About Puducherry

Quick Basic Facts 

  • Capital – Pondicherry

  • Official Language – Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam

  • Main spoken Languages – Tamil and French

  • Area – 492 Sq Km

  • Area Rank among Territories – 3rd

  • Population –  12,44,464  (as per 2011 census)

  • Population Rank among other territories – 2nd

  • Population Density – 2598 /Sq Km

  • Population Density Rank – 3rd

  • Sex Ratio – 1038

  • Literacy Rate – 86.5 %

  • Literacy Rank – 3rd (among all territories)

  • No. of Districts – 4

  • Established on – 7 Jan 1963

  • First Chief Minister – Edouard Goubert


Historical Facts 

  • The earlier name of this territory was Pondicherry and it was changed to Puducherry on 20 Sept 2006.

  • French first established their foothold in Puducherry in 1673.

  • Dutch arrived earlier on this land and there were few skirmishes with French for getting the control of the then Pondicherry.

  • It was declared Union territory in 1962. It was handed over to India by the French in 1954.

  • Former capital of Pondicherry was Madras from 1948 to 1954

Geographical Facts 

  • Puducherry consists of four geographically isolated districts – Puducherry itself, Karaikal, Yanam near Bay of Bengal and Mahe near Arabian Sea.

  • Mahe is small city (district of Puducherry) located on the western coast totally surrounded by Kerala from north, south and east. Arabian Sea defines the western boundary of Mahe. This city lies on the mouth of Mahe river.

  • Yanam is totally surrounded by Andhra Pradesh from north, south and west. Bay of Bengal defines eastern boundary. The city is 30 Sq Km in area only and located inside the East Godavari district of Andhra.

  • Puducherry and Kariakal are geographically surrounded by Tamil Nadu from north, south and and west. Bay of Bengal defines the eastern boundary.

  • Puducherry lies on the drainage basin of Gingee river. The other important rivers are Mahe, Arasalar, virasolanar, vikramanar.

  • Judiciary of Puducherry is itself High Court of Madras at Chennai.

  • Puducherry is the unique among all seven Union territories as it has its own Legislature and elected Chief Minister.

  • Main Industries – Textiles, Computer hardware, electronics, plastic, bicycle parts, alcoholic beverages, electrical appliances, automobile parts, soap, rice barn oil, cotton yarn etc

  • Agricultural Products of Puducherry – Rice, pulses, coconut, arecanut, condiments etc. Groundnut and chillies are grown in Yanam.

Economic Facts 

  • French influence clearly reflects in the society and culture of Puducherry. The impact of French culture on the architectural older buildings is quite obvious. Most of the restaurants offer delicious French food along with local Indian dishes.

  • Puducherry is well known for Shri Aruobindo and his Ashram.

  • Matrimandir is spherical structure with golden discs. This is considered to be of spiritual importance and used for practicing Yoga. This is located in Auroville township founded by Mirra alfassa

  • Podikazhi attam is the well known folk dance form of Puducherry. This is celebrated by by local fishermen community.

  • Mascarade Mask Festival represents the glimpses of French culture. It is observed in months of Mar to April. People clad with colourful costumes and masks dance and revel around the streets in fun.

  • Masi Magam Festival is a traditional Hindu festival celebrated by Tamil community of Pondicherry. It is observed between months of Feb to March. The deities are taken out from different temples and bathed in sea. Devotees also take holy dip in the sea in Karaikal and cleanse their sins.

  • Eve of French Battle day is marked by flags and parade.

  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral of Puducherry is also called as Samba Kovil in local language. 

  • Crafts include hand printed textiles, kalakari batik, marbling works, handmade paper and bronze works.

  • Places of interest are – Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Government Museum, Bharathi & Bharathidasan Memorial Museum, Government square, Botanical Garden, French Institute, Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, Joan of Arc, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Ananda Rangapillai mansion, Auroville and Boat Club on the Chunnambar river.

  • Groundnut and chillies are grown in Yanam.

Social and Cultural Facts 

How to reach Puducherry

The closest airport is in Chennai, which is around 135 kms. from Puducherry (approx 2½ hours journey). Chennai has excellent connections with almost all cities in India and direction connection to Europe, USA, Middle East and South East Asia. Trichy airport (220 kms. away) and Bangalore airport (320 kms. away) are the other nearby airports.

Villupuram is the nearest railway junction, which is fairly well connected to places like Chennai, Madurai and Trichy.


Puducherry is well connected to all districts and major towns of various states like Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andra Pradesh. Puducherry is best accessible by road. There are frequent buses, almost every 15 minutes in the day from Chennai (approx. 3½ hours journey).  There are frequent buses to Puducherry from places like Cuddalore, Villupuram, Chidambaram, Thanjavur, Trichy, Coimbatore and Bangalore.