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Puducherry – An Indian Town With French Influence

Puducherry or Pondicherry is one of the Union territories in India, known for its strong French influence. This coastal city’s roots can be traced back to a couple of centuries when the French took hold of the region for trade purposes. Puducherry’s road maps and street lines are designed in French style and buildings with French architecture can be seen even now.

Puducherry photo
“Photo of shades of few, pondicherry” by nevil zaveri under CC By 2.0

This little city gained independence in 1964 and got annexed with India as a union territory. Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam are also parts of this union territory. An interesting fact to note here is – Puducherry and Karaikal lie within Tamil Nadu state whereas Yanam and Mahe are in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Though spread across different regions, Puducherry flourishes as a successful hotspot for trade and tourism.


Auroville photo
“Photo of Pondicherry” by Raj under CC By 2.0

Auroville is a village in Puducherry created by Sir Aurobindo. This village is a zero religion meditation center where people from all countries, irrespective of their religion and financial status visit, meditate and stay close to nature.

The Auroville was built based on the fact that all human beings are the same irrespective of their religion and financial status. People who opt to stay in this village live in hut houses and use solar power to generate electricity. They also recycle waste materials and collect natural fertilizers. There is a large forest created by villagers for the visitors to benefit from the tree’s fruits and shades.

Auroville presents a peaceful abode to escape from a stressful day to day life. Children are educated here to plant trees and recycle waste to produce energy. Farming and agriculture are the most important thing for human beings to learn. Visitors of Auroville learn to respect nature and they also reboot their minds before leaving this place. Auroville can accommodate around 5000 visitors.


Auroville photo
“Photo of Pondicherry, the port” by Raj under CC By 2.0

Arikkamedu is a village 6 km south of Pondicherry. This village is believed to be more than 2000 years old. Archaeologists have found Roman coins and many other artifacts from this place. Mud pots, jewels, etc have proved foreign trade links through the sea.

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Arikkamedu had trade connections with foreign countries like Rome, Italy, and China. The village was once busy with pot making, cloth weaving, and jewelry making. They had unique technologies to create pores in beads to make ornaments. Borewells are found in Arikkamedu and hence the residences here might have had well-planned amenities.

A large bungalow belonging to an ancient church’s father called Sir Pignay De Behaine is one of the major attractions here. Though damaged, it is visited by a lot of local and foreign tourists. People of this area expect the government to do more research and preserve this place to attract more tourists.


Karaikkal is a coastal town situated exactly at the midpoint of Tamil Nadu’s coastal line. The state’s eastern border faces the Bay of Bengal with Chennai at the North and Tuticorin at the south as major ports. Karaikkal stands at the midpoint of these two ports. Joined with the Puducherry union territory, this town has a mix of French and Tamil culture with people speaking French, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam fluently.


Originally called Mayyazhi, this small town spanning around 9 km is also a part of the Puducherry union territory. When French captured this place, they named it Mahe, maybe for their easy pronunciation. This town is entirely located within Kerala but enjoys the status of a union territory within an Indian state.

Puducherry is a great choice for tourists if they wish to enjoy beautiful beaches, archeological sites and French cuisine.

Featured “Photo of École française d’Extrême-Orient in Pondicherry” by Tjeerd Wiersma under CC By 2.0

Fathima Fahmiya

Fathima is a bio medical engineer who loves to read, write and explore. Experienced as a medical coder, she is now a home-maker and mother of a toddler. Though her little one keeps her extremely occupied, she still works to share more about the beautiful shades of India.

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