Explore PONDICHERRY Fact Sheet
Official languages of government
The official languages of Puducherry are Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and French. The status of each language varies with respect to each district. When communicating between districts of different languages, generally English is used for convenience.
1. Tamil: Language used by the people in the Tamil majority districts of Puducherry and Karaikal. Also the official language in Tamil Nadu state and a co-official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore. The language is also spoken in Malaysia and Mauritius.
2. Telugu: Another official language of Puducherry, but used more within Yanam (Telugu district). So, more correctly, it is considered a regional official language of Puducherry while being the official language of Yanam District. It also has an official language status in the state of Andhra Pradesh. And is spoken widely in Puducherry and Karaikal also.
3. Malayalam: Another official language of Puducherry, but used more within Mahé (Malayalam district). So, more correctly, it is considered a regional official language of Puducherry while being the official language of Mahé District. It also has an official language status in Kerala State and Lakshadweep Islands Union Territory.
4. French: Also the official language of Puducherry Union territory. It was the official language of French India (1673-1954) and its official language status was preserved by the Treaty of Cession signed by India and France on 28 May 1956.
French remained as the de jure official language of Puducherry U.T by the Article XXVIII of Traité de Cession which states that, 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) 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)
The capital city of this union territory is Pondicherry. It covers a total land area of 492 Square Kilometers. The population of this town is 9,73,829. The best season to visit Pondicherry is between July and February. This town is connected by airways, by railways, and by roadways. Pondicherry is a peaceful city. Pondicherry is referred by names such as ‘Quintessence of French Culture’, ‘India’s Little France’ and ‘The French Riviera of the East’. This territory was under the French rule for nearly 281 years. Still it has the French flavor in it as one can see by the grand colonial mansions, beautiful boulevards, and placid promenades, spellings on sign boards and buildings, names of roads and public places.
Pondicherry is a well planned and well built town. This is a typical example as one can learn the way the French people gave importance to order and flair. They are known for their rich and quality living. The French too had an eye on the wealth and the fertility of India. Thus the French dream of Indian empire began and got over by establishing their supremacy in Pondicherry. The French constructed many buildings based on their craft and grand architecture. They developed an oval shaped, lovely ‘boulevard town’ – the French quarter. This French quarter was laid out in a geometric grid pattern with straight roads intersecting at right angles. A boulevard encircled the town and a grand canal, divided it into two sections- one the Tamil side called as Ville Noire or the black town and the other, a European side which was known as Ville Blanche or the white town. The impressive Ville Blanche or white town resembles a typical Medieval French township clotted with fine built monuments, government buildings, majestic mansions, elegant churches and lush green parks.
Pondicherry - Its uniqueness
This unique union territory, Pondicherry comprises of four scattered coastal enclaves-
- Pondicherry now called as Puduchery.
- Karaikal which is in Tamilnadu,
- Yanam in Andhra Pradesh
- Mahe in Kerala which lies on the west coast.
These places have preserved the French heritage and its cultural aspects which are unique in India. Pondicherry is a combination of cultures. The people here speak about 55 languages. The natural beauty mesmerizes and influences the visitors. People who love to go for shopping can select Pondicherry as goods in this town can be bought for cheaper prices and the shoppers can bargain and pay the minimal charges for goods to their satisfaction. The golden sea shores, the exclusive sunset cruises, the enchanting moonlit dinners and the blissful lagoons have given the Puduche a reputation of being the most appropriate place for those in quest of a relaxed and leisurely holiday. Bicycle is the best mode of transport for moving around and visiting the beauty of Pondicherry.
Pondicherry is a town that is an amalgamation of a lot of cultures. From being an ancient fishing town to being the capital of the French colonies, Pondicherry has come a long way. The cultural blend can be noticed in the cuisine of the place as well.
Pondicherry has predominantly the Tamil cuisine – in its Vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes. The typical Tamil food like Dosas and Idlis are very popular among the locals and the tourists. Similarly the Chettinad style of cooking mainly in the Non vegetarian preparations is loved by all.
The French influence in the town combined with the presence of a lot of French citizens has brought in a lot of French influences in the cuisine. There are a lot of restaurants and eateries specializing in the French cuisine.
The influx of a lot of tourists in to this coastal and spiritual town necessitated the need for bringing about more variety in the cuisine. The present day Pondicherry offers a cuisine suited for all palettes. It has eateries that shell out dishes in the Oriental, Continental and other World cuisines.
There are a huge number of restaurants and eateries to suit all palettes and budgets. These eateries have evolved with the kind of customers they get and leave no tourist disappointed with the variety of food they offer.
Pondicherry is a mixed bag of several cultures. The spirit of Pondicherry is derived from its past history. Pondicherry had been a part of several empires. From being a Roman trade centre to being a part of the Chola and Vijayanagar empires and the finally being a French colony, Pondicherry has evolved tremendously. The Present day Pondicherry is known for its spiritual existence; courtesy the Aurbindo Ashram and Auroville.
The town of Pondicherry has people following the religions of Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. The worship places of all these religions are found in abundance. The town is marked with festivities which includes religious festivals of each Faith. They are carried out with a lot of devotion and harmony. Fairs and festivals pertaining to other aspects like cultural and gourmet have become a tradition of the inhabitants here. These Fairs and festivals are an integral part of the culture of Ponchicherry
Pondicherry Fairs & Festivals
Fairs and Festivals are part of Pondicherry culture. Festivals are conducted with a lot of enthusiasm and fervor. Festivals are of various kinds. In Pondicherry you can witness festivals of religious significance, cultural festivals and also food festivals.
Some of the important festivals celebrated in Pondicherry include the likes of Pongal, Masimagam Festival and Villianur Temple car festival.
These are all festivals associated with the respective temple traditions and are mainly celebrated by the Hindus. The tourists are attracted to these colorful events.
The Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14 and Pondicherry witnesses the Indo French Pageantry.
Pondicherry calendar has festivals galore.
New Year’s Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm.
The Republic Day follows soon.
The festivals are similar to the South Indian calendar of festivals, which include Bakrid, Good Friday, Summer festival, Sri Aurbindo’s birth anniversary, Navaratri, Deepawali, Christmas etc. Vinayaka Chaturthi, Vijaadashami are also celebrated with equal fervor.
The International Yoga Festival which is integral to Pondicherry is celebrated usually during January .This festival also witnesses demonstration of several classical Indian Dance and art forms. The Festival of Pondicherry is celebrated and it coincides with the Independence Day and a lot of cultural presentations and fete can be witnessed during this time. Food Festivals pertaining to various cuisines are conducted from time.