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For other entities called Puducherry or Pondicherry, see Pondicherry (disambiguation).

Union Territory of Puducherry
Union Territory
Template:Infobox settlement/columns
Location of Puducherry (marked in red) in India
Location of Puducherry (marked in red) in India

Coordinates: 11°56′N 79°08′E / 11.93°N 79.13°E / 11.93; 79.13Coordinates: 11°56′N 79°08′E / 11.93°N 79.13°E / 11.93; 79.13{{#coordinates:11.93|79.13|type:city(1244464)_region:IN|||||| |primary |name=

Country Template:Country data India
Formation 7 Jan 1963
Capital and Largest city Pondicherry
District(s) 4
 • Lieutenant Governor A. K. Singh (additional charge) [1]
 • Chief Minister N. Rangaswamy (AINRC)
 • Legislature Unicameral (33*seats)
 • Total 492 km2 (190 sq mi)
 • Total 1,244,464
 • Rank 2nd
 • Density 2,500/km2 (6,600/sq mi)
Demonym Puducherrian
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-PY
Official languages Tamil
Website [2][3]
^* 30 elected, 3 nominated

Puducherry, formerly known as Pondicherry /ˌpɒndɨˈɛri/, is a Union Territory of India formed out of four exclaves of former French India and named after the largest Puducherry district.

The Tamil name is (Puducherry), which means "New Town".[4] Historically known as Pondicherry (Pāṇṭiccēri), the territory changed its official name to Puducherry (Putuccēri) on 20 September 2006.[5]


The union territory of Puducherry consists of four small unconnected districts: Pondicherry, Karaikal and Yanam on the Bay of Bengal and Mahé on the Arabian Sea. Pondicherry and Karaikal have the largest areas and population, and are both enclaves of Tamil Nadu. Yanam and Mahé are enclaves of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala respectively. The territory has an area of Script error: No such module "convert".: Pondicherry 293 km², Karaikal 160 km², Mahé 9 km² and Yanam 30 km². Its 2011 population was 1,244,464.

File:Puducherry Map.svg
Map showing the districts of Puducherry

Some of Puducherry's districts are themselves amalgamations of non-contiguous enclaves, often called pockets in India. The Pondicherry district is made of 11 such pockets, some of which are very small and entirely surrounded by the territory of Tamil Nadu. The Mahé district is made up of three pockets. This unusual geography is a legacy of the colonial period with Puducherry retaining the borders of former French India.


All four districts of Puducherry are located in the coastal region. Five rivers in Pondicherry district, seven in Karaikal, two in Mahé and one in Yanam drain into the sea, but none originates within the territory.


Main article: History of Puducherry
File:Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Yanam Bridge.jpg
Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Yanam Bridge

The earliest recorded history of Puducherry can be traced to the 2nd century CE. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentions a marketplace named Poduke (ch. 60). G. W. B. Huntingford identified suggested this might be a site about 2 miles from the modern Pondicherry, which was possibly the location of Arikamedu (now part of Ariyankuppam). Huntingford noted that Roman pottery was found at Arikamedu in 1937. In addition, archaeological excavations between 1944 and 1949 showed that it was "a trading station to which goods of Roman manufacture were imported during the first half of the 1st century AD".[6]

French influence

The plan of the city of Puducherry is based on the French grid pattern and features perpendicular streets. The town is divided into two sections: the French Quarter (Ville Blanche or 'White town') and the Indian quarter (Ville Noire or 'Black Town'.) Many streets retain French names, and villas in French architectural styles are a common sight. In the French quarter, the buildings are typically colonial style with long compounds and stately walls. The Indian quarter consists of houses lined with verandas and with large doors and grilles. These French and Indian-style houses are preserved from destruction by an organisation named INTACH. The French language can still be seen on signs and menus, and heard in Puducherry.

File:Vibrant flowers & French architecture, Pondicherry, India.jpg
French architectural styles are common, a reminder of the years that the territory was part of French India.

Puducherry has a number of residents with French passports: most are of Indian descent and a small number are of non-Indian descent. At the time of Puducherry's transfer to India in 1954, residents were given a choice to remain French or to become Indian citizens. Those with French passports today are generally descendants of residents who chose to keep their French citizenship.

Several monuments in the city pertain to the French period. A French Consulate is located in Puducherry, along with several cultural organisations. Another important building is Le Foyer du Soldat legion hall for soldiers who served in French wars.

Among the French cultural organisations, the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Puducherry Centre of the École française d'Extrême-Orient and a branch of the Alliance Française are noteworthy. A French-medium school system, the Lycée Français de Pondichéry, continues to operate under the aegis of the French Minister of National Education.

File:French Consulate, Pondicherry.jpg
Consulate of France located at Goubert Avenue, White Town, Puducherry

Official languages of government

The Pondicherry Official Language Act 1965 (Act No. 3 of 1965) states that "the Tamil language shall (...) be the language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the Union territory." It also provides for the use of the Malayalam and Telugu languages is the Mahé and Yanam districts. The law also states that English "may be used for all or any of the official purposes of the Union territory". Contrary to a still widespread belief, the French language has no official status in the Union Territory.[7]

The languages of Puducherry are Tamil (89%), Malayalam (4.8%) and Telugu (2.9%). The status of each language varies by district. When communicating between districts of different languages, generally Tamil, English or Hindi are used as Lingua franca.

  • Tamil is used by the Puducherry government, especially used when communicating within and between the Tamil majority districts (Pondicherry and Karaikal) and is the language of official decrees. Telugu is widely spoken in the Yanam district while Malayalam is spoken in the Mahé district.

Official symbols

On 16 April 2007, the government of Puducherry announced that the following were to be its state symbols:[8]

State symbols of
  1. REDIRECT Template:If empty
  • This is a redirect from a page that has been moved (renamed). This page was kept as a redirect to avoid breaking links, both internal and external, that may have been made to the old page name. For more information follow the category link.
Song Invocation to Goddess Tamil
Animal Squirrel
Bird Koel
Flower Cannonball tree's flower
Tree Bael fruit tree

Government and administration

File:Pondicherry Legislative Assembly.jpg
Puducherry Legislative Assembly

Puducherry is a Union Territory of India rather a state, which implies that governance and administration falls directly under federal authority. However, along with Delhi, Puducherry is one of two union territories in India that is entitled by special constitutional amendments to have an elected legislative assembly and a cabinet of ministers, thereby conveying partial statehood.

The Centre is represented by the lieutenant governor, who resides at the Raj Nivas (Le Palais du Gouverneur) at the Park, the former palace of the French governor. The central government is more directly involved in the territory's financial well-being unlike states, which have a central grant that they administer. Consequently, Puducherry has at various times, enjoyed lower taxes, especially in the indirect category.

Special administration status

File:Pondicherrry ,Puducherry.JPG
The territory changed its name to Puducherry in 2006.

According to the Treaty of Cession of 1956, the four territories of former French India territorial administration are permitted to make laws with respect to specific matters. In many cases, such legislation may require ratification from the federal government or the assent of the President of India.

Article II of the Treaty states:

"The Establishments will keep the benefit of the special administrative status which was in force prior to 1 November 1954. Any constitutional changes in this status which may be made subsequently shall be made after ascertaining the wishes of the people."

In culture

Puducherry was the residence of Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950). The Sri Aurobindo Ashram still operates from Puducherry. Sri Aurobindo and the Mother stayed here. Their writings remain a tremendous source of spiritual awakening that emphasises the progress of humanity and its spiritual brotherhood. A unique experimental city, Auroville, the brainchild of the Mother, whose inhabitants are drawn from all parts of the world, is situated on the outskirts of the city.

Puducherry was the setting for Yann Martel's first third of his Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi (2001). A portion of the subsequent film adaptation of the same name was filmed there.[9]

Lee Langley's novel A House in Pondicherry (1996) was set there.

"Prince Pondicherry" is an Indian character from Roald Dahl's children's novel Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (1964). The prince orders Willy Wonka to build a palace of chocolate in India; the palace melts in the hot sun.

Puducherry was where the national poet ShriSubramania Bharati wrote several of his masterpieces. His local disciple Bharathidasan wrote poems dealing with social revolution and emancipation of women.


The Promenade in the main town Puducherry is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Union Territory


The gross state domestic product of Puducherry, at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian rupees grew from 1,840 to 37,810 million rupees from 1980- 2000.

Year Gross State Domestic Product
1980 1,840
1985 3,420
1990 6,030
1995 13,200
2000 37,810

Puducherry's gross state domestic product for 2004 was estimated at $2 billion in current prices.


The potential for fisheries is substantial in the Union Territory. The four regions of the Union Territory have a coastline of 45 km with 675 of inshore waters, Script error: No such module "convert". of inland water and 800 ha of brackish water. 27 marine fishing villages and 23 inland fishing villages host a fishermen population of about 65,000 of which 13,000 are actively engaged in fishing. Tanks and ponds are also tapped for commercial fish rearing.


The present availability of power is about 400 MW.


Main article: Tourism in Puducherry
File:Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry.JPG
Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry

Puducherry is one of the most popular tourist spots for national and international tourists. There are several beaches here. There is also Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where Sri Aurobindo spent his last years. There are several temples,churches,monuments, parks and mosques which attract tourists.



Puducherry is connected by a railway branch line from the five-way junction at Viluppuram and Chennai. The railway line is a broad gauge line. Express trains come from Chennai, Bangalore, Viluppuram, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Howrah and other cities. It takes approximately four hours to reach Puducherry from Chennai by train.

A new broad gauge line from Karaikal to Nagore is underway.


Puducherry is endowed with excellent infrastructure on par with India's best. A network of all weather metalled roads connecting every village exists in the territory. Puducherry has a road length of 2552 km (road length per 4.87 km²), the highest in the country.

Road length comparison with Tamil Nadu and India as a whole
Total Road Length (in Puducherry) 2552 km
Road Length per 1000 km² Puducherry Tamil Nadu India
4575 1572 663
Classification of roads
Sl. No. Type of road Length in (km)
1 National Highways 64.450
2 State Highways 49.304
3 District & Other Roads
Puducherry – 173.384
Karaikal – 55.162
Mahé – 19.622
Yanam – 26.460
274.628 274.628
4 Rural Roads
Puducherry – 164.964
Karaikal – 83.470
248.434 248.434
Grand Total 636.816


  • Pondicherry Airport is situated at Lawspet. The Puducherry Government upgraded the airport in 2012[10] with a new terminal building and apron to accommodate larger aircraft. The new terminal building was inaugurated in January 2013 and scheduled flights to Bangalore were launched.[11] A MoU has been signed with Airports Authority of India for expansion of Pondicherry Airport in two phases.[12]
  • Karaikal Airport, a greenfield airport to be ready by 2014, will be the India's first airport to be built entirely with private capital.[13]

Once again, from 14 April 2015 as PM N.Modi announces the city to be a Smart City - Pondicherry (PNY) is now connected by Air India with an ATR aircraft service 6 times a week except wednesday, its an afternoon service departing from Bangalore returning by evening to Bangalore. One can earn & redeem Star Alliance miles on the route.


Puducherry has almost a hundred per cent literacy level.[citation needed]

Pondicherry University

Pondicherry University is a Central University.[14]


See also

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  1. ^ "Puducherry L-G Kataria sacked". Indian Expres. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "Press Release" (PDF) (Press release). Government of Puducherry Directorate of Information Technology. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  3. ^ "NIC Puducherry". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "South Asia | New name for old French territory". BBC News. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "National : Bill to rename Pondicherry as Puducherry passed". The Hindu. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  6. ^ The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century. Kessinger Publishing. July 2007. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-548-20943-1. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Tamil Nadu News : Puducherry comes out with list of State symbols". The Hindu. 21 April 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  9. ^ "Filming Locations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "Flight operations await new terminal". IBN Live. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "First flight to Puducherry from Bangalore on January 17". Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Puducherry airport to go on stream in October". The Economic Times. 3 September 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Coimbatore firm to build India's first private airport in Karaikal". The Times of India. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Pondicherry University". Pondicherry University. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Welcome to Aarupadai Veedu Medical College and Hospitals, Puducherry". Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Krishnaa Engineering College". Krishnaa Engineering College. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  17. ^ "Acharya Engineering College". Acharya Engineering College. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Mother Theresa Post Graduate And Research Institute Of Health Sciences, Puducherry". Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Orient Flight School". Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Welcome to the Website of PKIET". Retrieved 10 February 2014. 

External links