The French acquired Pondicherry in 1674 and held it until 1954. Pondicherry was then incorporated into the Indian Union. The beaches of Pondicherry, the Promenade, the old lighthouse, the old port house on the beach ( now Le’ Cafe ) the old customs House and the French quarters with their tree lined boulevards all add to the beauty and charm of this town. Several scenes in the film ‘Life of Pi’ were shot in Pondicherry.
Pondicherry was ruled by the French at the time when the English ruled the rest of India. This is a quiet port city that still has the the look & feel of a French town. There is a distinct area known as the French Quarters, right next to the beach. The Rue Roman Rolland, the Rue du Bazar Saint Laurent and the Rue Bussy are some of the streets in the French quarters in Pondicherry. The tree lined boulevards and the beautiful shop exteriors are quintessentially French. Pondicherry is also popular for the Aurobindo Ashram, started by Sri Aurobindo. The ashram of Sri Aurobindo was founded by the eponymous guru and his follower, the Mother, in 1926. This is also where Shri Aurobindo and the Mother are laid to rest.The Auroville township ,which is about 10 kms from Pondicherry, was started by the Mother, who was a great devotee of Sri Aurobindo.Pondicherry, as a tourist destination, owes a lot to the Auroville township. Auroville employs people from all over the world.