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General Information & Maps

Location: The Union Territory of Pondicherry is constituted out of the four erstwhile French settlements of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam regions. Pondicherry is located 160 Kms. south of Chennai and is surrounded by Cudallore and Villupuram districts of Tamilnadu. Karaikal lies about 150 Kms. south of Pondicherry and is located within Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu. Mahe region is located on the Kerala coast and lies on the borders of Kozhikode and Kannoor districts of Kerala. Yanam is on the banks of the river Goringa Godavari and is situated within the east Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

Capital: Pondicherry (492 Sq. Km.). Pondicherry can be reached from Chennai within three hours by road or by metre gauge railway trains. Chennai is the nearest airport to Pondicherry. Karaikal is four hours drive from Tiruchirapalli airport and the nearest rail head is Nagoor. The Calicut (Khozhikode) airport is two and a half hours drive from Mahe and is located on Thiruvananthapuram - Mangalore railway line. The nearest rail head for Yanam is Kakinada which is only an hour drive from Yanam. The nearest airport is Vishakapattinam and is four hours drive from there.

History: As a consequence of bitter Anglo-French rivalry on the Indian sub-continent the French were driven to five small settlements on the Coromandel and Arabian sea coast by the end of 18th century. They were Chandranagoor (presently in West Bengal), Pondicherry, Karaikal and Yanam on the Coromandel coast and Mahe on the west coast of India. Pondicherry was the headquarters of the French settlements in India.

By the beginning of 19th century, the French had lost all its hopes of any kind of territorial expansion and they were reconciled to these tiny and scattered settlements. Unlike rest of India, Pondicherry got its independence only in the year 1954 and the de facto merger with rest of India took place on 1st November , 1954. The de-jure de merger took place on 16th August, 1963. Eventhough, independence was given to Pondicherry in the year 1954 itself, the Treaty of Cession signed between India and France regarding independence of Pondicherry had to ratified by the French as well as the Indian parliaments for which certain amount of time had to be set apart. Hence de-jure and de-facto transfer of power.

It was in the year 1963 that the Government of India decided to confer Union Territory status to Pondicherry by an enactment of the Parliament-"The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963" which provided for legislative assemblies and council of ministers in the Union Territories. The Union Territory of Pondicherry is administered in accordance with this act. Before the Union Territory status was granted to Pondicherry, the wishes of the people were ascertained regarding maintaining their distinct identity or for merging with the neighbouring states. Chandranagoor alone opted for merger with West Bengal. The other four enclaves wanted to be a Union Territory. According to the Indo French Treaty, the people were given the option to retain their French citizenship or to be an Indian citizen. Such of those who opted for French citizenship were allowed to reside within the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Today, there are approximately 10000 French citizens of Indian origin residing within the Union Territory of Pondicherry. They regularly exercise their franchise during election to the French Parliament and the French government sets up polling booth for the benefits of their citizens within Pondicherry.

Area and Population: The Union Territory of Pondicherry is comprised in 480 sq.km. area with Pondicherry region alone accounting for 290 sq.km., Karaikal with 161 sq.km., Mahe in 9 sq.km. and Yanam in 20 sq.km. According to 2011 census the population of Pondicherry was 12,44,464 out of which 6,10,485 number were males and 6,33,979 were females. The Karaikal region is 150 Km away from Pondicherry, Yanam about 840 Km north east of Pondicherry and Mahe is 653 Km west of Pondicherry. Tamil is spoken in Pondicherry and Karaikal, Malayalam in Mahe and Telugu in Yanam. There are number of peoples who also speak French. Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, English and French are the official languages of the Union Territory of Pondicherry.

Post Independent Electoral Politics: According to Government of Union Territories Act, the whole of Pondicherry is comprised in one singe parliamentary constituency (Lok Sabha). Pondicherry also enjoys one seat in the Rajya Sabha. There is a uni-cameral legislature for the U.T. with 30 elected members and three nominated members. The first election to the Lok Sabha for the sole parliamentary constituency was held in the year 1963 after the de-jure merger.


All efforts have been made to make the information as accurate as possible. The Chief Electoral Officer Centre does not warrant that the information contained is complete and correct and shall not be liable whatsoever for any damages incurred as a result of its use. Any discrepancy found may be brought to the notice of
the Chief Electoral Officer.