Old Pondicherry (1673-1824) revisited

Based on Dutch maps preserved in the National Archives at The Hague, Netherlands (Collection Leupe) and the unique collection of maps and plans preserved in the Centre des Archives d’Outre-Mer, Aix-en-Provence, France, a comprehensive picture of the Urban Development of Pondicherry from 1673 to 1824 is presented in this exhibition.

In 9 colour panels the different stages of the evolution of the town are shown : first, the origins of the settlement and particularly the planning of a new city by the Dutch in 1694 ; then, the urban expansion towards the south-west and the defensive work from 1700 to 1761, when it was the capital of a potential empire ; also the urban fabric and the major constructions, including the magnificent Dupleix’s palace, during the same period.

The next ones show the reconstruction of the town after the disaster of 1761 with several plans of the new buildings ; then, the Register of land in the White town in 1777 indicating the distribution of the properties and of the population ; finally, the disastrous situation of the outer fortifications from 1761 to 1825, their destruction and the layout of boulevards around the town: the urban development of Old Pondicherry was thus achieved.

The last two panels present two magnificent mansions of this period which have been maintained to the present day: the first is a French house (Hôtel Lagrenée de Mézières), the second, an Indian one (Ananda Ranga Pillai mansion).

Conceived & Realised by

Jean Deloche, EFEO
Map Composition: Mouhammadou Rabit, IFP
Poster Design: N. Ravichandran, IFP


French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP)
Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient (EFEO)
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)
Centre des Archives d’Outre-Mer, Aix-en-Provence, France (CAOM)


French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP)
Exhibition Gallery
11, Saint Louis Street
Pondicherry - 605 001

List of Panels

  • Panel 1: Old Pondicherry (1673-1824) Revisited
  • Panel 2: Origins of the Urban Development of Pondicherry
  • Panel 3: Pondicherry 1700-1761 - Urban Expansion and Defensive Works
  • Panel 4: Pondicherry 1700-1761 - Urban Fabric and Major Constructions
  • Panel 5: Pondicherry 1761-1778 - Reconstruction of the Town Public buildings
  • Panel 6: Pondicherry 1777-1778 - The White Town - Population and Private Buildings
  • Panel 7: Pondicherry 1761-1825 - Outer Fortifications and Boulevards
  • Panel 8: 18th-Century French Building - Hôtel Lagrenée de Mézières
  • Panel 9: 18th-Century Tamil Building - Ananda Ranga Pillai Mansion