Pondicherry is 162 kms south of Chennai.Pondicherry appears a tiny speck on India's sprawling eastern coast. A vedic association glamorizes its past. Sage Agastya is believed to have set up his ashram here in the distant Vedic past. The evidence is sought in the town's ancient name- Vedapuri, and in the nomenclature of the old presiding deity of the area, referred to as ‘Vedapurishwara' also known as 'Agastishwara'. Sanskrit scholarship thrived in Vedapuri, assumed to be the seat of a Sanskrit university in the 9th century, a couple of centuries after the decline of learning at Nalanda in Bihar.

In the first century, the Roman traders navigating between the East Indies and the Red Sea had set up a trading post and a settlement here. Fifteen centuries later, in 1673 Pulicherry a small fishermen's village on the Coromandel coast 160 km south of Madras (Chennai), was
acquired by Frenchmen as a trading post for the French. The new settlement was called Pucucherry. Two decades later, it was occupied by the Dutch. Then arrived Dupleix, who thought of Pondicherry in the same terms as Clive thought of Calcutta. For 15 years the British battled with the French enclave. From 1761 to 1816 it was the object of intense internecine rivalry between the British and the French, exchanging hands several times before the French finally occupied it for an uninterrupted spell from 1816 to 1954.
In 1954, Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe, four widely separated French pockets on the eastern and western coasts of India, returned to mother country, peacefully. Today, Pondicherry is the common headquarters for karaikaI, Yanam and Mahe.Karaikal about 150 km south of Chennai on the seashore and Yenam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe in Kerala also form part of the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
General Information

Area

480 Sq.Kms

Population

9,73,929 [2001 Census]

Capital
Pondicherry

Altitude

Sea Level

Season

Throughout the year

Clothing

Tropical

Languages

Tamil,Telugu,Malayalam,English and French

STD Code
0413
Places of Interest
Sri Aurobinodo Ashram
Aurobindo Ashram forms the nucleus of many activities and trade in Pondicherry. It is a product of Aurobindo's inspirations and Mira Alfassa's earnestness. The main Ashram on Rue de lal marine houses the buildings where Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa lived and died.
Auroville (14 km)
Auroville is an experiment in International living where men and women could live in peace and progressive harmony with each other above all creeds, politics and nationalities. It is a developing town 10 km from Pondicherry.
Raj Vilas
Once the residence of famous Governor Dupliz, this imposing palace is today the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry.
The Beach
The Pondicherry beach with its 1.5 km long promenade is one of the best place in Pondicherry to have a stroll, a swim or a Sun bath.
The PondicherryMuseum
The Pondicherry museum is a treasure house of antiques with a section on French India which is housed in rooms done in typical French style. It houses specimen from Pallva sculptures to a bed slept in by Dupleix. Also on display are some fine antiques, handicrafts and ornaments.
Temples & Churches
There are numerous temples and Churches in Pondicherry. Out of the 350 temples, 75 of are dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Varadaraja and the Villenour's Thrikakeswarar temples date back to the 12th century. A large number of churches like the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Eglis de Notre Dame des Anges are other legacies left behind by the French.
Oussoudu (16 km)
Picnic resort in pleasant surroundings. Boating in the Chunnambar River near Ariyankuppam is the most enjoyable part of the visit of Pondicherry. Boats, garden umbrellas, chairs etc. can be hired on nominal charges.
Tiruvannamalai (96 km)
Situated at the foothills in Tiruvannamalai is one of the most important Shiva temples in the south. During the Karthigai Deepam festival is celebrated in November or December when a huge fire is lit atop the hill and devotees flock to the temple and to the ashram of the Saint Sri Ramana Maharshi, which is 3 km from the temple. 37 km from Tiruvannamalai is a fort complex constructed during the Vijaynagara Empire. There are four temples inside the fort among which the Venkataramana temple is the largest.
How To Reach
Air: Nearest airport is Chennai
Rail: Nearest railhead is Villupuram.
Road: Pondicherry is well – connected by road and major towns of Tamil Nadu.4 hours drive from Chennai, frequent buses and taxis are easily available. Buses ply every half an hour to Pondicherry from Chennai. It is also linked by rail with Chennai, Tiruchirappalli and Villupuram.A small airport has also come up in Pondicherry.
Hotels in Pondicherry
Pondicherry’s basic lodges are concentrated around the main market area, Ranga Pillai Street and Rue Nehru.
Anandha Inn, Hotel Pondicherry Ashok,Sea Side Guest House,Amala Lodge,Aristo Guest House, Government Guest House, Hotel de l’ Oriente,International Guest House,Nadesh Lodge, Park Guest House,Qualithe,Ram International,Surguru,Surya Swastika, Villa Helena, Hotel de Pondicherry,Santa Ponsa Resort, Hotel Mass, Hotel Saktti Guru,Jayaram Hotel,Le Dupleix,Sre Sairam Hotel, Hotel Soorya,,Jaya Inn, Hotel Ram, Hotel de Pondicherry,Hotel Annamalai.
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