Karaikal is on the east coast about 140 kms south of pondicherry and 300 kms south of chennai(MADRAS) located on the coramandel coast of the Bay of Bengal. The district is situated in more or less a flat land. There are no hills or forest in this district. This district consists of almost entirely coastal alluvial soil which is highly suitable for cultivation of paddy and pulses. The total geographical rural area of the district is 14035.56 hectares from which 84.92 % is cultivable and from total cultivable area 82,81 % is irrigated. Pulses, cotton, chilies, coconuts, ground nuts, vegetables and sun flower are the popular items grown in the district. Karaikal is well connected to important centres like Chidambaram, Tiruchirapalli, Velankanni and Thanjavur. There are a good number of private carriers as well as public buses that ply frequently in the district. On the full moon day of the Tamil month Masi, the "Masimagam" festival is celebrated on the sea-shore of Karaikal. The Karaikal Ammayar temple festival which also holds the annual "Mangani" festival which is a well attended 'Mela'. One cannot miss the mouth watering sweets famous in the district - the Karaikal halwa and gulabjam. Karaikal is a good fishing centre with the following ten marine fishing villages spread along the coast. They are Mandabathur, Kalikuppam, Akkampettai, Kottucherrymedu, Kasakudymedu, in Karaikal municipal area, Kilinjalmedu, Karaikalmedu, in Tirumalairayam Pathinam commune, Karakalchery in Neravy commune, Keezhaiyur Pattincacherry and North vanjore. Karaikal town is gifted with a sea beach where some people relax. There is also a boat house on the beach road.
Pondicherry and Karaikal lie within the state of Tamil Nadu. Yanam lies within the state of Andhra Pradesh and Mahe within the state of Kerala.
This picturesque little area is bounded on the south-west by the Arabian sea, on the north by river Ponniyar and on the other sides by a stretch of calcareous hills of medium height which are linked to the ghats by a series of wooden hillocks. It is located at a distance of 830 kms from Pondicherry. The district consists of 3 entities viz, Mahe town proper, the small enclave of Kallayi and of Naluthura. Mahe is situated on the Malabar coast. This district is entirely rain fed and is covered by typical red lateriate soil. There is no forest area in this district. The coast line here lies between the richest fishing belt between Ponnani and Mangalore on the west coast. Mahe is at the centre of a prawn grouped which stretch from Quilon to Mangalore. The major marketing centres in and around Mahe are Mahe, cannanore, Kozhikode and Tellicherry. Industrial units have concentration only in Pondicherry and Karaikal. The only large scale industry functioning in this district is the Cannanore spinning and weaving mills.
Yanam is one of the regions in the Union Territory of Pondicherry, which is 870 Kms from it. It is situated on the East Coast of the Indian Peninsula between 16 degrees 42' northern latitude, and between 82 degree 11' Eastern longitude bounded on all sides by the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh State. The town of Yanam lies on the spot where the River Koringa (Atreya) branches off from Gauthami into two parts. The entire region, consisting of Yanam town and six villages is treated as a Muncipality for purposes of local administration. the region which covers an area of 30.0 sq.m has a population of 20,297 according to the 1991 census. The region is bounded on the East and South by river Gowthami Godavari which discharges itself into Bay of bengal after flowing almost 14 kms. towards south east from Yanam.
Nearly 45 per cent of the population of the Union Territory is engaged in agriculture and allied pursuits. Ninety per cent of the cultivated area is irrigated. Paddy is the predominant crop followed by pulses. Mahe region contributes to the plantation wealth of this territory. Crops like coconuts, arcanuts, condiments and spices are grown here. Pulses, groundnut and chillies are the other crops grown in Yanam. During 200-01, 27,972 hectares had been cultivated under rice.
With an investment of over Rs. 1,429 crore, 6.607 industries are providing employment to 77,341 persons as on 31 March 2001. The number of industrial unites registered up to May 2001 is 6,634 units. The total value of production from these industrial units works out to Rs. 9,141.34 core. The industrial units are manufacturing items such as textiles, computers and peripherals, UPS and other electronic products, consumer durables, fast moving consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, leather goods, earth moving equipments, sugar, yarn, spirit, beer, potassium chlorate, rice-bran oil, auto parts, disposable syringes, roofing sheets, washing machines, bio-polymers, steel tubes, LPG cylinders, etc. The export value of various products manufactured by the industries was Rs.307.31 crore during 1999-2000.
Irrigation in Pondicherry is mainly through tanks and tube wells. There are 84 tanks with an ayacut of 6,456 hectare of which two are comparatively bigger (Oustery and Bahour). In addition, there were 84 surface water storage irrigation tanks with a total command area of 6,765 ha, and with a water holding capacity of 46.4 mcm. There were also 140 small tanks for harvesting surface water. The number of bore well has increased to about 7,000 from nearly 1,000 in the early sixties. Nearly 90per cent of the net cropped area is now under irrigation. During 2001-02, 13 tanks have been identified for rehabilitation and community organising works have been completed in 12 tanks.
The power requirements of Pondicherry are met by availing share from the Central generating stations and by purchasing power from neighbouring State Electricity Boards. A combined Cycle Gas Power Plant of 32.5 MW at Karaikal is under operation since January 2000/ The T. R.Pattinam 110/11KV Substation associated with Gas Power Plant was commissioned in July 1997. One 110/22 KV sub-station at Thethampakkam was commissioned on 24 January 2001. A 230 KV line from Neyveli to Bahour was commissioned in June 2001 which is a second source of supply to the 230/110 KV Bahour Auto Sub Station.
The summer runs from March till July. The skies are cloudless and temperatures are soaring upto 40 degrees and beyond in May and June. The monsoon on the west coast brings some relief in July-August with milder temperatures and occassional showers, which may last till October.
The winter starts in November (some years mid-October) and the north-east monsoon cools the days and nights with the rains it brings along. Temperatures hoover around the 30 degrees and the evenings are usually pleasantly cooler. This is the best season in Pondicherry, especially for the foreign visitor.
Seaside resort Pondicherry has a special ambience, not felt anywhere else in India. It is a blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied town. Once a French colony, Pondicherry still has a few French families living there and French is an important language. The French spirit can be discerned in the very layout of the township. Languages spoken in Pondicherry are Tamil, Telugu, Malayam, Hindi, French and English.
How to reach
The best choice for getting to Pondy from Chennai (150 km) and Bangalore (320 km) is by taxi or bus. Buses depart from Chennai at the Tamil Nadu State Express Bus Stand (also known as the Thiruvalluvur Bus Stand) at Parry's Corner on a regular basis and take about four hours to reach Pondy's bus stand. If you have a choice of buses, the East Coast Road is more scenic than National Highway 45 through Tindivanam.
The train system in Pondicherry is infrequent and slow. The narrow guage track is connected from Pondicherry to Villupuram (36 km) and which inturn connects it to Chennai.
Chennai airport is 135 kms from Pondicherry and flights connect to major cities in India and directly to destinations in Europe, Asian, Middle East and the US. Direct flights from Europe are by British Airways, Lufthansa and Sabena. Other airlines fly to Mumbai (Bombay) and New Delhi and will arrange a connecting domestic flight to Chennai. Air Lanka flies via Colombo. Gulf Air and Saudi Air fly to and from the Middle east. Asia, the Pacific and the US are connected through Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines. It is preferable to come directly to Chennai, if that is the port of landing into India. Transiting through other airports can created problems and delays, especially for a first time traveller to India.
Accessible to major ports like Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin and Vishakapatnam.
Personalities of the land
The unique spiritual charm of the place is enhanced by the fact that it was a home to the great poet Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (whose real name was Mirra Alfassa and she was born in Paris. An accomplished pianist and a painter, she became a follower of Shri Aurobindo and later came to be known as the Mother). The Auroville, with its multinational, multilingual and multicultural population is the realized dream of both these visionaries, to build a universal society living in complete harmony.