(Last Updated on : 13/09/2011)
French influences are still afresh in the atmosphere of Puducherry and it is sometimes it is even described as the Window of French culture. Of late, this place is also known as The French Riviera of the East. It is an enigmatic city, which has earned fame for its colonial structures and serene ambience. The well-planned town, neatly laid roads, beautiful esplanades architecturally imposing churches and public buildings and the statues of Joan of Ark and Joseph Francois attracts people across the globe. The churches and the beaches are main tourist attractions of this place. In September 2006, this Union Territory changed its official name from Pondicherry to Puducherry, which in Tamil language means "New Village".
History of Puducherry
In the fourth century AD Puducherry area was part of the Pallava Kingdom of Kanchipuram
. Following the next centuries, Puducherry was occupied by different dynasties of the South. In the 10th Century AD, this Union Territory was occupied by the Cholas of Thanjavur
(Tamil Nadu). In the 13th century, the Cholas were replaced by the Pandyas. Later this place had to witness a series of Muslim invasions. Puducherry became wide known on the arrival of the French in the year 1673. During the 14th and 15th century, Puducherry was under the Vijayanagara Empire
. But, in the 16th century, Danish and the Portuguese used Puducherry as a trading centre. In the year 1699, French took the legal possession of Puducherry from the Dutch. Francois Martin, who was appointed as the administrator, restored stability to Puducherry and developed the town. He was actually the virtual builder of this Union Territory. During approximately for 250 years, Puducherry was a quite a calm town except during the Carnatic Franco English wars lead by Duplex and Clive.
Geography of Puducherry
The four non-contiguous regions of Puducherry are Yanam on the Bay of Bengal
, Pondicherry, Mahe on Arabian Sea
and Karaikal. The larger ones among the four are Puducherry and Karaikal. Puducherry lies 162 km south of Madras and 22 km north of Cuddalore, Karaikal is about 150 km south of Puducherry and Yanam about 840 km north-east on the Andhra Coast. Puducherry is touched by Bay of Bengal in the East and is surrounded by four states. On the South it is surrounded by Arcot District, Karaikal town and its villages which are surrounded by Thanjavur district, Mahe and its villages surrounded by the state of Kerala
and Yanam within the East Godavari district
in Andhra Pradesh
. For the maximum part of the year, Puducherry experiences hot and humid climate. The temperatures range between 26 degree Celsius and 38 degree Celsius.
Culture of Puducherry
The culture of Puducherry reflects a combination of several prominent religions like Christianity, Hinduism and Muslims. Puducherry has the presence of a number of temples dedicated to Lord Sulramaniar. This Union Territory celebrates every festival of India with immense enthusiasm. The Mahe district, which is situated near Kerala, celebrates festivals similar to Kerala like Onam
, Ganesh Chathurthi etc.
Education in Puducherry
Schools in Puducherry provide good opportunities to the students for learning different languages and computer. The government of this Union Territory is implementing special plans for improving IT literacy. Moreover, government is very keen to provide computer and Internet access to all middle schools. Pondicherry University is one of the renowned institutes of India. It is popular for its dynamic world-class education system. Here, more emphasis is given on such programs of study that involve a multiyear sequence of general and professional courses that integrates core academic, technical and occupational knowledge. As a result Puducherry is known as the education hub of South India. Puducherry has a literacy rate of 76%, male literacy is 82% and female literacy is 71%.
Economy of Puducherry
In Puducherry about 45% of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. 90% of the total area is irrigated. The predominant crop here is paddy. Pulses are also grown in large areas here. Fishing is an important occupation of the people here. There are about 27 marine and 23 inland fishing villages in this Union Territory. Railways play an important role in the economic development of this place. Availability of power is near about 400 MW. Puducherry Airport will be expanded in order to meet the growing demands of the tourism.
Administration of Puducherry
The governance and administration of this Union Territory falls directly under the authority in New Delhi. Puducherry has an elected legislative assembly. The government is permitted to make laws with respect to specific matters. However, in many cases, legislations have to require approval from the President of India. The Centre is represented by the Lt. Governor.
Demographics of Puducherry
According to 2011 census Puducherry has a population of 675,000. In Puducherry, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age. Majority of people of Puducherry speak Tamil, Telugu or Malayalam. At the time of their departure from the country, the French colonisers gave the people an option to secure French nationality. There is a community of French people and a number of French institutions.