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Puducherry: Introduction

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Puducherry was previously known as Pondicherry. It was renamed in September 2006 to the Tamil vernacular original which means "New Village". This Union Territory of India was a French settlement that comprised Pondy, Yanam, Karaikal, and Mahe.

Puducherry was previously known as Pondicherry. It was renamed in September 2006 to the Tamil vernacular original which means "New Village". This Union Territory of India was a French settlement that comprised Pondy, Yanam, Karaikal, and Mahe.

Amazing is the fact that different districts of Pondicherry fall under different states. The capital Pondicherry is situated in the state of Tamil Nadu at a distance of around 200 km from Chennai. While Karaikal is also a part of Tamil Nadu, Mahe is located in Kerala, and Yanam is in Andhra Pradesh.

There is a strong influence of French culture on Pondicherry town, especially on it's architecture, a result of the centuries-old relations this place maintained with France.

Today, Pondicherry is more famous because of its relation with Sri Aurobindo. Sri Aurobindo, the renowned spiritualist selected this peaceful and harmonious place to make his abode in the second decade of 20th century and remained there until his death. Auroville still operate from Pondicherry.

The 4 districts are Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe. Eventhough the total area is 492 km², the four sub-divisions are not directly connected to each other. Puducherry and Karaikal are enclaves of Tamil Nadu, Yanam and Mahe are encloves of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala states respectively.

Puducherry has 293 km²
Karaikal has 160 km²
Mahe has 9 km²
Yanam has 30 km²

According to 2001 sensus, it has 900,000 inhabitants. Official languages of Puducherry are French, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Tamil is used by majority at Puducherry and Karikal. Likewise, Telugu at Yanam and Malayalam at Mahe.

The architecture of Puducherry was designed based on the French grid pattern. The streets has French names and French language is still used here.

The entire town is divided into 2 sections.

(1) Ville Blanche or 'White town', the French Quarter. Here the buildings are typically colonial style with long compounds and stately walls.

(2) Ville Noire or 'Black Town', the Indian quarter. Here the houses lined with verandas and has large doors and grills.

Its architecture is preserved from destruction and the reinnovation of houses requires permission from by an organization named INTACH.

Puducherry has a road length of 2552 km and is endowed with excellent infrastructural facilities. A network of all weather metalled roads connecting every village exists in the territory.

Majority of people are Tamil.  Few non-Tamil residents with French passports can also found here. They are descendants of those who chose to become Indians at the time of Puducherry's Independence.

The city has a French Consulate. 'Le Foyer du Soldat', the memorial for soldiers who served in the different French wars can also be seen here.

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