Customs House (Mât de pavillon, Douane)


Beauty of the house

The customs building is so called the bâtiment de la douane in French was above all the Flag pole known as Mât de Pavillon in French or Flagstaff of the colony. This is because it became the Customs House only on 28 January 1941. This custom building is designed in typical French colonial Architecture. National Flag of India is arranged to fly on the top of this building always.

Location of customs house

It is found in Beach road just beside Mahatma Gandhi statue. The former flagstaff was designed in the south-west region to the Louis fort. Then later on, it was recommended to an engineer named spinasse to shift it toward the port in the year of 1827. Now it had become a small and simple pole standing on a round and narrow base without any dwellings.

It is said and hoped that same modifications were done to the lighthouse and this construction was renovated in the control of Indian authorities in order to establish their custom house. During the pioneer time, this flagstaff was also used as a permitting instrument for fast communications with ships in sea through visual languages that were been codified.

Architecture of customs house

Actually, this construction of customs building was earlier done to control and supply goods that entering and leaving the Pondicherry port. The governor at that time decided to accept a proposal from British that was planning to reduce the smuggling in Pondicherry had its free port was it was not maintained by France at the time of their ruling part. Hence in a need for installing and creating administrative services, British allocation was used to renovate the old building that is now being a customs house.

The exact construction of this customs house was done at the time of designing lighthouse in the first half of nineteenth century. A short look at the back towards Pondicherry within this development of around 180 years, Pondicherry buildings seems to show the development in its town planning interest and extraction of spaces. 

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