Karaikal is a city in southern India on the Gulf of Bengal, near the island-nation of Sri Lanka. It was, until 1956, a part of French India, a region centered around Pondicherry. The city is renowned for its rich and diverse religious history, being an enclave of mutual tolerance among people of Hindu, Christian and Muslim faiths. The French colonial atmosphere is still prevalent. The ornate Church of Our Lady of the Angels is a prominent landmark, rebuilt in 1891 on the site of the 18th century original. The Karaikal Grand Masjid mosque shares the same color scheme. The multi-colored and elaborately decorated Karaikal Ammaiyar temple honors a local Hindu saint who dedicated her life to Lord Shiva. These are among the many picturesque attractions of Karaikal for visitors.