Pondicherry is affectionately known as Pondy, and has been officially known by the alternative name Puducherry since 2006. It is a blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture, virgin beaches and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied city. Pondicherry was designed on the French grid pattern and features neat sectors and perpendicular streets.
Auroville — an ashram named after Sri Aurobindo — is situated in Tamil Nadu just near to Pondicherry. Auroville also has its origins in the French language, “aurore” meaning dawn and “ville” meaning city. It was founded as a project of Sri Aurobindo Society on Wednesday 28 February 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, “The Mother”, a disciple of Sri Aurobindo.