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PUDUCHERRY (Pondicherry)

Puducherry - A multicultural city

Beaches like Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach, monuments like Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Church of the Capuchins, colonial buildings and temples dot over Puducherry, a former French colony which was called Pondicherry.

Puducherry, earlier known as Pondicherry, is a Union Territory with a legislative Assembly and a Chief Minister who looks after the administration with help of a Cabinet nominated by him. The Centre is represented by a Lt. Governor, who resides at the Raj Nivas at the Park, the former palace of the French Governor. Puducherry town is the Capital. The territory was a French colony and has its imprints everywhere.

The population of Puducherry is less than 1 million. Its territory comprises four coastal regions: Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. While Pondicherry and Karaikal are enclaves situated on the east coast in Tamil Nadu, Yanam is an enclave in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe on the west coast in Kerala. Its territory thus scattered, administrative jurisdiction become complex.

What is usually referred to as Puducherry falls along Tamil Nadu's east coast and is plains with no hills or forests. It has been described as a small beautiful city built by the French. In the early period, the territory was under the Pallava kingdom followed by several dynasties such as the Cholas, Pandyas and Vijaynagar. It was under the Sultanate of Maudrai when in the late 17th century the French transformed the fishing village into a port town.


Climate: It is warm and humid. In summer, max temp can hit 40 degrees C and the min around 28. It rains during July to August and again from October to December. April-June is summer. Best time to visit: December to March. Winter is warm with a high of 30 deg C and min at 18. Light jackets in winter.

People: Most people are educated. There are several excellent educational institutions. The famous Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education and Aurbindo Ashram are located here. The influence of French culture and character is very much seen although most people are Dravidian. It's definitely a a multi-national, multi-cultural town and therefore cosmopolitan in nature. There is a community of French people and there are quite a few French institutions.

Language: Most people speak Tamil and other south Indian languages. However, English and French coexist. English is the official language.

Economy: Agriculture, dairy and fishing are the mainstay.

Transport: There is a good network of roads and railways. Good bus service. Puducherry has a domestic airport. Nearby other airports are Trichy airport and Madurai airport, both in Tamil Nadu. The nearest international airports are in Chennai (135 km), the Capital of Tamil Nadu, and Bengaluru (320 km), Capital of nearby Karnataka.

Tourist interests: Beaches ( Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, The Auroville Beach and Serenity Beach ); monuments like churches (Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Church of the Capuchins ), colonial buildings and temples (Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple-Ganapathi, Thirukaameeswarar Temple-Periya Koil-Lord Siva, Varadaraja Perumal Temple onMG Road) built during the ancient times; the world famous Aurobindo Ashram; Auroville (City of Dawn of 'Mother'), an experimental township 8 km north-west of Pondicherry; French style avenues; One can definitely experience a spiritual ambience in Puducherry; French War Memorial; Romain Rolland Library; Governor's Palace; Bharati Park (Government Park); Light House; Pondicherry Municipality French-style building; Public Works Department in Bussy Street - French-style; Romain Rolland library; Lycee Francais imparts French education-no entry; Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort have backwater boat tours

Accommodation: All types of accommodation are availbale. Most hotels have AC ac the climate is by and large hot and humid.

Tip: Service guys everywhere expect a tip.

Food: South Indian and French dishes are common; To avoid dehydration and also to prevent contamination, carry a bottle of mineral or boiled water; salt-sugar mix in water averts dehydration.

Precaution: Pickpockets, taxi/rickshaw drivers; follow customs; shoes, belts, handbags, camera cases etc. are prohibited in temples.

Festivals: International Yoga Festival - 4th to 7th January every year - brings in participants from all over the world; 13th to 16th January - Pongal festival, the harvest festival; Navaratri; Deepavali.

Shopping: Anna Salai; Nehru Street (J.N.Street); Mahatma Gandhi Street (M.G.Street); Cathedral Street (Mission Street); Romain Rolland Street (Sunday closed); octroi-free and low tax on all goods; buy perfumes, handicrafts, fashionable garments, marbled silks, leather, ceramics; quality non-toxic incense sticks, cones, scented candles, perfumed oils, sachets, incense holders, ceramic holders and diffusers; French mustard and bakery; Pondicherry Mineral Water

STD Codes: Puducherry 0413; Yanam 08863; Karaikal 04368; Mahe 04983

CONTACT (for Govt accommodation):-

Managing Director, Puducherry Tourism Development Corporation(PDTC), 21, St. Vincent de Paul Street, Colas Nagar, Pondicherry 605 001. Ph: +91 413 2353532 Fax: +91 413 2356444 Email: wowpondy@gmail.com

CONTACT (for tourist info):-

Director of Tourism, Dr.Ambedkar Salai, Opp : Indira Gandhi Sports Complex Pondicherry 605 001. Ph: +91 413 2358570,73,76 Fax: +91 413 2358572 Email: tourism.pon@nic.in, pondytourism@gmail.com http://tourism.pondicherry.gov.in/

CONTACT-2 (for tourist info):-

Tourism Information Centre , 40,Goubert Avenue Pondicherry-605 001, India Tel: +91 413 2339497 Email: tourism.pon@nic.in

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