Pondicherry - Geography

Geography

Pondicherry consists of four small unconnected districts: Pondicherry, Karaikal and Yanam on the Bay of Bengal and Mahé on the Arabian Sea. Pondicherry and Karaikal are by far the larger ones and are both enclaves of Tamil Nadu. Yanam and Mahé are enclaves of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala respectively. The territory has a total area of 492 km²: Pondicherry 293 km², Karaikal 160 km², Mahé 9 km² and Yanam 30 km². It has the total population of 900,000 inhabitants (2001).

Some of those enclaves are themselves amalgamations of non-contiguous enclaves, often called pockets in India. Thus, Pondicherry district is made of 12 pockets, some of which are very small (see map) and entirely surrounded by the territory of Tamil Nadu. For its part, Mahe district is made of 3 pockets. This unusual geography is a legacy of the colonial period since the U.T. of Pondicherry has retained the borders of former French India.

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