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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
French street signs..



Ladies and Gentle man's toilet


Auroville..



Along India's southern coasts are several places with an intriguing name. That name is Pondicherry. Its origin is from the Tamil language. Putu (new) Ceri (village). (Pronunciation: pon-di-cher-E)

Pondicherry consists of four enclaves of former French India. Today they are part of a small Union Territory of India, and many maps carry the name Pondicherry under each of them. The area of all four enclaves is approximately 190 square miles (73 km2). The capital is Pondicherry Town located in the state of Tamil Nadu. Population is approximately 1 million. The only unifying factor for the enclaves is the Hindu religion. Industries include agriculture, food processing, textiles, handicrafts and tourism. The enclaves were given to India in 1956, but formal acceptance took until 1962. Today, they are governed by the Central Government of India, though it has been suggested that they become parts of the states which surround them.

Pondicherry Town, nicknamed "Pondy", is the former chief settlement of France in India. Karichal is also on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal as is Yanaon, an enclave in Andhra Pradesh. Mahe is located in the Malabar Coast of the Arabian Sea. All are highly regarded resort areas today. Until 1949 Chandannaga, a town near Calcutta, was under French control as well. It is now part of the state of West Bengal.

Pondicherry was founded in 1675 as a trade center. The land was purchased from a local ruler. Legend associates Pondy with sage Agastya who came here from the north, and was once called Vedapuri and the seat of Vedic culture. A nearby archeological site at Arikamedu suggests trade between India and Rome and Greece existed in the period of 100 BCE and 100 CE. Today, Pondicherry remains a seaport, seaside resort and tourist center. However, the main focus is the Ashram (religious retreat) of Sri Aurobindo and Auroville. The Ashram was founded in 1926. Sri Aurobindo was a "Great seer, poet and prophet of the20th Century", who used yoga as a means to peace, tranquility, and insight. He is also credited with assisting in inspiring India's independence. Nearby Auroville was founded in 1968 as a place where all races, religions, and cultures may live in peace and harmony. Guest houses at the Ashram encourage visitors to stay at this interactive place of enlightenment.

The French influence continues to this day. Examples include the oval shaped city center with right-angled street intersections, and the boulevard that encircles the main part of town, architecture of the 18th and 19th century Christian churches and public buildings, a promenade along the beach, and even a statue of Joan of Arc. Viewed from the sea, the skyline is typical of that of a French Mediterranean village. The hallmark of Pondicherry is the flat-topped cylindrical red kepi -- a hat worn by the police.

Tourism is being developed and encouraged. Various attractions include the religious sites of the Ashram of Aurobindo and Auroville, the beach and promenade, and even a statue of Mahatma Ghandi.

The climate is tropical - which means hot and humid. The monsoon is active in this part of India from October through December. The southwest monsoon that deluges western India may produce only a few scattered showers here. The warmest part of the year is the April-August period when temperature may hit 43°C! Average temperatures are much lower with 24°C typical of January and 30°C for June.

Investors and entrepreneurs are being encouraged with the need for additional hotel space, theme parks, golf courses, new industrial parks and improved transportation services. Incentives in the form of low interest loans and tax benefits are part of the plan.

The French have a saying: "The more things change the more they stay the same" - and this could be somewhat the case for Pondicherry!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Church with glass painting


Light house



pondy police still wearing french costumes .The Indian police of Pondicherry have kept their red kepis (caps) as if they're ready to join the French Foreign Legion
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The French part of the town was built along the sea on sand dunes. It is characterised by long wide streets with stately colonial style buildings. The residential buildings are comparatively simple, solid and varied. They have flat roofs, an inner courtyard with garden and collonaded porticos have a double function of protecting from sun and rain, and serving as a transition space to the rest of the house. The public buildings usually are surrounded by a large fenced-in compound. At times French models were used, which were adapted to suit local conditions. These buildings often have a impressive stair to an elevated groundfloor and a collonaded facade.


Architectural features.
The street facades are usually characterized by continuous wall to wall construction with high garden walls and elaborate gates. The Facades are divided into smaller panels by use of vertical pilasters and horizontal cornices. The windows are usually arched and have wooden louvers shutters. The balconies are often built over iron brackets. Parapets are simple and feature at times terracotta pot designs.
High ceilings and tall arched doors and windows with louvres dominate the space inside the houses. Floors are of polished and coloured cement or tiled. Coloured Belgian glass is set in the arched wooden frames above doors and porticos.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally the native Tamil town developed around the nucleus of a group of temples in the northern section and the streets were laid in an east-west direction. The row houses along these streets stood back-to-back. These streetscapes with continuous wall-to-wall construction vary much in character with that of the French. Their exterior facades often feature a street veranda with platform and lean-to-roof over wooden posts - the thalvaram, a social extension of the house - and a semi-public portico - the thinnai - supported by round wooden pillars with masonry benches for visitors. These "talking-streets", so-called because of their intimate scale and interactive nature are typical of the vernacular Tamil architecture and the entire street stretch is homogeneous because of connecting elements like lean-to-roofs, cornices (horizontals), pilasters and engaged columns (verticals) and ornamental parapets defining the skyline.

The thinnai (portico) marks the sensitive transition space after which the house is entered through a finely carved wooden door and once inside, the open courtyard - mutram - becomes the central space around which the various other spaces are functionally arranged. The open mutram is flanked by a covered space on one side (or on both sides) with wooden columns usually meant for an interaction among the family or with intimate guests. The rear courtyard in immediate proximity to the kitchen is reserved for services and utilities.

Usually within the intimate fabric of the Tamil town an interesting morphology of built-form is observed ranging from the simple country tiled single storied houses of the old Hindu quarters to the two storied houses with considerable colonial influence of the later Hindu and Christian quarters to the more elaborately detailed houses of the Muslim quarters.

On the whole, a conspicuous synthesis of two varying styles is evident, especially in the case of two storied Tamil buildings where the ground floor is usually of the Tamil type with thinnai, thalvaram and carved doors, while the first floor displays French influence showing pilasters, columns with capitals, arched windows, plaster decorations and end-ornament elements. In French buildings the local influence is obvious in the use of madras terrace flat roofs, wooden balconies and sloping tiled roofs.

It is a result of this cross-influence of building patterns that gives the old town its distinct architectural vocabulary, which can be termed "Pondicherry-ness
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

citizens of pondicherry have french passport...and they even vote for france presidential election...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My native is pondicherry, i know very well..though i dont have a french passport, but most of my relatives do have french passport.

If you walked the streets of Pondicherry, an administrative division of India, you will probably see quite a few French citizens. You will see French citizens who have never been to or seen France. How did that happen? Well, Pondicherry was a French colony until 1954. When the French left Pondicherry, they offered the citizens of Pondicherry a choice of whether they wanted to become an Indian citizen or stay a French citizen. Though most became Indian citizens, quite a few chose to stay French. They became French even though they have never seen France and it didn't even necessiate their moving to France. A person born into a household of French citizen is also a French citizen. They are eligible for French social security and such French luxuries from the government even though they live a few thousand miles from France. They get to vote in French elections. The biggest advantage though is societal. The best Indian women or men in Pondicherry choose the French as spouses as that is the only way to become French citizens if not being born into it.
 

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Yes . I guess there are about 10,000 French nationals of local origin in Pondichery not forgeting Karaikkal Yanam and Mahe which also fall under the same union territory.
 

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kronik said:
Wow, this is something new to know!

So in a way, colonialism is still alive in the country?
Why is it colonialism ? It is only fair for a country that has ruled over a terrotory for a while to give the natives an option. How about those Ponidicherians who faught for the French army, or took part in ther administrative work ? They deserve to be given that option. It was after all for the natives of Pondichery to decide which way they went.. somehow some of them opted to be French :(

However how about the Indian migrants to the West Indies, Mauritius and Fiji then ? What was their state when the British left ? were they given an option as well between Indian the local country and Britain ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
well said fusionist...
i say french were better than british...
those pondicherians who worked for french govt are still getting french pension as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
i am posting some of my photos....
Auroville during construction(2000)


Gandhi Statue-pondy beach


Memorial


 

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Fusionist said:
Why is it colonialism ? It is only fair for a country that has ruled over a terrotory for a while to give the natives an option. How about those Ponidicherians who faught for the French army, or took part in ther administrative work ? They deserve to be given that option. It was after all for the natives of Pondichery to decide which way they went.. somehow some of them opted to be French :(

However how about the Indian migrants to the West Indies, Mauritius and Fiji then ? What was their state when the British left ? were they given an option as well between Indian the local country and Britain ?

Just like the British giving the option to millions of Indians to move to Britain?

There were thousands and thousands of Indians employed in the Indian bureaucracy and Military and para-military forces too!

But i guess i agree with you, if they want to remain colonial subjects, good for them. I would really like to know the Government of India's stand on this though.
How is it that these people have lived on Indian soil yet get perks from the French. It is like a perennial political asylum, outside the bounds of the French Embassy.
 
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