The former capital of French India, quiet beaches and peaceful resorts to the north and south, balance the towns bustling, yet easy going life - Pondicherry.Instead of the leafy boulevards and petanque pitches you might expect, its messy outer suburbs and bus stand are as cluttered and chaotic as any typical Tamil town. For anyone familiar with the British colonial imprint, it can induce culture shock to see richly ornamented Catholic churches, French road names and policemen in De Gaulle-style kepis, not to mention hearing French spoken in the street and seeing boules played in the dusty squares.






Often referred to as "A little piece of Medieval France in India" and "... a sleepy provincial French town", Pondicherry has managed to retain its French aura. From it's delightful restaurants offering French cuisine and streets bearing French names, Pondicherry's French connection is very much alive - yet, very subtle. As one tourist guide proclaims "... Pondicherry's Frenchness seems to play hide-and-seek". In Pondicherry you will find a 'West Boulevard' parallel to a 'Chinna Subbraya Street' and a 'Des Bassyins de Richmont Street' crossing over 'Mahatma Gandhi Road'. Having once been the capital of erstwhile French India, the heritage of this town has a special flavour not found anywhere else in the Indian sub-continent. The French town-sense, neatly laid roads cutting each other at ninety degrees, wide and vibrant beach promenade, French colonial history, the eventful life of Joseph Francois Duplex - whose majestic statue overlooks the Goubert Avenue contemplatively, architecturally admirable churches and public structures of a bygone era, all of these coalesce to give Pondicherry its unique milieu.



Pondicherry at a Glance ...



  492 sq km


   French, Hindi, English
   Per Capita Income:    6,150
   Religion:    Hindu
   Main Income:    Tourism, Agriculture, Industry
   District:    1
   Number of sectors:    7,98,033
   Best Time To Visit:    All Year Through


Legendary associations trace the origin of this city to Rishi Agastya, the revered sage of the south. And excavations near Pondicherry reveal that a Roman settlement existed here 2000 years ago. Pondicherry has been the theatre of many battles in the wars between the British and the French, and was the capital of French India before it attained independence in 1954. Pondicherry is famous as a centre chosen by late Sri Aurobindo, revolutionary turned saint, who built his Ashram, which draws huge crowd of tourists.


Chidambaram » Auroville » Tiruvannamalai » GoubertSaloi » Promenade » Botanical Garden » Aurobindo Ashram


Masi Mangam (February- March), Fete de Pondicherry on Aug 15-17th, Fire Walking Festival are a few festivals celebrated in Pondicherry.


Air : Chennai airport is 135 kms from Pondicherry and flights connect to major cities in India and directly to destinations in Europe, Asian, Middle East and the US.

Rail : Pondicherry is connected through a meter gauge railway line with Villupuram. There is only one railway station between Pondicherry and Villupuram i.e. Villianur.

Road : Pondicherry is well connected to all the districts and major towns of southern India by road. Pondicherry and Chennai are well linked through road.

Ports : Accessible to major ports like Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin and Vishakapatnam.


A remarkable variety of wildlife -- particularly birds -- may be found at Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson and Whitefield. This wetland complex of bogs, streams and ponds is the site of a great blue heron rookery and an important feeding habitat for several other species of waterbirds. It is also important stopover habitat for wood ducks, ring-necked ducks and black ducks, and year-round home to deer, bear, moose and an array of nongame species. The area forms the headwaters of John's River, an important tributary to the Connecticut River.Since its designation as a National Natural Landmark in 1974 by the National Park Service, Pondicherry has often been called a "crown jewel" of New Hampshire's landscape. The refuge is owned and managed by the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the N.H. Department of Fish and Game.


Despite of the high degree of urbanisation, about 40% of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Beside rice and some other food crops, like ragi, bajra and pulses, a number of cash crops like sugarcane, cotton and groundnuts are also produced in Pondicherry.

Milk production and distribution is well organised and it is largely in the cooperative sector. A well established modern dairy is one of the achievement s of Pondicherry.

Fishery is an important occupation as the Union Territory has a total length of about 45 km of coastline. There are about 28 sea fishing villages in the union territory. While those engaged purely in inland fishing number 17. The inland fishery depends on lakes, ponds, tanks and river water.

Main item exported include rice, fish, hides and skin etc.

There are 23 large and 79 medium scale industries. There are also 5, 400 small scale industries. All these generate employment opportunities to nearly 50,000 persons.