Raj Nivas

This building is erected on the foundations of the Hotel de la Compagnie, which was constructed around 1733; it was called Ancien gouvernment in 1748, then, Logement du gouverneur in 1753 (it is there that the successors of Dupleix stayed until 1761). Destroyed by the British, this edifice, called Hotel du Gouvernement, was rebuilt in 1766-68 by Bourcet; in 1820, it was ruined again; it was restored by Spinasse. Since then it has undergone several modifications but without changing the general plan of the mansion.

The Government House (Raj Nivas) is a harmonious blend of French and Indian style architecture. It was once the location of the Hotel de la Compagnie (the French trading company that ruled in Puducherry from its first settlement in 1674 until the French government took over in 1769) and later played host to Dupleix. It is now the Lieutenant Governor’s residence. It is not open to the general public except on certain national holidays like Republic Day on 26th January, when it is adorned with lights and looks rather impressive. One can however get a glimpse of the grandeur within, through the tall imposing gates which are guarded by red ‘kepi’ adorning police guards.

The Place Du Gouvernement is a brilliant example of town planning in Pondicherry. Comprising the 18th century “Palais Du Government” – now the ‘Raj Nivas’ – and the old tribunals – now housing the Legislative Assembly – along with a neat three-sided line-up of other handsome buildings.

At the centre, surrounded by a well-tended garden, stands the water monument, sculpted to commemorate the introduction of good drinking water for the population. Latin and Tamil inscriptions bear out the story. Some exquisitely carved monolithic pillars, brought to Pondicherry from the Gingee Fort after its capture in 1751, adorn the place.

(The grounds of the Raj Nivas are not open to public except on special days)

Ranga Pillai St, White Town