Puducherry is also known as Pondicherry in English and is one of India’s official Union Territories. In fact, it was known by this English name until 2006. It is made up of four regions, none of which is physically connected to another. These regions are Puducherry (the largest of the regions), Karaikal, Yanam and Mahé. Yanam is situated right on the Bay of Bengal and Mahé is on the shores of the luminous green Arabian Sea. The Union Territory of Puducherry has achieved particular acclaim for its many superior educational institutions, including eight medical colleges, 10 engineering colleges, a veterinary college and an agricultural college.

Generally speaking, Poduke and Puducherry are considered to refer to the same area by many historians. Therefore, historical records of Poduke are assumed to refer to this modern-day Union Territory. However, there are still disputes and doubts around this theory. In the mid-1700’s, the French gained control over this area. Their control lasted for 30 years, despite attacks from the British in various attempts to take over the rule. The French influences over the area were manifold during that time, and there still exists evidence of these inspirations in various aspects of the modern Puducherry culture, architecture, art and even physical the layout of the town. The British finally succeeded in gaining control in 1793, but the area was returned to the French just 23 years later. The French dominated the region until as late as 1954.

The official languages of this Indian Union Territory are French, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. Each language’s use and popularity varies in each of the four parts of Puducherry. However, Tamil is by far the language spoken by the majority of the residents, with approximately 90% opting for this tongue.

Hardware for computers is a major source of income for Puducherry. However, fishing, manufacture, agriculture and railway development all play an integral role in the economic growth and success of Puducherry. Farming yields rice, pulses, sugar cane, coconuts and cotton as its main crops.

This Union Territory boasts spectacular beaches that are sure to bring out the laziness in any visitor as they lure one to lie on the white sands and soak up the subtropical warmth. Between April and August, summer highs can exceed 40 degrees Celsius, so tourists will need the cool ocean water to refresh their bodies. Animals comprise mainly of cattle and other farming beasts, while plants are limited to coastal species. In this way, Puducherry has a very different natural offering from the other lush, arid or mountainous states of India.

Tourist attractions that are recommended include:

• The churches dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries
• The Statue of Gandhi
• The French War Memorial
• The French Institute of Pondicherry at Saint-Louis Street
• The Botanical Gardens
• The Aameeswarar Temple
• The Ther Thiruvizha (Car Festival)
• Draksharamam (one of the oldest temples in the whole of India)
• The Historic Church (a Catholic church built by French missionaries in 1846)

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