Ananda Ranga Pillai (1709–1761) was a famous personality during French rule. He migrated to Puducherry – then known as Pondicherry - in his youth. He was made a dubash - translator - of the French East India Company and is known for his proximity to French governor Joseph François Dupleix.
Ananda Ranga Pillai chronicled all the happenings of society in his dairies – which is very un-Indian as we, as a tribe, do not believe in recording current history - which have been published and have brought him to the limelight.
Built in 1735, his house is one of the oldest in Puducherry. The mansion, called Ranga Pillai mansion, blends Indian and European architecture elegantly. The ground floor is truly, traditional Tamil architecture with a huge courtyard, a typical feature of every Tamil house. The courtyard is huge with wooden pillars with exquisite carvings on them.
The terrace on the first floor has elegant columns giving a hint of Gothic design.
Also called Natives Quarters, this mansion is a treasure house of French life and style as documented by Pillai in his diaries.
The mansion, located on a street named after Ranga Pillai, was one of the few buildings to survive the British invasion in 1761 and has been recognised by the Puducherry government as a heritage building.
Every day, tourists swarm the mansion to see it and know about the French lifestyle and governance during French rule.