Puducherry is located in southern India and was declared a union territory on January 7, 1963.
The history of Puducherry, also known as Pondicherry, dates back to the 1st Century. It is believed that the name Pondicherry has been derived from Poduke, a port town on the Coromandel Coast.
Area and Borders:
This union territory covers an area of 290 square kilometres and Tamil Nadu is its only neighbour.
The languages spoken here are Tamil, English, French, Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi.
Learn to Speak Tamil:
- What is your name?: Unga peru enna?
- What did you do?: Nee enna panra?
- What should I do?: Naan enna seyyanum?
- Where should I go? Naan enga poganum?
- I will come with you: Naan wunkoda varuven.
The climate is warm and humid throughout the year. During the summer, temperatures rise to 38 degree Celsius. Summers are mostly dry and extend from March to July.
The winter season starts in the month of November and is affected by the northeast monsoon winds.
The winters are cool compared to the summers and the average temperature is 20 degree Celsius.
The monsoon season is short and the region receives rainfall from November to January and from July to September. The average annual rainfall is 860mms.
About 45% of the total population depends directly or indirectly on farming. The main crop of this territory is paddy. Crops like coconut, areca nut, condiments and spices and cash crops like sugarcane, cotton and groundnut are also grown.
Agriculture and fishing are the main industries here. Puducherry has nearly 5,500 small-scale industries, 80 medium-scale industries and 23 large-scale industries. Some of the medium and large-scale industries include chemicals, textiles, light engineering, metal works and food processing. Puducherry is also a very famous tourist destination.
- The Aurobindo Ashram is a large institute in Puducherry. It provides various medical facilities and services, the most important of which is the School for Perfect Eyesight, a centre that claims to improve and restore vision without the use of spectacles.
- The French Institute of Indology is housed in a classical colonial building. It is a research institute that explores civilisation, history, society, ecology and environmental development in South and Southeast Asia. The centre is also dedicated to preserving palm leaf manuscripts and promoting Indian languages.
- The house of Ananda Rangapillai, an 18th Century Indian nobleman, is known for its Tamil-French style of architecture. It has now been converted into a museum.
Arts and Crafts:
Puducherry is known for its unique handicrafts made from leather, pottery, hand-made paper and incense. It is also known for its antique colonial furniture.
Women wear saris, long skirts and blouses. Men prefer wearing pants and shirts.
The cuisine of Puducherry is a reflection of different cultures and customs. The union territory was a French settlement for a long time. The French style of cooking has thus amalgamated with the Indian style to give birth to a unique flavour. Some of the favourite entrees are assad, stuffed cabbage, podanlangkai and baked beans.
In the first week of January, an international yoga festival takes place here. This festival includes talks, discussions, consultations and demonstrations of techniques. Masi Magam is a festival that is celebrated on the seashore in Puducherry. This is a day-long festival where 30 sacred images are ritually bathed. At night, these images are taken out in a procession in an illuminated car.
- Bharatidasan was a 20th Century Tamil poet whose literary works were based on sociopolitical issues.
- Subramanya Bharathi was a Tamil poet and a freedom fighter. He is celebrated as one of India's greatest poets and spent much of his career in Puducherry.
The Union Territory is Famous for:
- The French heritage walk, which takes one through streets that are reminiscent of a French village. Along the path one can see ornate gateways, arches, garden courtyards with multi-coloured bougainvilleas and buildings painted in bright colours like lime green and peach.
- Auroville meaning 'city of dawn', is an experimental township dedicated to human unity, where men and women from around the world live and work together.