Puducherry

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Coromandel coast along Promenade, in Pondicherry

Puducherry Tamil: புதுச்சேரி) formerly known as Pondicherry (/pɒndɨˈtʃɛri/ (Tamil: பாண்டிச்சேரி) or /pɒndɨˈʃɛri/) is a Union Territory of India formed out of four enclaves of former French India and named after the largest, Pondicherry. The Tamil name is புதுச்சேரி (Puducherry), which means "New Town". Historically known as Pondicherry (Pāṇṭiccēri), the territory changed its official name to Puducherry (Putuccēri) in 2006. It is also known as "The French Riviera of the East" (La Côte d'Azur de l'Est). It is also known as Pondy.

Quotes[edit]

Ancient fort at Arikamedu.
Consulate of France located at Goubert Avenue, White Town, Puducherry
  • The port of Podoukê mentioned by the classical authors of the beginning of the Christian era (The Periplus and the Geography of Ptolemy) represented Putucceri or Putuvai in its contracted form (Pondicherry). The recent discovery of an ancient city dating from the 1st century A.D. at a few km to the south of the town, at Virampattinam or , on the banks of the Ariankuppam River, confirmed his hypothesis, and it is accepted today in all the history textbooks that these remains correspond to the Podoukê mentioned by the Greek authors and that this spot, regarded as an emporion by Ptolemy was a port having active commercial activities. The abundance of Chola coins found at this place seems to indicate that the site was not abandoned.
  • An excavation at Araikamedu (near present day Puducherry) revealed a Romans trading settlement of this period, and elsewhere too the Roman pottery, beads, intaglios, lamps, glass, and coins point to a continuous occupation resulting even in imitations of some Roman items.
    • Britannica Educational Publishing, in "The History of India (1 April 2010)", pp.83-84
  • The first viable French company, the French East India Company, was launched by the Minister of Finance Jean Baptiste Colbert, with the support of Louis XIV, in 1664. After some false starts, the French company acquired Pondicherry (now Puducherry), 85 miles (137 km) south of Madras, from a local ruler in 1674...At first the French initiative suffered from the mixing of grandiose political and colonial schemes with those of trade, but under the care of Francoise Martin from 1674, the company turned increasingly to trade and began to prosper.
  • The progress of the settlements was interrupted by events in Europe. The Dutch captured Pondicherry in 1693 when the French regained it under the Peace of Ryswick (1697), they gained the best fortifications in India but lost their trade. By 1706, the French enterprise was moribund. The company’s privilege were let to a group of Saint-Malo merchants from 1702-20. After 1720, however, came a dramatic change. The company was reconstituted, and over the next twenty years its trade was expanded, and new stations were opened.
    • Britannica Educational Publishing, in "The History of India (1 April 2010)", pp.217-18
Puducherry Legislative Assembly
  • After 1763 the French establishments in India, which were under the authority of the king after abolition of the company in 1769, comprised - apart from a few small posts (loges) – no more than five settlements of moderate size,...Pondicherry and Karaikal on the Coromandel coast. The English conquest of India lessened the commercial activity of the French settlements. They were occupied by the English in 1776 and again in 1793, but in 1816 were returned to France. The Second republic of France granted them local government and representation in the French government. Under the Second Empire of France, commercial liberalism and Anglo-French understanding gave three settlements a fleeting moment of prosperity.
    • Kenneth Pletcher, in "The Geography of India: Sacred and Historic Places (15 August 2010)", P.340
  • In 1947 the loges were given back to independent India. Chandernagore was finally transferred in 1951. De facto transfer of the four remaining French possessions to the Union of India took place on 1 November 1954, and de jure transfer was completed on 28 May 1956. Instruments of ratification were signed on 16 August 1962 from which date Pondicherry, consisting of the four enclaves, became a Union territory. The territory formally took the name Puducherry in 2006.
    • Kenneth Pletcher, in "The Geography of India: Sacred and Historic Places (15 August 2010)", P.340
Residence of the Lieutenant Governor.
  • Christians are numerous in Pondicherry. There are also a few Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains...There are no industries or mining in the union territory. It purchases its entire power requirements from nearby states. Puducherry is governed by a Lieutenant Governor who is advised by a Chief Minister and council of Ministers. The jurisdiction of the Madras High Court extends over the union territory.
    • Kenneth Pletcher, in "The Geography of India: Sacred and Historic Places (15 August 2010)", P.340
  • Puducherry contains the Hindu ashram (religious retreat) of the philosopher Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) as well as w:AurovilleAuroville, the international township and study centre that was named for him. The Roan Rolland Public Library houses some rare French volumes. A medical college, a law college, an engineering college, and several other colleges for general education are affiliated with the University of Madras.
    • Kenneth Pletcher, in "The Geography of India: Sacred and Historic Places (15 August 2010)", P.340
  • Pondicherry Town attracts the maximum number of foreign and domestic tourists primarily due to the presence here of the ‘Aurobindo Ashram’, and ‘Auroville’ in the nearby area of Tamil Nadu. They are attracted to these two institutions for the enshrined ‘Spiritualism’ and the ‘Way of life’ practiced there Pondicherry Town’s historic French connections, the Heritage buildings and French cultural linkages permeating the town atmosphere are the other major draw for foreign tourists, as also the Pondicherry - born French nationals living abroad at present. For the latter group, it is home coming once in a few years.
  • The religious policy pursued in the early part of the century at Pondicherry is remarkable. It appears to have been ordered that no temple should be repaired; Nainiyappau was ordered to be converted within six months under pain of losing his post as Chief Dubash; Hindu festivals were prohibited on Sundays and the principal Christian feasts; even when these regulations had caused the greater part of the town to be deserted, the Jesuits urged that a temple should be pulled down instead of conciliatory measures being employed... It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that in this zealous proselytising policy lies one reason why Pondicherry was far inferior to Madras as a commercial centre; and perhaps the same cause also contributed to the absolute failure of Dupleix’s efforts to induce the Madras merchants to settle under the French.
    • The Private Diary of Anand Ranga Pillai translated from Tamil by Rev. J. Frederick Price and K. Rangachari, Madras, 1904, Volume IV, p. 144. Quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 7 [1]
  • The priests of St. Paul’s Church have been trying for the last fifty years to pull down the Vedapuri Iswaran temple; former Governors said that this was the country of the Tamils, that they would earn dishonour if they interfered with the temple, that the merchants would cease to come here, and that the town would decay; they even set aside the king’s order to demolish the temple; and their glory shone like the sun. ... Before M. Dupleix was made Governor, and when he was only a Councillor, all the Europeans and some Tamils used to say that if he became Governor, he would destroy the Iswaran temple. The saying has come to pass. ... [The Governor] has taken advantage of this time of war to accomplish his longstanding object and demolish the temple. ... I cannot describe the boundless joy of the St. Paul’s priests, the Tamil and pariha converts, Madame Dupleix and M. Dupleix. In their delight, they will surely enter the temple, and will not depart, without breaking and trampling under foot the idols and destroying all they can. ... Then Father Coeurdoux of Karikal came with a great hammer, kicked the lingam, broke it with his hammer, and ordered the Coffrees and the Europeans to break the images of Vishnu and the other gods. Madame went and told the priest that he might break the idols as he pleased. He answered that she had accomplished what had been impossible for fifty years, that she must be one of those Mahatmas who established this religion [Christianity] in old days, and that he would publish her fame throughout the world. ... I can neither write nor describe what abominations were done in the temple... All the Tamils think that the end of the world has come. ... The wise men will say that the glory of an image is as short-lived as human happiness. The temple was destined to remain glorious till now, but now has fallen.
    • About the Vedapuri Iswaran Temple, which was the principal place of worship for the Hindus of Pondicherry. The Private Diary of Anand Ranga Pillai translated from Tamil by Rev. J. Frederick Price and K. Rangachari, Madras, 1904. Quoted from Goel, S. R. (2016). History of Hindu-Christian encounters, AD 304 to 1996. Chapter 7 ISBN 9788185990354 [2]

Pondicherry: A corner of India that is forever France (13 January 2013)[edit]

Mark Jones: ...Pondicherry is "The Indian Côte d'Azur" and "The Riviera of the East", a haven of French style and refinement separated from Boomtown India...It was as if an elegant French country town had been transported to the Bay of Bengal.
The spiritual heart of Pondi is the ashram of Sri Aurobindo founded by the eponymous mystic.
Matrimandir, Soul of the Auroville, near Pondicherry set up by Mother, in 1926

Mark Jones, Pondicherry: A corner of India that is forever France (13 January 2013)

  • If you've seen the Ang Lee film Life of Pi you'll understand why. The opening scenes are set in the Pondicherry of the hero's early life. Whether you're watching in 3D or not, the lush gardens, European mansions and elegant walkways leap out of the screen. This is a film, and a pretty fantastical one at that. All the same, Ang Lee's vision could have been lifted straight from the guidebooks and tourist literature. Pondicherry is "The Indian Côte d'Azur" and "The Riviera of the East", a haven of French style and refinement separated from Boomtown India...It was as if an elegant French country town had been transported to the Bay of Bengal.
  • By 1850, the British had secured their grip on India. They allowed the retreating French to remain in four small pockets of South Indian territory. Pondicherry was pocket central. The British were content to let this Gallic anomaly survive until it, too, gained its full independence in 1963.
  • The French laid out their streets in a formal w:Grid patterngrid pattern. This was White Town. Over the canal, or Drain, the Tamil quarter, Black Town, grew up in its own organic way – albeit with a great number of fine mansions built by wealthy traders.
  • In 2006, Pondicherry became Puducherry – having reverted to its pre-colonial Tamil name. It was no longer an anomaly. This was indeed boomtown India. Pondi – as its long-term residents like to call it – is already swollen. As in so many Indian cities, the economic miracle has had its way, spawning a population increase of over 20 per cent in the past two censuses.
  • Pondicherry is fast losing its special physical character and atmosphere, not just because of the increasing population, traffic and pollution, but also due to the alarming loss of old buildings in the name of development.
  • The spiritual heart of Pondi is the ashram of Sri Aurobindo founded by the eponymous mystic and his enigmatic follower, the Mother, in 1926. You see the ashram's distinctive light-grey buildings all around town: schools, libraries, shops and restaurants. The main building is a silent, contemplative grove, where Aurobindo and the Mother are laid to rest.
  • Auroville is something of an architect's dream and has long attracted idealistic designers eager to experiment with materials and technologies.
  • Pondi is not the same: not the same as British India, not the same as those bursting, cacophonous cities and depressingly litter-strewn villages of the South Indian countryside. It remains a wonderful and unique place to visit. Some things have changed for the better in 10 years. There are some wonderful hotels, an eclectic range of restaurants; chic and quirky boutiques have popped up.

An Evaluative Study of Tourism Industry in Puducherry, U.T. Of India[edit]

Gandhi statue on Promenade on the coast

Dr. R.Uma Devi, in An Evaluative Study of Tourism Industry in Puducherry, U.T. Of India

  • Pondicherry (Puducheri) literally means 'the new settlement', was merged with the Indian Union on 1st November 1954. The Union Territory of Puducherry is administered under the provisions of Government of Union Territories Act, 1963.
  • Puducherry is referred by names such as ‘Quintessence of French Culture’, ‘India’s Little France’ and ‘The French Riviera of the East’. It includes four enclaves located in three states of South India. It includes the coastal towns of Pondicherry and Karaikal in Tamil Nadu, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh and Mahe in Kerala. Pondicherry is the Capital of this Union Territory and one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. Pondicherry has been described by National Geographic as "a glowing highlight of subcontinental sojourn". The town has been dubbed "The Europe of India."
  • Puducherry has a rich French Cultural heritage, having been the capital of the French Colonies in India since the 17th Century. Puducherry region, with a coastal line of 32 Km, well planned French Boulevard town, palm fringed [[w:Beaches|beaches, resorts, backwaters, water sports centre, fishing villages, harbour, and the pier, Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville and other attractions. Puducherry is a place of many faiths and worship - Puducherry [[w:Temples|Temples & Mosques which dominate the landscapes. In and around Puducherry there are 350 temples –big and small. Karaikal has another ninety-nine temples, of which some were built by the Chola kings between the 10th and 12th centuries. As a former French colony, Puducherry is known for French ethnicity. France is thus a natural potential market for Puducherry tourism. The nostalgic visit by French nationals to Puducherry is a trend that has far reaching impact on tourism and overall economy.

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