Pondicherry: French Part of India

Photo of author
Written By Santana

Unveiling India's Treasures from the eyes of an insightful author

Pondicherry: Yes, what the title says is true. There is a part of India where still French people live but the thing is they are Indians. How? Their ancestors from the 1600s were French but they are born in today’s India.

How did this happen? A history

Well, it all started in the 1600s when France became the last major European maritime power to enter India on forming an agreement with the East India Company.

Time passed and even after 60 years, the French did not have a single permanent establishment in the east while the East India Company was expanding its business by multiplying factories on the shores of India through trading posts.

 I am telling you, these British only know how to take advantage, they haven’t left even their business partnered country.  

Well, what happened after that is the French named themselves La Compagniefrançaise des Indesorientales which means the French East India Company.

Beautiful French architecture at Sacred Heart Church church at Podicherry Inia

Their first target was actually not Pondicherry but was Surat. When they reached Pondicherry in 1673, they lost their factories to the British which they had established in other parts of the country and they were left with only Pondicherry.

On reaching Pondicherry, the governor decided to turn this small fishing village into a lavish port town.

Today’s Pondicherry

As the borderline of Pondicherry is merged with Tamil Nadu, one can find a blend of Tamil Pondicherry culture in people.

The place is known for its well-planned architecture and one can find the buildings and places of the French colonial period.

The signboards along can be seen in all three languages ‘Tamil – English – French’. People residing in this town use French as their communication language.

The food of Pondicherry consists of a variety of French dishes (Egg Quiche with Cheese), Tamil dishes, and the dishes that are a blend of both (Tandoori Chicken Crossett). You name it and they will have it.

Let’s start our journey to the place.

How to Reach: 

Pondicherry can be reached both by air and by road.

To reach there, one needs to reach Chennai first and from there, it is a road trip of 135 KMs.

Due to traffic in between, it can take around 3 – 4 hours to cover distance but it will be totally worth it.

A surprising fact is that Pondicherry has so little traffic on the roads that you can have a good walk in the center of the roads.

The local cab will charge around Rs. 2500 – Rs. 3000 for this journey whereas if you take a bus for this road trip then the ticket will be just in a bracket of Rs. 250 – Rs. 300.

Empty bicycle rickshaw in street. Pondicherry, South India
Empty bicycle rickshaw in street. Pondicherry, South India

Places to See:

Auroville Ashram: People come here from all across the world to feel the peace and to see the light show of this place.

Beaches: Pondicherry beach, paradise beach, and serenity beach are a few of the most beautiful beaches of India along the Bay of Bengal.

Arikamedu: This is a gem of a place to be visited. It is an ancient Roman trade center getting eroded with time. People who love to visit historic places should definitely check this place out and a secret about it is that the place holds history from the BC era.

What are you waiting for, let’s go to Pondicherry…

Also Read: Tamil Nadu Cuisine – Top 10 Picks

Leave a Reply