The calm and colourful Union Territory of Puducherry lies on India’s southern coast. A former French colony, it is known for age-old monuments, majestic churches, exotic beaches, and tree-lined boulevards. The French heritage makes Puducherry a preferred destination among tourists from all over the world.
As a popular tourist hotspot, Puducherry has many premium and heritage hotels, guest houses, and budget-friendly accommodation facilities that cater to travellers of all kinds. Its economy is primarily backed by tourism and the fishery industry. According to the Tourism Department of India, in 2017, around 1.31 lakh international tourists visited Puducherry.
Puducherry Tourism Information
|Official Language||Tamil and English|
|Area||483 square kilometer|
|Status||Union Territory of India|
|Official Tourism Website||http://tourism.pondicherry.gov.in/|
|Major Railheads||Puducherry Railway Station (PDY)|
|Airport||Puducherry Airport (Lawspet)|
History of Puducherry
The recorded history of Puducherry indicates that the region has been occupied since the 2nd century. Pondicherry, as Puducherry was known, became a French colony in 1674. French colonization in the area continued for a little over 375 years. During this period, it also came under the British rule for a short duration of time. Much of the region’s architectural and cultural heritage was shaped during the French rule.
In 1954, the control of the region was handed over to the Republic of India. However, only on 16th August 1962, India attained lawful control of the region. The union territory of Pondicherry was formed with four other coastal territories, namely Mahe, Karaikal, Yanam, and Masulipatam, all of which were French colonies. On 20th September 2006, the Union Territory of Pondicherry was renamed Puducherry.
Geography & Climate
The Union Territory of Puducherry comprises of four districts, called Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, and Mahe. The uniqueness of this union territory’s geography is that all the districts are unconnected. While the districts of Puducherry, Yanam, and Karaikal are located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal, the Mahe district stands on the Arabian Sea coast. Puducherry and Karaikal districts are enclosed by Tamil Nadu. Yanam district remains bounded by Andhra Pradesh and Mahe district is enclosed by Kerala.
As a coastal place, the union territory experiences a tropical wet and dry climate. Summers are scorching hot and winters are chilly. October to March is the ideal time to plan a trip to Puducherry.
- Beaches: Auroville Beach, Promenade Beach, Paradise Beach, Serenity Beach, Mahe Beach, Karaikal Beach, Quiet Beach, Reppo Beach, and Rock Beach
- Churches: Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Our Lady of Assumption Church, The Church of Lady of Lourdes, Church of Our Lady of Good Health, Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges
- Temples: Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Vedapureeswarar Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kamatchiamman Temple, and Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswar Temple
- Mosques: Jamia Mosque, Meeran Mosque, and Muhammadiya Mosque
- Monuments and Statues: Raj Niwas, Statue of Mahatma Gandhi, Statue of Dupleix, Park Monument, French War Memorial, Joan of Arc Statue, Lighthouses
- Museums: Pondicherry Museum, Bharathiyar Museum, Bharathidasan Museum, and Ananda Ranga Pillai Museum are the top museums of Puducherry
- Other Attractions: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville Township, Ousteri Lake, Botanical Garden, and Puducherry Science Park
Cuisine of Puducherry
The delectable cuisine of Puducherry displays strong influences of French and Tamil style of cooking along with the traces of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka cuisines. Puducherry cuisine uses minimal oil and spices. Since it is situated in a coastal region, seafood is a prominent item of this cuisine. Restaurants in Puducherry serve various delicacies ranging from French and Continental delights to traditional Tamil meals. Some of the scrumptious items to relish include Kadugu Yerra, Cucur Udang, Crab Masala, Soybean Dosai, Quiche, Croissants, Ratatouille, Bouillabaisse, Tandoori Potato, Podanlangkai, Coconut Curry, Curried Vegetables, Assad, and Stuffed Cabbage. Food aficionados with a sweet tooth can relish Palpayasam, a classic dessert.
Shopping in Puducherry
The bustling markets of Puducherry are great places to shop. If you are looking for souvenirs, here are a few popular options:
- Ceramic tableware
- Terracotta items
- Scented candles and incense sticks
- Handmade paper lampshades
- Stone figurines of Ganesha and Buddha
- Brass lamps and statues
- Crocheted hats
- Colorful dream catchers
- Papier-mâché idols and vases
- Handmade dolls
- Kora grass bags
- Palm stem paintings
Things to Do in Puducherry
- Laze around on beaches
- Explore the crafts of the local artisans at the Puducherry Art and Craft Village
- Enjoy the thrill of surfing, free diving, kayaking, jet-skiing, riding speed boats, pedal boats, and banana boats
- Ride an Arabian stallion or a thoroughbred horse
- Go for scuba diving and explore the underwater world of corals, sea plants, and fishes
- Ride through the picturesque French quarters and the tree-lined roads on a bicycle
- Shop at the local markets
- Enjoy an exotic French meal at one of the popular restaurants of Puducherry
- Spend a peaceful day at the Aurobindo Ashram
- Go bird watching at Ousteri lake
- Spot the nesting sites of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
- Try adventure sports like rock climbing, parasailing, rappelling, etc.
- Take part in the French game called pétanque played by the locals
How to Reach Puducherry
By Air: The Pondicherry Airport is a domestic airport that offers direct flight to Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
By Rail: The only railway station of the territory is located at Puducherry. Regular express trains and high-speed trains like Sampark Kranti Express operate between Puducherry and several destinations of India.
By Road: Thanks to an extensive network of roads, Puducherry remains well-connected via the land route. New NH-332 connects Puducherry to Tamil Nadu. The government-run Puducherry Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) serves all the four districts of Puducherry. Buses under PRTC operate on intra-city and inter-city routes. They offer services between various towns of Puducherry and major cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Chidambaram, Tindivanam, Tirupati, Kumili, and Kumbakonam. One can also avail private buses or taxies to travel in and around Puducherry.