is one of the four districts of the union territory of Puducherry in southern India. The district occupies an area of 290 square kilometres (110 sq mi), spread over 11 non-contiguous enclaves lying on or near the Bay of Bengal within a compact area in the state of Tamil Nadu. According to the 2011 census, the district has a population of 946,600.Situated on the Coromandel coast in an enclave in Tamil Nadu's South Arcot district, Pondicherry is 162 kms. south of Madras. It is the capital of the Union Territory of the same name. Pondicherry has a long history dating back 2000 years when it was an important Roman trading post. The region was at various periods ruled by the Pallavas and Cholas. In the early 16th century, when it was known as Pulichery or Poocheri and under the rule of the Nayaks of Gingee.
The Union Territory of Pondicherry with a 32 km long coastline on the Coromandel Coast is a well-planned French Boulevard town. A perfect family holiday destination, it has everything that helps one to relax and enjoy. The numerous palm-fringed beaches, splendid seafront resorts, beautiful backwaters, wondrous opportunities and facilities for water sports centre, fabulous tiny fishing villages and hamlets and handy harbor make it a much-beloved tourist spot. Its highlights are the pier, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the world-class Auroville city and the internationally acclaimed Yoga centers. Besides the city of Pondicherry as its capital lying 162 km South of Chennai, the other regions included in this Union Territory are Karaikal, 132 km South of Pondicherry, Yanam in the East Godavari district in Andhra Pradhesh and Mahe in the Cannanore District of Kerala.
Pondicherry is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South India. The city has many beautiful colonial buildings, churches, temples, and statues which, combined with the systematic town planning and the well planned French style avenues, still preserve much of the colonial ambiance. Pondicherry is also a popular weekend destination. It is a blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture, virgin beaches and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied city.
Mythological History Pondicherry
The City of Pondicherry have recorded history after the advent of the Colonial Powers like the Dutch, Portuguese, English and the French. Though nearby places like Arikamedu, Ariyankuppam, Kakayanthoppe, Villianur, Bahur which were annexed by the French East India Company over a period of time and which became the Union Territory of Pondicherry after Independence have history predating the Colonial History. According to the Hindu mythology i.e. the story of Ramayana Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Rama after the battle at Sri Lanka and his triumph over the demon king Ravana. Owing to this Rameshwaram attracts Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu) and Saivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) alike. Sri Lanka is at a distance of 24 kilometers from Rameshwaram. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. Rameshwaram happens to one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India.
Places to see in Pondicherry
The 1500 metre long beach that borders the town on the eastern side is clean and is an ideal place for swimming and sun bathing. There are two monuments of historical importance on the beach. One is the 4m. tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi and the other is the War Memorial, built by the French in commemoration of the soldiers who died in the First World War. The Light House which stands 29m. high is further down the beach and is over 150 years old.
Opened in 1984, this museum has on display some fine antiques apart from sections devoted to archaeology, geology, sculpture, handicrafts, objects of art, printing and armaments. Among the exhibits on display are the bed used by Dupleix, a palanquin ......
Botanical Gardens :
Just off West Boulevard, the gardens planned by C.S. Perrotet in 1826, have a good collection of exotic flowering plants from India and abroad. There is also an aquarium here which has some rare species of ornamental fish.
Auro Ville :
This city of dawn was designed by the French architect Roger Arger and was started as an experimental commune where people of all nationalities irrespective of caste, creed or religion would live together in harmony.
About 550 people from different countries live in the 40 settlements of Auroville. It is advisable to hire bicycles to look around as the village is too large to wander through on foot. Surrounded by lakes and gardens, the sphere shaped Matri Information Centre at Promesse the first stop is Here, a 25 hectare farm and orchard where organic agriculture has been practised successfully. The produce is used in the kitchens of Auroville as well as the Ashram in Pondicherry.