Puducherry

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Puducherry
புதுச்சேரி - Pondichéry
Pondicherry
union territory
Official logo of Puducherry
Seal of Puducherry
Location of Puducherry (marked in red) in India
Location of Puducherry (marked in red) in India
Coordinates: 11°56′N 79°08′E / 11.93°N 79.13°E / 11.93; 79.13Coordinates: 11°56′N 79°08′E / 11.93°N 79.13°E / 11.93; 79.13
Country  India
Established 7 Jan 1963
Capital and Largest city Pondicherry
District(s) 4
Government
 • Lieutenant Governor Virendra Kataria
 • Chief Minister N. Rangaswamy (AINRC)
 • Legislature Unicameral (33*seats)
Area
 • Total 492 km2 (190 sq mi)
Population
 • Total 1,244,464
 • Rank 2nd
 • Density 2,500/km2 (6,600/sq mi)
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
ISO 3166 code IN-PY
Official languages Tamil
Malayalam
Telugu
French
Website www.py.gov.in [1][2]
^* 30 elected, 3 nominated
Puducherry Union Territory

Puducherry, formerly known as Pondicherry /ˌpɒndɨˈɛri/, 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".[3] Historically known as Pondicherry (Pāṇṭiccēri), the territory changed its official name to Puducherry (Putuccēri) in 2006.[4] It is also known as "The French Riviera of the East" (La Côte d'Azur de l'Est).

Geography[edit]

Inde-Francaise

The union territory of Puducherry consists of four small unconnected districts: Pondicherry, Karaikal and Yanam on the Bay of Bengal and Mahé on the Arabian Sea. Pondicherry and Karaikal have the largest areas and population, both as part of Tamil Nadu. Yanam and Mahé are enclaves of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala respectively. The territory has an area of 492 square kilometres (190 sq mi): Pondicherry 293 km², Karaikal 160 km², Mahé 9 km² and Yanam 30 km². Its 2011 population was 1,244,464.

Some of Puducherry's enclaves are themselves amalgamations of non-contiguous enclaves, often called pockets in India. The Pondicherry district is made of 11 such pockets, some of which are very small and entirely surrounded by the territory of Tamil Nadu. The Mahé district is made up of three pockets. This unusual geography is a legacy of the colonial period with Puducherry retaining the borders of former French India.

Map showing the districts of Puducherry

Rivers[edit]

All four districts of Puducherry are located in the coastal region. Five rivers in Pondicherry district, seven in Karaikal, two in Mahé and one in Yanam drain into the sea, but none originates within the territory.

History[edit]

Main article: History of Puducherry
Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Yanam Bridge

The earliest recorded history of Puducherry can be traced back to the 2nd century. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentions a marketplace named Poduke (ch. 60), which G. W. B. Huntingford identified a site about 2 miles from the modern Pondicherry as possibly the location of Arikamedu (now part of Ariyankuppam). Huntingford noted that Roman pottery was found at Arikamedu in 1937, and archaeological excavations between 1944 and 1949 showed that it was "a trading station to which goods of Roman manufacture were imported during the first half of the 1st century AD".[5]

French influence[edit]

The city the Puducherry based on the French grid pattern and features perpendicular streets. The town is divided into two sections: the French Quarter (Ville Blanche or 'White town') and the Indian quarter (Ville Noire or 'Black Town'.) Many streets retain French names, and French-style villas are a common sight. In the French quarter, the buildings are typically colonial style with long compounds and stately walls. The Indian quarter consists of houses lined with verandas and with large doors and grills. These French and Indian style houses are preserved from destruction by an organisation named INTACH. The French language can still be seen and heard in Puducherry.

French architectural styles are common, a reminder of the years that the territory formed part of French India.

Puducherry has a large number of Indian and a small number of non-Indian descent residents with French passports. These are descendants of those who chose to remain French when the French establishment presented the residents with an option to either remain French or become Indians at the time of Puducherry's transfer to India in 1954.

Apart from the monuments pertaining to the French period, a French Consulate is in Puducherry along with several cultural organisations. Another important building is Le Foyer du Soldat legion hall for soldiers who served in French wars.

Among the French cultural organisations, the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Puducherry Centre of the École française d'Extrême-Orient and a branch of the Alliance Française are noteworthy. A French-medium school system, the Lycée Français de Pondichéry, continues to operate under the aegis of the French Minister of National Education.

Consulate of France located at Goubert Avenue, White Town, Puducherry

Official languages of government[edit]

Map of Pondicherry Region in the Union Territory of Puducherry, India

The official languages of Puducherry are Tamil (89%), Malayalam (4.8%), Telugu and (2.9% Yanam). The status of each language varies by district. When communicating between districts of different languages, generally English is used for convenience.

  • Tamil is used by the Puducherry government, especially used when communicating within and between the Tamil majority districts (Pondicherry and Karaikal) and is the language of official decrees. Telugu is widely spoken in Pondicherry, Karaikal and Yanam districts. Malayalam is spoken in Mahé and Pondicherry districts.
  • French is also an official language of the territory. It was the official language of French India (from 1673 until 1954), and its official status was preserved by the Treaty of Cession signed by the Indian Union and the French Republic on 28 May 1956.

French remained the de jure official language of Puducherry U.T by the Article XXVIII of the Treaty of Cession, which states that:

"The French language shall remain the official language of the Establishments so long as the elected representatives of the people shall not decide otherwise" [English version][6]

Official symbols[edit]

On 16 April 2007, the government of Puducherry announced that the following were to be its state symbols:[7]

State symbols of Puducherry
Language Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and French
Song Invocation to Goddess Tamil
Animal Squirrel
Bird Koel
Flower Cannonball tree's flower
Tree Bael Fruit Tree

Government and administration[edit]

Puducherry Legislative Assembly

Puducherry is a Union Territory of India rather a state, which implies that governance and administration falls directly under federal authority. However, along with Delhi, Puducherry is one of two union territories in India that is entitled by special constitutional amendments to have an elected legislative assembly and a cabinet of ministers, thereby conveying partial statehood.

The Centre is represented by the lieutenant governor, who resides at the Raj Nivas (Le Palais du Gouverneur) at the Park, the former palace of the French governor. The central government is more directly involved in the territory's financial well-being unlike states, which have a central grant that they administer. Consequently, Puducherry has at various times, enjoyed lower taxes, especially in the indirect category.

Special administration status[edit]

The territory changed its name to Puducherry in 2006.

According to the Treaty of Cession of 1956, the four territories of former French India territorial administration are permitted to make laws with respect to specific matters. In many cases, such legislation may require ratification from the federal government or the assent of the President of India.

Article II of the Treaty states:

"The Establishments will keep the benefit of the special administrative status which was in force prior to 1 November 1954. Any constitutional changes in this status which may be made subsequently shall be made after ascertaining the wishes of the people."

In culture[edit]

Puducherry was the residence of Sri Aurobindo. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram still operates from Puducherry.

Puducherry was the setting for the first third of the Booker prize-winning novel Life of Pi by Yann Martel. A portion of the subsequent movie version was filmed there.[8]

Lee Langley's novel A House in Pondicherry was set there.

"Prince Pondicherry" is an Indian character from Roald Dahl's novel Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. The prince orders Willy Wonka to build a palace of chocolate in India, which then melts in the hot sun.

It is the place where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother chose to stay. Their writings remain a tremendous source of spiritual awakening that emphasises the progress of humanity and its spiritual brotherhood. A unique experimental city, Auroville, the brainchild of the Mother, whose inhabitants are drawn from all parts of the world, is situated on the outskirts of the city. Puducherry, which still carries several marks of French culture and heritage, was also the place where the national poet Shri Subramania Bharathiar wrote several of his masterpieces that fanned the flames of freedom and also enriched modern Tamil literature. Bharathidasan, a staunch disciple of Subramania Bharathiar, whose poems stressed social revolution and emancipation of women, was also an eminent son of Puducherry.

Economy[edit]

The Promenade in the main town Puducherry is one of the most popular tourist attractions of the Union Territory

Output[edit]

The gross state domestic product of Puducherry, at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian rupees grew from 1,840 to 37,810 million rupees from 1980- 2000.

Year Gross State Domestic Product
1980 1,840
1985 3,420
1990 6,030
1995 13,200
2000 37,810

Puducherry's gross state domestic product for 2004 was estimated at $2 billion in current prices.

Fisheries[edit]

The potential for fisheries is substantial in the Union Territory. The four regions of the Union Territory have a coastline of 45 km with 675 of inshore waters, 1.347 hectares (3.33 acres) of inland water and 800 ha of brackish water. 27 marine fishing villages and 23 inland fishing villages host a fishermen population of about 65,000 of which 13,000 are actively engaged in fishing. Tanks and ponds are also tapped for commercial fish rearing.

Power[edit]

The present availability of power is about 400 MW.

Tourism[edit]

Main article: Tourism in Puducherry
Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry

Puducherry is one of the most popular tourist spots for national and international tourists. There are several beaches here. There is also Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where Sri Aurobindo spent his last years. There are several temples,churches,monuments, parks and mosques which attract tourists.

Transport[edit]

Rail[edit]

Puducherry is connected by a railway branch line from the five-way junction at Viluppuram and Chennai. The railway line is a broad gauge line. Express trains come from Chennai, Bangalore, Viluppuram, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Howrah and other cities. It takes approximately four hours to reach Puducherry from Chennai by train.

A new broad gauge line from Karaikal to Nagore is underway.

Road[edit]

Puducherry is endowed with excellent infrastructure on par with India's best. A network of all weather metalled roads connecting every village exists in the territory. Puducherry has a road length of 2552 km (road length per 4.87 km²), the highest in the country.

Road length comparison with Tamil Nadu and India as a whole
Total Road Length (in Puducherry) 2552 km.
Road Length per 1000 km². Puducherry Tamil Nadu India
4575 1572 663
Classification of roads
Sl. No. Type of road Length in

(km)

1

National Highways

64.450

2

State Highways

49.304

3

District & Other Roads

 
 

Puducherry – 173.384

 
 

Karaikal – 55.162

 
 

Mahé – 19.622

 
 

Yanam – 26.460

 
 

274.628

274.628

4

Rural Roads

 

Puducherry – 164.964

 
 

Karaikal – 83.470

 
 

248.434

248.434

 

Grand Total

636.816

Air[edit]

  • Pondicherry Airport is situated at Lawspet. The Puducherry Government upgraded the airport in 2012[9] with a new terminal building and apron to accommodate larger aircraft. The new terminal building was inaugurated in January 2013 and scheduled flights to Bangalore were launched.[10] A MoU has been signed with Airports Authority of India for expansion of Pondicherry Airport in two phases.[11]
  • Karaikal Airport, a greenfield airport to be ready by 2014, will be the India's first airport to be built entirely with private capital.[12]

Education[edit]

Puducherry has almost a hundred per cent literacy level.[citation needed]

Pondicherry University[edit]

Pondicherry University is a Central University.[13]

Colleges[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Press Release" (Press release). Government of Puducherry Directorate of Information Technology. 11 February 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "NIC Puducherry". Pon.nic.in. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "South Asia | New name for old French territory". BBC News. 20 September 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "National : Bill to rename Pondicherry as Puducherry passed". The Hindu. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  5. ^ The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century. Kessinger Publishing. July 2007. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-548-20943-1. 
  6. ^ Le français restera langue officielle des Établissements aussi longtemps que les représentants élus de la population n'auront pas pris une décision différente [French version)]
  7. ^ "Tamil Nadu News : Puducherry comes out with list of State symbols". The Hindu. 21 April 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Filming Locations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Flight operations await new terminal". IBN Live. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "First flight to Puducherry from Bangalore on January 17". Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Puducherry airport to go on stream in October". The Economic Times. 3 September 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Coimbatore firm to build India's first private airport in Karaikal". The Times of India. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Pondicherry University". Pondicherry University. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Welcome to Aarupadai Veedu Medical College and Hospitals, Puducherry". Avmcpondy.com. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Acharya Engineering College". Acharya Engineering College. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  16. ^ "Mother Theresa Post Graduate And Research Institute Of Health Sciences, Puducherry". Mtihs.puducherry.gov.in. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Orient Flight School". Orientflights.com. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Welcome to the Website of PKIET". Pkiet.edu.in. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 

External links[edit]