Mahé, natively known as Mayyazhi, is a small town at the mouth of
Mahé River and is surrounded on all sides by the State of Kerala.
Kannur District surrounds Mahé on three sides and Kozhikode
District from one side.
Formerly part of French India, Mahé now forms a municipality in Mahé
district, one of the four districts of the
Union Territory of
Puducherry. Mahé has one member (MLA) in the
2.1 Liberation of Mahe
3.1 Locationwise distribution
9 Notable people
10 In Popular culture
11 See also
12 Image gallery
14 External links
The name Mahé derives from Mayyazhi, the name given to the local
river and region in the
Malayalam language. The original spelling
found on French documents from the early 1720s is Mayé, with Mahé
and Mahié also found on documents, maps and geographical dictionaries
until the early 19th century when the spelling Mahé became the norm.
Therefore, the belief that the name of the town was given in honour of
Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais
Bertrand François Mahé de La Bourdonnais (1699–1753), whose later
fame derived in good part from his association with India, including
his capture of Mayé in 1741, is incorrect.
Another claim that the spelling Mahé was officially adopted by the
leader of the expedition that retook the city in 1726 in recognition
of La Bourdonnais' role at the time is also unlikely. It is
probable that the resemblance of Mayé, not to mention Mahé, with La
Bourdonnais' family name prompted later generations to assume that the
famous Frenchman was somehow directly or indirectly associated with
the name to the town or the spelling of the name.
See also: French India
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
Vatakara three years earlier.
In 1741, Mahé de La Bourdonnais retook the town after a period of
occupation by the Marathas.
In 1761 the British captured Mahé, and the settlement was handed over
to the Rajah of Kadathanadu. The British restored Mahé to the French
as a part of the 1763 Treaty of Paris. In 1779, the Anglo-French war
broke out, resulting in the French loss of Mahé. In 1783, the British
agreed to restore to the French their settlements in India, and Mahé
was handed over to the French in 1785.
Mahé in 1726. Map made after taking possession of the place and the
war against the Indian king of the region supported by the British
On the outbreak of the
French Revolutionary Wars
French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, a British
force under James Hartley captured Mahé. In 1816 the British restored
Mahé to the French as a part of the 1814 Treaty of Paris, after the
conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars. Mayyazhi remained under French
jurisdiction as a small French colony, an enclave within British
India, during the long span that began in 1816. After the Independence
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, Mahé became a Sub-Division of
Territory. The area of Mahé begins from Mayyazhi puzha in the north
to Azhiyoor at the south. Mahé consists of Mahé town and Naluthara,
which includes four villages: Pandakkal, Pallur, Chalakara and
Chembra. The ruler of
Kingdom of Mysore
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.
Liberation of Mahe
I. K. Kumaran
I. K. Kumaran led the freedom struggle in Mahe after
Indian independence in 1947. The Municipal office of the French
administration was attacked[by whom?] by 9.00 p.m. on October 21,
1948. The French national flag was removed by the freedom
aspirants[neutrality is disputed], and the Indian national flag
hoisted on the Municipal Building ("Mairie" in French). On October 26,
the French navy ship[which?] anchored in Mahe and the French regained
control of Mahe. The ship left Mahe on October 31. Communists tried to
Cherukallayi enclave in April 1954. Two Indians were killed
during the struggle. The Indian flag was hoisted in
the Naluthura enclave on May 1. The freedom fighters conducted an
embargo on Mahe from June that year. On July 14, 1954, the
Mahajanasabha organized a March into Mahe and Mahe was liberated on
July 16, 1954.
Freedom fighters in Mahe, 1954
As of 2011[update]
India census, Mahé had a population of 41,816,
predominantly Malayalis. Males constitute 46.5% of the population.
Mahé has an average literacy rate of 97.87%; male and female literacy
were 98.63% and 97.25%, respectively. In Mahé, 10.89% of the
population consists of children under six years of age.
The culture and geography of this area are like almost all of those in
the Malabar Coast of Kerala. The major festival of this region is
Onam and Eid . The major language is Malayalam. The
population includes Tamil and Telugu speakers.
Climate data for Mahe, India
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mahé's nearest airport is Calicut International Airport, Karipur, at
a distance of 85 km;
Kannur Airport under construction is nearing
Mattannur at a distance of 40 kilometres (25 miles). The
nearest Railway Station is Mahé, where a few local and express trains
stop. The nearest major railway stations, where several long distance
trains stop, are Thalassery, Kannur,
Mangalore and Vatakara.
Mahé Municipality is the seat of the local administration of Mahé.
The Mahé municipal area comprises 9 square kilometres (3.5 square
miles) with one Assembly Constituency, i.e. Mahé. Municipal Council
was not in existence with effect from 1978. Thereafter, the Regional
Administrator or Regional Executive Officer used to exercise the power
of the chairman and
Vice-Chairman in the capacity of
of Mahé Municipal Council. Civic elections were held during 2006
after nearly 30 years. Based on the elections, the chairman and 15
councillors of Mahé Municipality were sworn in.
Mahé Municipality consists of 15 wards.
Mahatma Gandhi Government Arts College in Mahé, was established in
the year 1970 by I K Kumaran. The Mahé Co-operative College of
Teacher Education was established in 2005 and is part of the Mahé
Co-operative Centre for Information Technology Ltd. Other
institutions include Mahé Co-operative College of Higher Education
& Technology, Mahé Institute of Dental Sciences & Hospital,
Rajiv Gandhi Govt Ayurveda College and Rajiv Gandhi Govt Industrial
Training Institute, Mahé.There are several Government and private
schools which provides good education to the young ones.
I K Kumaran, leader of French Indian Liberation Movement and the first
Administrator of free Mahé
Malayalam novelist and fiction writer
V N Purushothaman, the last Mayor and the first chairman of the Mahé
In Popular culture
M Mukundan's novel
Mayyazhippuzhayude Theerangalil or On the Banks of
the River Mayyazhi describes the political and social background of
Malayalam feature film Daivathinte Vikrithikal, directed by Lenin
Rajendran is based on the novel of the same name by M Mukundan, is set
in the ex-French colony of Mayyazhi (Mahé)
Indira Gandhi Polytechnic College
Municipal Administration in French India
Causes for Liberation of French colonies in India
Bertrand-François Mahé de La Bourdonnais
Malabar (Northern Kerala)
Morning in Mahe
Mahe Light House
Mahe Town Hall
Mahe in 1867
Mahe Church, 1940
^ The spelling "Mahe" appears to be the only one for the Mahe District
(as can be seen from the District's official website and other
official sites). "Mahé" seems to survive for the town proper.
^ H. Castonnet des Fosses, "L’Inde avant Dupleix", Revue de
l’Anjou, Angers, July–August 1886, p. 91, note 1.
^ The detailed accounts of the expedition barely mention young La
^ "History of Mahé". Archived from the original on 30 December 2013.
Retrieved 28 April 2013.
^ "Census of
India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities,
villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India.
Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
^ "CLIMATE: MAHE", Climate-Data.org. Web: .
^ Mahé Co-operative College of Teacher Education (MCCTE).[permanent
dead link] Pondicherry Today. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
^ Mahé Co-operative College of Teacher Education (MCCTE). Retrieved 9
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mahé, India.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Mahe (India).
Press Information Bureau
North Malabar Region
Main Towns and Cities
Places of interest in North Malabar
Velliyamkallu: Associated with the valiant Kunhali Marakkar at
Sand Banks: Where the Kotakal river reaches the sea at Vatakara
Silent Beach: South of Sand Banks is Silent Beach at Vatakara
Mahe Beach Mahé
Mayyazhi Puzhayoram Mahé
Pookkottu Thadakam (Lake) Mananthavady
Tellichery Fort Thalassery
Muzhappilangadu Drive-in Beach on
Payyambalam Beach Kannur
St. Angelo Fort Kannur
Meenkunnu Beach Kannur
Pazhassi Dam Kannur
The thuruths (small islands in the river) of Cherukunnu
The small hills of Cherukunnu
Azheekkal ferry and beach Azhikode
Ezhimala beach Payyannur
Paithal Mala Thaliparamba
Snake Park Parassinikkadavu
Vismaya, the water theme park Parassinikkadavu
Valiyaparamba island Trikaripur
Bekal Fort Kasaragod
Chandragiri Fort Kasaragod
Ananthapuram Lake Kasaragod
Kanwatheertha Beach Resort Kasaragod
French overseas empire
Former French colonies in Africa and the Indian Ocean
French North Africa
French West Africa
French Equatorial Africa
French Somaliland (Djibouti)
Isle de France
Former French colonies in the Americas
Haïti, Dominican Republic
Saint Kitts & Nevis
French colonization of the Americas
Former French colonies in Asia and Oceania
French Mandate for Syria
and the Lebanon
State of Syria
Sanjak of Alexandretta
Port Louis-Philippe (Akaroa)
St. Pierre and Miquelon
Wallis and Futuna
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas territory (French
Southern and Antarctic Lands)
Scattered islands in
the Indian Ocean
Bassas da India3
Glorioso Islands2, 3
Juan de Nova Island3
1 Also known as overseas regions
2 Claimed by Comoros
3 Claimed by Madagascar
4 Claimed by Mauritius
State of Puducherry
Pondicherry Engineering College
National Institute of Technology, Puducherry
History of Pondicherry
Places of interest
Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Sacred Heart Basilica
Pondicherry Cricket Association
Indira Gandhi Sports Stadium
Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium
YSR Indoor Stadium