The history of the city of Pondicherry is recorded only after the arrival of Dutch, Portuguese, British and French colonialists. By contrast, nearby places such as Arikamedu, Ariyankuppam, Kakayanthoppe, Villianur and Bahur, which were annexed by the French East India Company over a period of time and which became the Union Territory of Pondicherry after Independence, have recorded history predating the colonial period.A marketplace named Poduke or Poduca is recorded as a Roman trading destination from the mid 1st century. The area was part of the Pallava Kingdom of Kanchipuram in the 4th century. The Cholas of Thanjavur held it from the 10th to 13th centuries, only to be replaced by the Pandya Kingdom in the 13th century. The Vijayanagar Empire took control of almost all the South of India in the 14th century and maintained control until 1638 when they were supplanted by the Sultan of Bijapur. The French acquired Puducherry in 1674 and held it, with an occasional interruption by the British or Dutch, until 1954 (de jure 1956), when it was incorporated into the Indian Union along with the rest of French India.
The French East India Company established this town as their headquarters in 1674. Five trading posts were established along the South Indian coast between 1668 and 1674. The town was separated by a canal into the French Quarter and the Indian Quarter.
The topography of Pondicherry is the same as that of coastal Tamil Nadu. Pondicherry's average elevation is at sea level, and a number of sea inlets, referred to as "backwaters" can be found. Pondicherry experiences coastal erosion. The city is protected against the sea by a 1.25 mile (2-kilometres) long seawall, first completed by the French in 1735, which reaches a height of 27 feet above sea level. A weather-beaten cement plaque with the year 1952 is still visible along a section of the seawall. The seawall is protected from the direct onslaught of waves by rows of granite boulders which are reinforced every year to stop erosion. Whenever gaps appear or the stones sink into the sand, the Government adds more boulders to keep it strong.
Puducherry is also popular for its eateries that cover a wide variety of cuisines ranging from French, Indian and Italian to Mexican, Thai and Chinese. Some restaurants also serve a unique Indo-French cuisine that gives tourists a taste of Puducherry's colonial influences. Most popular eateries include Baker's Street, The White Town Cafe, Zuka, Carte Blanche and La Maison Rose.
Puducherry Botanical Gardens is located south of the New Bus Stand. Chunnambar Backwater resort is situated 8 km from Pondicherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical resort is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. Boating and tree house are very popular.
Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam on Manakula Vinayagar Street is a Hindu temple, which houses Lord Ganesha. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple was in existence before the French came and settled in Pondicherry i.e. before 1666. According to Sasthra, Lord GANESHA is named in 16 types based on his various forms, out of which this god facing the east coast near the Bay of Bengal was named as Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy, now called as Manakula Vinayagar. In Tamil, 'Manal' means sand and 'Kulam' means pond near the sea. Earlier, there was full of sand around the pond. So, the people called the god as Manal Kulathu Vinayagar [means God near the pond of sand]. Later, it was named as Manakula Vinayagar.