became the Governor of French Territory in India on 15.1.1742
and brought Madras also under French control in September 1746.
Madras was under French regime for 30 years. The attack of
Pondicherry by the British in 1748 failed. Dupleix's help to
Chanda Sahib and Musafer jung in 1750 added Villianur and Bahour,
a group of 36 villages, to the French rule. This was the peak
period of French regime and thereafter there was a decline in
internal disturbance in Pondicherry and the British utilized this
opportunity in August 1793 to gain Pondicherry under their control
and it was administered as part of Madras till 1815. However,
after the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the British restored the
possession of the settlements, which the French possessed on
1.1.1792 back to the French in 1816. Since then the French rule
continued till 31-10-1954.
helped in the freedom movement in British India since 1910. Sri
Aurobindo Ghosh of Bengal came to Pondicherry in 1910 followed by
patriots like Poet Subramania Bharathi, V.V.C Iyer and others. In
1918, the British demanded the extradition of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh
and other freedom fighters. The French government did not comply
of the nation Mahatma Gandhi visited Pondicherry in 1934 and
Jawaharlal Nehru in 1939.
becoming independent in August 1947, the citizens of French India
hoisted Indian national flag all over the French settlements. The
Jaipur session of Indian national Congress passed a resolution for
peaceful merger of PONDICHERRY with mother India. The Indo French
agreement of June 1948 was signed and the French gave freedom to
the French Indian population to choose their political status by a
referendum. While Chandernagar merged with India on the basis of
referendum, Pondicherry could not enjoy that facility because of
different system and practice of elections. On 23rd March 1954,
Nettapakkam and Madukarai areas were liberated and a French India
Liberation government was set up on 16.5.1954.
As per the
understanding reached between the Governments of India and France,
the question of merger of Pondicherry with Indian Union was
referred to the elected representatives of the people for decision
in a secret ballot on 18.10.1954, 170 out of 178 elected
representatives favored the merger. This is de facto transfer of
power took place on 1.11.1954 and de jure-transfer on 16.8.1962.
Bharathi, Bharathiyar to all,
was a Tamil poet-patriot who arrived in Pondicherry in 1908 a
fugitive from British India. The Free French air brought out the
best in Bharathi and some of his finest patriotic and romantic
compositions were born here. Bharathi's home No.20, Easwaran
Dharmaraja Koil Street, is almost a place of pilgrimage today
for the Tamil people.
another great Tamil poet, was born in Pondicherry and assumed the
name Bharathidasan, meaning `disciple of Bharathi'.
He lived in No.95, Perumal Koil Street, another place of
cultural pilgrimage. Bharathidasan's poems compare with Bharathi's
in literary achievement and patriotic fervour.
by Sri Aurobindo, a revolutionary turned poet, a philosopher and
later developed by the Mother, the Aurobindo Ashram has grown into
a centre for the practice of Integral Yoga, a seat of learning and
a training ground for sadhana. The activities of the Ashram
include agriculture, industries, art and cuture. In the main
building of the Ashram is the Marble Samadhi where Aurobindo and
the Mother have been laid to rest and the houses they lived in.
beach is virgin; its golden yellow sand is unpolluted, the
continental slope is gentle and safe. Pondicherry has a lovely
beach, 1.5 kms. long, where one can relax, sunbathe, swim or take
a stroll along the promenade. The beach has historical connections
too. These sands have witnessed some of the fierest Anglo-French
battles. On the sea-front are two important monuments a) Statue
of Mahatma Gandhi set amidst eight exquistely sculptured
monolithic pillars and b) the War Memorial raised by the
French to honour the soldiers who died in World War I. The Light
house and the 284 metre long new pier are further south
of these monuments.
the beautiful house built in a curious mix of French and Indian
architectural styles. However, it is not as a piece of art, but as
the home of Anandha Ranagapillai that it is preserved. Anandha
Rangapillai, the famous dubash (Indian representative
of a Europian ruler) had access to high places and a lot of
diplomatic information. All this he poured into his diaries that
are a storehouse of knowledge about French-India between 1736 and
palace-typically French - was once Dupleix's home. Today, the
exquisite building, with its beautiful lawns in front decorated
with sculptures, is the official residence of the
Lieutenant-Governor of Pondicherry (not open to Public).
Century Palais du Gouverneur (now Raj Nivas) the old Tribunal now
housing the Legislative Assembly, the cercle de Pondichery, the
hospitals, the Ashram Dining Hall, the UCO Bank are all lined up
to form "Place de Gouvernement" (Government Square),
with a monument Aayi Mandapam at the Centre of a well laid garden.
Some exquisitely carved monolithic pillars adorn the
"place". These pillars, ascribed to the XVII Century
were brought from Gingee to Pondicherry after the capture of its
fort in 1751.
The 1.5 km
long promenade running along the beach is the pride of Pondicherry.
There one can relax or take a stroll at any time of the day. On
the sea front are several landmarks the statues of Mahatma Gandhi,
Jeanne d'Arc and Dupleix, the elegant war memorial raised by the
French, the heritage building Mairie, the 27 metre tall old
lighthouse, the circular shaped two storied structures on either
side of Gandhi maidan.
opposite the Government Park, the Museum provides a glimpse into
Pondicherry's rich past and present. The Sculpture gallery
contains some specimens of Pallava and Chola art from Pondicherry
and Karaikal. The Archaeological section displays a collection of
the famous findings from Arekamedu, like Roman pottery, burial
urns, etc. The French Gallery is the most interesting part of the
museum which has an office and drawing, dining and bed-rooms with
furniture typical of French India. The other sections of the
museum are on geology, bronze images, arms, handicrafts and art.
The Museum brings back to memory the glorious past of Pondicherry
from the days of the pre-Christian era down to the present day
providing glimpses of the art and culture of the people of this
region during the Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagar days.
is described as the city of Tomorrow where an attempt is made to
replicate on much larger scale the experiment that is being
carried out in Sri Aurobindo Ashram for the evolution of a new
society envisioned by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother where people
could live "freely as citizens of the world, obeying one
single authority that of the Supreme Truth, a place of peace,
concord, harmony". Under the Mother's direction it was
launched in 1968 with the co-operation of many nations.
township of Auroville or the City of Dawn was designed by a French
architect, Roger Arger. It is an entirely new concept in
education and urban living. There are about 40 odd settlements
located around a central focus called the Matrimandir. These
settlements are engaged in a variety of activities, including
afforestation, farming, education and handicrafts. The total area
of Auroville is about 50 sq km. No local transport is available
inside the township. A conducted tour of Auroville from Boutique
d'Auroville, 12 Nehru Street, Pondicherry, takes interested
visitors around settlements of Auroville.
Botanical Garden in Pondicherry was created in 1826. When the
garden came under the control of the eminent botanist Perottet
"rare and interesting plants" were procured from
Calcutta, Madras, Ceylon and Reumian and introduced. Now it is
having a proud collection of 1,500 species.
the century old Anglo-French Textile mills in Pondicherry is not
only educative but also of tourism importance. The mill gives 10%
rebate to the tourists who go on guided tours/buses on the
purchases made. The world claimed fabrics and products of the mill
will not only be a momento of Pondicherry but also can be used as
gifts besides being products of utilitarian/aesthetic value in the
dedicated to "Manakula Vinayakar" existed even at the
time of the arrival of the French in Pondicherry in 1673. This
Ganesh temple is situated on MV Street. Every Friday, people
gather here to seek divine blessings for their new ventures.
There are about 32 temples in Pondicherry. Of these Manakula
Vinayagar temple, Sri Vedapureeswarar temple, Kamatchiamman temple
and Varadarajaperumal temple are famous.
missionary zeal in the XVII and XVIII Centuries saw a number of
grandly embellished churches built in Pondicherry. The Church of
Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Cathedral, the Eglise de Notre Dame
A'es Angles are particularly noteworthy.
for boating are available at a Boat House, on the River
Chunnambar 8 kms from Pondicherry. The backwater and the lush
greenery on both sides of Chunnambar provide an ideal setting for
boating. Boats are available on hire on all days of the week. A
most enjoyable hydroplane and facilities for boating and
fishing make this an ideal site for relaxation and picnic.
monument built by the gallant French in the exuberant Graeco-Roman
style to honour an oriented dancing girl stands as a symbolic
landmark of all that is unique of Pondicherry and her distinct
Jawahar Toy Museum is located in the old Light House building near
Gandhi Maidan. Here toys and puppets from different parts of India
are on display.
De Sacre Coeur De Jesus
church on the South Boulevard is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of
Jesus. It is noted for its Gothic architecture, stained glass
corridors and panels depicting incidents from the life of Jesus
in 1955, it is a research centre for Indian languages and culture.
The Scientific and Technical section prepares vegetation maps,
maps of soil types, geology and lithology of India.
about 20 km from Pondicherry town. Recent excavations at some
sites in Arekamedu have unearthed Roman coins, wine jars, etc
establishing it to be the earliest Indo-Roman trading centre
(around 2nd century AD). Further evidence points to a Buddhist
about 50 km from Pondicherry town. There is a Murugan temple atop
a hillock. The Panguni Uthhiram festival held in March-April
attracts devotees in large numbers.
about 50 km from Pondicherry town. This is the location of the
first Pallava cave temple for the Hindu trinity-Brahma, Vishnu,
Shiva. Called Lakshitayatana, it was built during the reign of
Pallva King Mahendra Varaman I.
about 15 km from Pondicherry town. A popular picnic spot on the
about 30 km from Pondicherry town. Large fossil bearing areas
fenced in to create the country's first National Fossil-Wood Park
here. These petrified trees lying scattered on low mounds and
stream sections, date from the Cretaceous Age (100 million years
ago) The Chandramouliswara Temple, a monument of great
architectural grandeur dating back to the Chola period, is an
added attraction. Every Pournami (Full Moon Day), people gather
here to worship Goddess Kali