Puducherry is the Union Territory in the Southern India. It is situated on the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. The Union Teritorry was a French colony for about 200 years and was formerly known as Pondicherry. Today it consists of four unconnected districts: Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahé.
Puducherry is known for French architecture, mustard and white villas, churches, monuments, statues, botanical parks, beaches. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram makes the city an important destination for spiritual seekers.
Puducherry town consists of two parts: the French Quarter (Ville Blanche or White town) and the Indian quarter (Ville Noire or Black Town).
Eight kilometres north-west of the city is an Utopical town Auroville. Also known as the City of Dawn it was created as a universal town where men and women could live in peace and harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The symbol of Auroville is centrally located Matrimandir (a golden metallic sphere).
The major tourist sites in Puducherry include french style Botanical Gardens established, in 1826 with pruned trees, flower beds and gravel lined paths and fountains. The gardens have the light shows in the evenings.
The Puducherry Museum has fine collections of French-era furniture, rare bronzes and stone sculptures from the Pallava and Chola dynasties and coins from once a major seaport Arikamedu.
The city is also famous for its beautiful churches. The Gothic style Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus contains rare stained glass panels depicting events from the life of Christ. The other churches to be visited include the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Eglise de Notre Dame des Anges (The Church of Our Lady of Angels.
Apart from the churches, temples, parks and mosques also attract local and international tourists. The Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple is known for its 40 painted friezes.
The Ousteri Lake is known for a bird sanctuary that is home to a wide range of aquatic species.
Puducherry does not have any traditional handicrafts. The Sri Aurobindo Ashram factory produces candles, incense sticks, handmade paper that makes good souvenirs.
The major festivals include International Yoga Festival – an annual festival which attracts yoga masters from all over India. Workshops, classes, music and dance events are organized at ashrams throughout the city (January); Bastille Day – a festival influenced by French culture is known for number of colorful parades and is celebrated with great zeal in the streets of the city (14 July).
Puducherry’s cuisine has a strong South Indian influence in particularly of Tamil Nadu. Specialties of the region include: coconut curry, idli (savoury cake made of rice), dosa (crepe made from rice batter and black lentils), vada (a savoury doughnut), sambar (lentil based vegetable stew), etc. Puducherry is also known for French and Italian cuisines.
The main language of Puducherry is Tamil (89%). Other spoken languages in the region include Malayalam, Telugu, English, etc.
Puducherry experiences hot and humid climate. The temperature ranges between 29° C (84,2 °F) to 40 °C (104 °F), in the summers (March-July) and 24°C (75,2°F) to 30 °C (86°F) in the winters (November-February). Monsoon rains hit the coast from July to August.
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