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Map of Puducherry (Source: India-WRIS)



The vedic name of the Pondicherry was Vedpuri. According to Hindu mythology this place was the ashram of Sage Agastya. In the Mughal regime the emperor Aurangzeb had granted the permit to the French to trade in India. Later in February 1673, the French established a 'loge' in Pondicherry. In 17th century this place witnessed a struggle between the Dutch and the French people and in the later half between the French and the English. Gradually the French people restore their possession over here and it became the capital of French colony in India. Several freedom fighters of India took shelter in this place. Ultimately in 28th May 1956 Pondicherry merged with Indian union from the French rule.


Pondicherry is bounded by Bay of Bengal on the east and the other three sides by the Arcot district of Tamil Nadu. About 150 km south of Pondicherry on the east coast lies Karaikal, which is also bounded by the Bay of Bengal on the east and the other three sides by the Tanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. Mahe town lies south of the Mahe river on the Malabar coast on the western ghats surrounded by Kerala. It can reached from Calicut Airport which is 70 km from Mahe. Yanam, which is bigger than Mahe is situated adjoining the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh and is 200 km from Vishakaptnam. The total area of the union territory is 492 sq km.
Yanam, Pondicherry and Karaikal form part of the eastern part of the eastern alluvial coast land falling precisely in the deltas of Godavari, Cauvery and the intervening tracts. The altitude of these places lies between 0 to 150 meters. The Pondicheery region is a flat area where the elevation is not above 15 meters from the sea level. There are lagoons and lakes in this area. In the northwest of Pondicherry town low hills are found. Karaikal is a part of fertile Cauvery delta and is a flat are. Yanam is divided into two parts by the river Godavari and Coringa river. This area is flat and the terrain is monotonous without any hills. These area exhibit a hot tropical climate characterised by oppressive summer. Humidity of these area is high and get moderate annual rainfall. The region on the eastern side has the advantage of both the southwest and northeast monsoon. Mahe, the only part of the union territory on the west coast, enjoys equable climate with high temperature almost throughout the year. Backwaters constitutes an important physical characteristics of this place. The Mahe river divides the Mahe region into two parts and there are some hills of medium height. The important rivers of Pondicherry are Gingee and Pennar, in Karaikal the Cauvery, Godavari and Coringa in Yanam and in Mahe the river Mahe.


  • Agriculture
  • Industry
  • Mines & Minerals


Despite the high degree of urbanisation, near about 35% of the Pondicherry's population depends on agriculture and allied activities. The degree of irrigation is very high (about 90% of the total land). Major food crops rice, ragi, bajra and pulses. A number of cash crops like sugarcane, cotton, groundnuts are also produced in Pondicherry. Milk production and distribution is well organised and mostly under cooperative sector. Fishery is an important occupation of this area. The marine fishing and inland fishing both are important. This union territory has good coastline about 45 km, on the other hand it has number of lakes, tanks, ponds and river, which are the main sources of inland fishing.

Mines & Minerals

A number of minerals are available in different parts of Pondicherry but in a small quantity. Only some notable efforts of oil exploration by the Oil and Natural Gas Commission in the Karaikal area may be mentioned.


  • Irrigation
  • Health
  • Power
  • Education
  • Transport


About 90 per cent of the total cultivated area having the facility of irrigation. Tanks and tube wells plays the most important role in irrigation system.



There is a meter gauge railway line between Villupuram and Pondicherry and its origin may be traced back to 1869. The first passenger train streamed in at Pondicherry on 14/10/1879. It is connected to Chennai by meter-gauge line.


Pondicherry is air-linked with Chennai about 160 km from it.


There are three minor ports in this union territory one each in Pondicherry, Karaikal and Mahe.


Pondicherry was the capital of French colonies in India since 17th century. This union territory was transferred to Indian union in 1954, so it is still the window of French culture. The French legacy is visible in the well planned town, neatly laid roads, wide and vibrant beaches, beautiful promenade, architecturally imposing churches and public buildings etc. Some of the major places of interest are Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville Museum, Chunnambar resort, botanical garden, Romain Roland library, the coastline and beaches, the government park, several temples churches and mosques in Pondicherry, Karaikal and Mahe etc.

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