Mahé, India

Mahé, India
Mahe മാഹി


—  geographical area  —
Mahe മാഹി
Location of Mahe മാഹി
in Puducherry
Coordinates 11°42′4″N 75°32′12″E / 11.70111°N 75.53667°E / 11.70111; 75.53667Coordinates: 11°42′4″N 75°32′12″E / 11.70111°N 75.53667°E / 11.70111; 75.53667
Country India
Territory Puducherry
District(s) Mahe Sub-division
Assembly constituency 02
Civic agency Mahe Region (Puducherry)


36,823 (approx.) (2001)

872 /km2 (2,258 /sq mi)

Sex ratio 1197 /
Literacy 94.43%% 
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Area 9 square kilometres (3.5 sq mi)

Mahé, (Malayalam: മാഹി) a small town (9 km²) surrounded on all sides by Kerala and is officially a part of Puducherry. The official name of Mahe is Mayyazhi (മയ്യഴി) in the local Malayalam language. The original name of Mahé, Mayyazhi, means "eyebrow of the sea". The Kannur District surrounds Mahe on three sides and calicut district from one side. The nearest airport is Calicut International Airport, Karipur at a distance of 85 km; Kannur Airport under construction is nearing completion at Mattannur at a distance of 40 km. Nearest Railway Station is Mahe where a few local and express trains stop. The nearest major Railway Stations where several long distance trains stop are Thalassery, Kannur and Badagara.

Formerly a French colony, Mahé now forms a municipality in Mahe district of the Union Territory of Puducherry (based on the east coast). Mahé has two members (MLAs) in the Puducherry Legislative Assembly, representing Mahé (E. Valsaraj) and Palloor (A.V. Sreedharan).



As of 2001 India census,[1] Mahé had a population of 36,823, predominantly Malayalis. Males constitute 47% of the population and females 53%. Mahé has an average literacy rate of 85%, higher than the national average of 59.5%, with male literacy at 86% and female literacy at 85%. In Mahé, 11% of the population consists of children under 6 years of age.


The name Mahé originated in honour of Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1699–1753), a key architect of French policy in India. One hypothesis suggests that the form of the word originated from Mayyazhi, which evolved to sound like Mayye, and which the French adopted as "Mahé".

An alternative account suggests that the Count de La Bourdonnais adopted the name of the Indian town as part of his own name, rather than vice versa.


Mahe in 1726. Map made after taking Possession of the place and the war against the Indian king of the region supported by the British.

Before the incursion of European colonial powers into India, this area was part of Kolathu Nadu which comprised Thulunadu, Chirakkal and Kadathanadu.

The French East India Company constructed a fort on the site of Mahé in 1724, in accordance with an accord concluded between André Mollandin and Raja Vazhunnavar of Badagara three years earlier. In 1741, Mahé de La Bourdonnais retook the town after a period of occupation by the Marathas.

On the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, a British force under James Hartley captured Mahé. It was, however, returned to France in 1816, after the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars.

Mayyazhi remained under French jurisdiction as a small French colony, an enclave within British India during its entire existence. After the Independence of India the area continued to be French-ruled until 13 June, 1954, when a long anti-colonial struggle culminated in its joining the Indian Union (see Causes for liberation of French colonies in India).

After the French left, Mahe stood as a Union Territory. Later this became a Sub-Division of Puducherry State. The area of Mahe begins from Mayyazhi puzha in the north to Azhiyoor at the south. In fact the present Mahe entirely is part of North Malabar.

Mahé consists of Mahé town and Naluthara, which includes four villages: Pandakkal, Pallur, Chalakara and Chembra. The ruler of Kingdom of Mysore from the 1760s, Hyder Ali (ca 1722–1782), gifted Naluthara to the French as a token of appreciation for the help they gave in opposing the British.

Education in Mahé


  • Jawaharlal Nehru Govt. Higher Secondary School, Mahé

Jawaharlal Nehru Govt. Higher Secondary School was previously known as La Bourdonnais College, named after the French captain who was instrumental in setting up the French enclave.

  • Govt. Higher Secondary School, Mahé

This school was previously known as Govt. Girls High School. During French rule the name of the school was Ecole de Filles.

  • Govt. Higher Secondary School, Palloor,
  • Govt. High School for Girls, Palloor
  • Govt. Higher Secondary School, Pandakkal
  • Chalakkara High School, Chalakkara
  • Ecole Centrale et Cours Complémentaire, Mahé (French Medium High School)
  • Jawahar Mini BalBhavan Palloor & Mahe
  • HHF international school,chembra,mahe
  • Kendriya vidyalaya chembra,mahe

Many private schools also operate in Mahé. The St. Theresa church, for example, runs Avila School and Sree Narayana School Palloor, St. Theresa School at Chembra, Dr.Ambedkar Public School-Chalakkara, M.M.Nursery and Upper Primer School-Cherukallayi and Eden School, P.K. Raman Memorial School etc....

Mahatma Gandhi Government Arts College

Mahatma Gandhi Government Arts College, the premier college in Mahé, was established in the year 1970, as realisation of the dream project of I. K. Kumaran, the leader of French-Indian Liberation Movement, who was the representative from Mahe to the Legislative assembly. The founder Principal was Prof K.Ravindran.the college was inaugurated on 11 December 1970 by Shri.B.D.Jatti, His Excellency the Lt.Governor of Puducherry.

The college is situated at the picturesque Mount Vera, Chalakkara, a short distance from Mahé Town. Affiliated to Pondicherry University, the college offers undergraduate courses in Malayalam, Hindi, English, Economics, Chemistry, Plant Science, Physics, Computer Science, Zoology and Mathematics. Post-graduate courses in Plant Science and Hindi are also conducted here. the College celebrated the silver jubilee during the academic year 1995-96. the silver jubilee celebrations were inaugurated on 13 th September 1995 by Dr.RajendraKumari Bajpai Her Excellency the Lt.Governor of Puducherry. NAAC team visited the college in February 2009 and accredited the college with "B" Grade.

Mahé Co-operative College of Teacher Education (MCCTE)

This college was established in the academic year 2006 and is run by a Cooperative Society. The President of the society is Mr. E.Valsaraj, Minister for health and education. The MCCIT has one more education institute under it, the Mahé Institute of Information technology (MIIT) that provides IT education to the students. The Principal of the MCCTE is Mr. A.P. Aravindakshan. The College is situated near the famous Mahé church.

Culture and geography

The culture and geography of this area is almost of those in Kerala. The major festival of this region is Vishu. The Mahé Palli (Mahé Church) is a famous pilgrimage centre for Christians. The major languages are Malayalam, Tamil and French.

Mahé, like most union territories in India, has a low taxes on liquor. This makes it a popular destination for people from the neighbouring state of Kerala. Kerala is the state with the highest per capita liquor consumption in India[citation needed] and it has a very high tax on alcohol (around 151%).

Mahé Municipality

Mahé Municipality is the seat of Local Administration in Mahé. Mahé Municipality is in existence 200 years before under the French Regime. Mahé Municipal area comprises 9 km². with two Assembly Constituencies, i.e. Mahé and Palloor. The last Mayor and the first Chairman of this Municipality is Late. V. N. Purushothaman. Municipal Council was not in existence with effect from 1978. Thereafter the Regional Administrator, Mahé / Regional Executive Officer, Mahé used to exercise the power of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman in the capacity of Special Officer of Mahé Municipal Council.

Villages in Mahé Municipality

  1. Mahé Town
  2. Cherukallayi
  3. Chalakkara (part of Naluthara pocket)
  4. Chembra (part of Naluthara pocket)
  5. Palloor (part of Naluthara pocket)
  6. Pandakkal (part of Naluthara pocket)

Present Wards of Mahé Municipality

Mahé Municipality consists of 15 wards. They are:

Naluthara Pocket

  1. Pandakkal North
  2. Pandakkal Central
  3. Pandakkal South
  4. Palloor North-East
  5. Palloor North-West
  6. Palloor South-West
  7. Palloor South-East
  8. Chalakkara North
  9. Chalakkara South

Cherukallayi Pocket

  1. Cherukallayi

Mahé Pocket

  1. Mundock
  2. Manjakkal
  3. Choodikotta
  4. Parakkal
  5. Valavil

Civic elections were held during 2006 after nearly 30 years. Based on the elections, the Chairman and fifteen councilors of Mahé Municipality were sworn in.


  • Mahe Sub Office (Dist: Kozhikode) - 673310
  • Naluthara Branch Office (Dist: Mahe) - 673320
  • Pallur Branch Office (Dist: Mahe) - 673333
  • Pandakkal Branch Office (Dist: Pondicherry) - 673310

Famous & Popular People

  • I. K. Kumaran, Leader of French Indian Liberation Movement (Mahe Mahajana Sabha party), known as Mayyazhi Gandhi, and the first Administrator of free Mahé.
  • Pondayat Anandan Nair, Notary Public and Senior Advocate, the intellectual face of Mahe Freedom struggle, the chief organizer and leader of freedom struggle, recipient of THAMRAPATRA, leader of Mahe Mahajana Sabha
  • N V Chakrapani, Deputy mayor Mahe,Notary Public and President Bar association.
  • P. Kumaran, Close associate of I.K. Kumaran. He was a founding member and vice-President of the Mahe Mahajana Sabha party during freedom struggle , recipient of TAMRAPATHRA. Later worked with Jayprakash Narayan during the emergency.
  • C. E. Barathan, Secretary of Mahe Mahajana Sabha. He was elected to the Puducherry Legislative Assembly after independence in 1954 and became a Minister in Goubert's first ministry in Puducherry.
  • P.K.Raman,leader of the French Indian Liberation movement and treasure of the first independent Mahe, former MLA and recipient of TAMRAPATHRA, Founder of Sree Krishna Bhajana Samithi and Sree Krishna Temple, Mahe
  • M. Night Shyamalan, filmmaker and script writer.
  • M.Mukundan, Malayalam novelist and fiction writer.
  • M.Raghavan Novelist and short story writer, recipient of Malayala Rathna Award for his contributions to Malayalam language and literature.
  • Paleri Damu Master  :He was the first president of Alliance France for long time and former principal of Govt. college Mahe
  • P.K.Usman Master , Leader of French Indian Liberation, He was in Jail for long time, and he got brutally punished from French Police, there is school at Chalakkara on his memory
  • K Govindan Master(Malayalam Pandit, Panoor High School), Freedom Fighter and part of freedom movements against British & French.
  • Prof. K. Ravindran, Founder principal of Mahatma Gandhi Government Arts College, Mahe and served as Principal of Tagore Arts College, Pondicherry.
  • Adiyeri Gangadharan, Malayalam Poet, Writer, Editor of Mahe books, Publisher& Editor of Bharatha Desom Magazine, Recipient of the Puducherry Government's Malayala Ratna Award 2007 [2] for his contribution to Malayalam literature & Former Municipal Commissioner.
  • K.E.Moidu,Former Mahe Pradesh Congress President
  • Mayalackara Abdul Rahiman Master
  • K P Hassan Haji(JDT),Social worker,Scout Commissioner


  • The Saint Theresa Roman Catholic Church in Mahé is known in the region. The Annual festival, is conducted by the church between the 5th and 22 October every year.
  • Puthalam, a temple in Mahé. Is known for its Theyyam.
  • Tagore Park
  • Mahé Walkway
  • Water Sports Complex popularly known as Boat House situated at Manjakkal is one of the major attractions of Mahé.

See also


External links

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