the Mother).
The Auroville, with its multinational, multilingual and multicultural population is the realized dream of both these visionaries, to build a universal society living in complete harmony.
Pondicherry is at present, a union territory with its area scattered over three different states in the country.
The capital of the union territory of Pondicherry is also known as 'Pondicherry' and is situated on the Coromandel Coast on the Bay of Bengal, at a distance of 162 Kms from Chennai.
Karaikal is another part of Pondicherry, which is also situated in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The other two parts are Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe located on the southern side of river Mahe in the westcoast of Kerala.
Once a French colony, Pondicherry still has a few French families living there and French is an important language.
The French spirit can be discerned in the very layout of the township.
The magnificent statues of Joseph Francois Dupleix and Joan of Arc, the warrior saint of France tell of a significant French influence on the history of the place.
The French Institute of Indology and Ecole Francaise d'Extreme Orient are the living legacies of the former French occupation of the territory.
Languages spoken in Pondicherry are Tamil, Telugu, Malayam, Hindi, French and English.
The state enjoys a tropical climate, it is usually hot and humid and the monsoon lasts from October to December.
Hindu, Christian, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.
Time Zone GMT +5.30 hrs
International Yoga Festival (January)
Sani Peyarchi Festival (Once in every three years)
Panguni Uthiram Festival (March - April)
Total 492 sq.km
Pondicherry 293 sq.km
Karaikal 160 sq.km
Mahe 9 sq.km
Yanam 30 sq.km
Literacy Rate 90%
Road length (total) 2251Kms
Total No. of motor Vehicles 1,41329 (1995-96)
No. of telephone lines 39339
No. of telephone exchanges 16
Per Capita electricity consumption 161KWH
Net State Domestic Product 26185 lakhs (1996)
Per capita income Rs 11677
Per capita investment in Rs 8311 (1995-96)
Routes to Pondicherry
By Air :
There is an International Airport at Chennai and a Domestic Airport at Pondicherry.
By Rail :
Railway connects Pondicherry to Chennai.
Phone No of the railway station +91-413-336684
By Road :
Pondicherry is connected to the major towns and cities of different states by good roads.
There are Interstate bus services from Chennai to Pondicherry.
Private buses are available for tours.
Accessible to major ports like Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin and Vishakapatnam.
It is an archaeological site at a distance of 20 kms from the Pondicherry town.
Recent excavations here have revealed some Roman coins, wine jars and other remains, which prove that Arikamedhu was the earliest Indo - Roman trading centre.
The city of Dawn as it is also called was established in 1968.
People from many parts of the world have settled down here making it a microcosmic replica of the world - a number of different communities living in harmony.
There are about 40 settlements in Auroville.
The house of the famous poet Subramaniya Bharati at Easwaran Dharmaja Koil Street has been made into a museum.
Another poet Kanaksubburatnam wrote under the name of Bharatidasan, he scaled the same heights in poetry as Bharati had done.
His house at Perumal Koil Street has also been made into a museum.
The boathouse is on the bank of river Chunnambar at a distance of 8 Kms from Pondicherry.
The garden was laid out in the year 1826.
Many plants were brought here from the different parts of the country and also places like Ceylon and Reumian.
Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus
A church dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus with beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from life of Jesus Christ.
The Governor's Square encloses a beautiful garden which has a monument Aayi Mandapam at its centre.
There are some carved monolithic pillars, which were brought to Pondicherry from Gingee in 1751.
Here are many artifacts that belong to the bygone era of Pondicherry.
The relics of the Chola, Pallava and the Vijaynagar periods trace the history of this place.
An ideal place for a stroll, the Promenade is a 1.5Km long walk built along the beach.
On the beachfront, there are statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Jeanne d'Arc and Dupleix, a war memorial, the Heritage building and an old lighthouse that is 27 metres tall.
This palatial building is completely French in style and was the residence of Joseph Francois Dupleix.
It is now the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of Pondicherry.
Shri Aurobindo Ashram
Shri Aurobindo, a famous poet established the Ashram in 1920.
The Samadhi in the Ashram premises is the final resting place of Sri Aurobindo and the mother.
The Ashram has become a centre for the practice of Yoga and a place of learning.
The ashram activities include agriculture, industries, art and culture.
Thiruvakkarai or Tiruvakkarai is at a distance of 30 kms from the Pondicherry town.
The first Wood-Fossil Park of the country is situated here.
The Chandramouliswara Temple is another tourist destination in this place.
Pondicherry has a beautiful unpolluted beach that is 1.5km long.
The other places of tourist interest in Pondicherry are: -
Jawahar Toy Museum
Mailam Murugan Temple
For more information : -
Tourist Information Bureau,
Goubert Avenue, (Beach Road),
Tourism and fisheries are the obvious industries of Pondicherry but other specialized industries in the area have also been developed.
The emergence of these industries has strengthened the industrial infrastructure of the place, which in turn assists and promotes further industrial development and progress.
Pondicherry Industrial Promotion Development and Investment Corporation
Kattukupam (the rural industrial estate)
Total no of branches 96
Power availability 225 MN
Power generated 32.50 MW
Industries large scale Total
Food Products 3 798
Cotton Products 7 730
Wood Products --- 413
Paper Products 3 337
Leather, Rubber and Plastics 4 516
Chemicals and Chemical products 11 1410
Non metallic Mineral Products 4 246
Metal products 2 723
Machinery products 2 440
Miscellaneous products --- 172
Repairing and servicing --- 236
Upcoming Industrial Areas
Electronic Industrial Estate is coming up at Thiruvanai, at a distance of 20 Kms from Pondicherry.
Software Technology Park (in association with the Software Technology Park, Bangalore) is coming up at Kalapet, Pondicherry.
Export Processing Zone is being established in Sedarapet, Pondicherry.
A Growth Centre is being developed in Polagam, Karaikal.
Integrated Infrastructural Development Centre is being developed in Sedarapet, Pondicherry.
There are ample investment opportunities in the state especially in the industries related to:
Information Technology and Software
Agro processing including marine products
Textiles including garments
Leather products and footwear
Light Engineering including Auto components