• Pondicherry City Guide | Discover Pondy

The Pondicherry Heritage Festival commencing on 27th February will put the towns’ heritage in the limelight for three days. A packed schedule of events has been planned with dance and theater performances, exhibitions and discussions. The aim of the festival is to emphasize the importance of the city’s heritage and the need for it to be saved and conserved. After all it is the colonial charm, the quaint streets and heritage buildings that attract the many visitors to this unique coastal town.

Sunaina Mandeen of PondyCAN, one of the organizers, mentioned that: “quite a few old cities across the world have prioritized conservation of heritage realizing its importance and in turn it has given them good economic returns” “We build our future from our past. We want to highlight what is valuable about Puducherry.”

It is not just Sunaina who feels the need to prioritize Pondicherry’s heritage conservation, but there are a lot of other people, like Mr. Ashok Panda, the convener of INTACH, who, too shares the same viewpoint. According to him, Pondicherry has the capability to become a frontrunner in the list of beautiful cities, provided such kind of festival is organized more frequently, with the participation of both the Governments of India and France together with the residents.

Realizing the importance to preserve Pondicherry’s heritage and culture, many organizations like Alliance française, French Institute of Pondicherry, Department of Tourism, Pondy ART, Svaram (Auroville), Gratitude-a heritage home and business houses like Neemrana Hotels and Hidesign have come forward to lend their support to the Heritage Festival quite enthusiastically as can be witnessed by their active participation in it. For example, Svaram, a group of drummers from Auroville are scheduled to welcome the festival with a grand performance. Apart from this, there will be sitar recital by Soham Munim at the Alliance française Auditorium. French Institute of Pondicherry together with Pondy ART will present an exhibition on photography on the walls of its building. Many local artists will sell their crafts at the Crafts Bazaar.

Since the collapse of the 144 year old prominent heritage building ‘La Mairie’ in November 2014, major initiatives have been taken by the government by its decision to support the restoration work of heritage structures all over the city. In this regard, INTACH has shown a keen interest towards restoring the famous Subramania Bharati Museum and has been given permission to work on it. Among its many proposals to the central government, the proposal to include Pondicherry in the list of smart cities features on top.

The Heritage festival will be conducted all throughout the city at such venues that are known ‘cultural hubs’ and attract a lot of visitors, like Alliance française Auditorium, Sri Aurobindo Ashram Library, Cluny Embroidery Centre, Academy House, École française d’Extrême-Orient, Institut français de Pondichery and Gratitude Heritage Guest House. The main idea of holding the festival at the above mentioned venues has been primarily to project Pondicherry as a haven where visitors can experience cultural diversity at its best.

With a large spectrum of events being planned like Odissi Dance recital, musical performances, exhibitions by local painters and artists, open house discussion on ceramic pottery and a host of other events, the Heritage Festival will definitely help to boost Pondicherry’s image as a culturally rich city. It would be an open stage where people would get a chance to interact and understand the importance of culture and heritage of a place, and its contribution to a society’s growth and development

Text: Shahana
Sources: The Hindu, TOI

Events that are taking place during Pondicherry Heritage Festival:

1 Morning Ragas – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Alliance française de Pondichéry https://www.zoompondy.com/events/morning-ragas-pondicherry-heritage-festival/27-02-2015/
2 Conference – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Gratitude https://www.zoompondy.com/events/conference-pondicherry-heritage-festival/27-02-2015/
3 Parade – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Beach Road, Pondicherry https://www.zoompondy.com/events/parade-pondicherry-heritage-festival/27-02-2015/
4 Inauguration – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Gandhi Thidal, Pondicherry https://www.zoompondy.com/events/inaguration-pondicherry-heritage-festival/27-02-2015/
5 Discussion – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Sri Aurobindo Ashram Exhibition Hall, https://www.zoompondy.com/events/discussion-pondicherry-heritage-festival/28-02-2015/
6 Discussion With Conservationists – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Alliance française de Pondichéry https://www.zoompondy.com/events/discussion-with-conservationists-pondicherry-heritage-festival/28-02-2015/
7 Presentation – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Ecole Francaise d Extreme-Orient https://www.zoompondy.com/events/presentation-pondicherry-heritage-festival/28-02-2015/
8 Odissi Dance – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Cluny Embroidery https://www.zoompondy.com/events/odissi-dance-pondicherry-heritage-festival/28-02-2015/
9 Musical Performance – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Old Distillery, Pondicherry https://www.zoompondy.com/events/musical-performance-pondicherry-heritage-festival/28-02-2015/
10 Debate – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Private Residence https://www.zoompondy.com/events/debate-pondicherry-heritage-festival/01-03-2015/
11 Open House Pottery – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Golden Bridge Pottery https://www.zoompondy.com/events/open-house-pottery-pondicherry-heritage-festival/01-03-2015/
12 A Talk On Rangapillay – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Rangapillai House http://www.zoompondy.com/events/a-talk-on-rangapillay-pondicherry-heritage-festival/01-03-2015/
13 Conference by Contributors – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Hotel de Lorient https://www.zoompondy.com/events/conference-by-contributors-pondicherry-heritage-festival/01-03-2015/
14 Aurelio – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Gratitude https://www.zoompondy.com/events/aurelio-pondicherry-heritage-festival/01-03-2015/
15 Cultural Programme – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Gingee Salai Thidal https://www.zoompondy.com/events/cultural-programme-pondicherry-heritage-festival/01-03-2015/
16 Closing Ceremony – Pondicherry Heritage Festival Maison Colombani, Pondicherry https://www.zoompondy.com/events/closing-ceremony-pondicherry-heritage-festival/01-03-2015/

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