Festival Schedule


Tuesday, 23 January
DANCE:  Ghungroo Tales –  Kathak Dance by Jasmin Sarkar   | Gratitude Heritage Guest House, 54 Rue Romain Rolland  |  19:00 to 20:00

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wednesday, 24 January
LITERARY EVENT:  “Dance as Yoga” by Rekha Tandon   |   Palais de Mahe, 4 Rue Bussy  |  18:00

Odissi dancer Rekha Tandon will discuss her just-released book, “Dance as Yoga: the spirit and technique of Odissi”.

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thursday, 25 January – sunday, 28 January
EXHIBITION & SALE: Made in Pondy  |  Craft Bazaar, Gandhi Thidal  |  11:00 to 21:00, daily

Come to the inauguration of this great annual event on Thursday, 25 January at 16:00.

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thursday, 26 January – sunday, 28 January
EXHIBITION & SALE: Terra Pondy – Studio Potters’ Market  |  Maison Colombani, 37 Rue Dumas  |  10:00 to 18:00, daily

16 Studio potters from Pondicherry, Auroville and Chennai come together to showcase their exclusive handmade pottery. Workshops for handmade pottery will be conducted throughout the day on all three days. Space is limited and preregistration is requested.

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sunday, 28 January
EXCURSION: Bird Watching at Ossudu Lake  | Meet at Fire Station, Subbiah Salai for transport to Ossudu Lake by 7:30  |  8:30 to 11:30

Celebrate the upcoming World Wetlands Day!  Raphael Mathevet, Head of the Ecology Department at IFP and Pondicherry Ornithologist Atmavadan Reddy will lead a bird watching walk at Pondicherry’s most important water body. For those travelling independently, meet at the boathouse.

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LITERARY EVENT: The Poetry of Varakavi  |   Natura Ashram, 38 Mariammam Kovil Street, Kathirkamam  |  16:30 to 17:30

Remembering Shri Varakavi Subramania Swamigal, a hermit and a poet whose poems envision the reader to the spiritual, natural, cultural and humanitarian aspects of life. The collection of his poetry is an evident artefact of the lifestyle of people in his period. A few poems about Puducherry are to be recited during at his home on the occasion of his second Guru Pooja.

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monday, 29 January
LITERARY EVENT: “Auroville: A City for the Future” by Anu Majumdar    |   Palais de Mahe, 4 Rue Bussy  | 18:00

Anu Majumdar,  will discuss her recently published book “Auroville: A City for the Future”.

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tuesday, 30 January
CONCERT & TALK:  Songs of Poet Subramania Bharati  |   Mahakavi Bharati Museum, 95 Eswaran Dharmaraja Koil Street  |  18:30 to 19:30

After a short talk on Subramania Bharati, Shoba Raghavan’s students will sing songs of revolutionary poet and Pondicherry’s icon.

tuesday, 31 January
FILM SCREENING:  Life of Pi  |   Storyteller’s Bar, Promenade Hotel, 23 Goubert Avenue  |   19:00

The Tuesday Film Club presents Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yan Martel’s Pondicherry fable.

thursday, 1 February
LITERARY EVENT: “The Mysterious Virus” by Vipanchi Nayak  |    Palais de Mahe, 4 Rue Bussy  | 18:00

5th Grade student Vipanchi Nayak discusses her new sci-fi detective novel, “The Mysterious Virus”, as well as the rights of children and animal rights issues that inform her work.

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saturday, 3 February
EXCURSION & FILM: India’s Disappearing Beaches  |   Storyteller’s Bar, Promenade Hotel, 23 Goubert Avenue  |  15:30 to 18:30

Aurofilio Schiavina of PondyCAN will screen a documentary “India’s disappearing beaches – a wake up call” followed by a presentation on the current Pondicherry Beach Restoration Project. This will be followed by a field visit along the coast.

Music: Vedic Chanting  |   Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient, 19 Rue Dumas  |  18:00 to 19:00

Twenty five students of Sanskrit Vedapathshala will chant from the Vedas.

friday, 5 February
DANCE: Vana Mahotsavam – Bharatanatyam Dance Drama  | Ashram School Courtyard (opposite the Ashram)  |  20:30 to 21:30

“Vana Mahotsavam” refers to an event whereby saplings of trees are planted and the younger generations get to learn about the importance of preserving nature. Similarly, this dance drama is a celebration of the beauty of nature as well as a reminder of the need for us to be environmentally friendly, to respect life and to maintain ecological balance in the world.

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friday, 9 February
MUSIC: Mystical Breaths with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia and Ensemble Diabolus in Musica   |   Sri Aurobindo Ashram Theatre, 3 Suffren Street  |  19:00

This event is sponsored by Alliance francaise Pondicherry as part of its Bonjour India festival.

saturday, 10 February – Sunday, 11 february
PHOTO CONTEST: Streetscapes of Pondicherry  |  INTACH,  62 Aurobindo Street  |  9:00 to 18:00

The Pondicherry Rivage Ladies Circle 47 present a photo competition on the theme of “Streetscapes of Pondicherry”.  Everyone should participate!   Prizes will be awarded at 18:30 on 11 February at Hotel De L’Orient, 17 Rue Romain Rolland, before the Garba Folk Dancing event.

more information

saturday, 10 February
DANCE: Odissi Performance by Anish Raghavan  | Consulat général de France à Pondichéry, 2 Rue de la Marine  |  19:00 to 20:00

Pre-registration is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY at least 10 Days Prior to This Event

sunday, 11 February
PHOTO CONTEST: Awards for photo competition winners | Dune Orient, 17 Rue Romain Rolland  |  18:30 to 19:00
DANCE: Garba Folk Dancing  |  Hotel De L’Orient, 17 Rue Romain Rolland  |  19:15 to 20:15

The Gujarati community has always been an integral part of Pondicherry since many years and has played a crucial and important role to enhance the Heritage of Pondicherry.  To showcase the Heritage of Pondicherry, which believes in Unity in Diversity, the Rangleela Group will be presenting the Cultural Dance of Gujarat: The Garba And Dandiy Raas.

monday, 12 February – sunday, 18 February
EXHIBITION: Traces in Time: Pondicherry – Indochine  |   Kusum’s Home, 7 Rue de la Caserne  |  10:00 to 21:00, daily
Fascinating art objects, photographs, documents, and other cultural traces reveal Pondichery’s historic ties to Indochina (modern day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), disparate parts of “l’Empire colonial Français” in Asia.  The influences crossed religions, languages, food habits, and lived experiences — and many are evident to this day.
Tuesday, 13 February
CHILDREN’S EVENT: Colouring Book Launch  | Consulat général de France à Pondichéry, 2 Rue de la Marine  |  16:30 to 18:00

The Consul General of France will launch the heritage colouring book and  students will then proceed to colour the books on the lawns of the consulate, after a short tour of this heritage building.

Pre-registration is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY at least 10 Days Prior to This Event

Friday, 16 February
FILM & TALK: Discover Bahour  |  Storyteller’s Bar, Promenade Hotel, 23 Goubert Avenue  |  15:30 to 17:00

Probir Banerjee of PondyCAN will screen a documentary on Bahour, showing the various aspects of its ancient heritage dating back to the Chola period and talk about how some of those ancient practises are not only relevant today but also effectively used.

saturday, 17 February
CONCERT: Reunion Island Music Festival  |   Maison Colombani, 37 Rue Dumas  |  ?

A Bonjour India Event.

sunday, 18 February
EXCURSION: Exploring Bahour  |  Meet at the Fire Station, Subbaiah Salai, for transport to Bahour  |  14:30 for transport, 15:00 to 17:30

A tour of the Bahour commune through fields and irrigation tanks and channels and the Bahour lake and the Moolanathasamy Temple.

RSVP for bus transportation is Mandatory.

DANCE: Therakuthu Performance   | Moolanasamy Temple, Bahour  |  18:30 to 20:00


saturday, 30 DECEMBER 2017
DANCE: AH SU RA   |   Gratitude Heritage Guest House, 54 Rue Roman Rolland  |   19:00 to 20:00

Dance legend Anita Ratnam returns to open the PHF, along with greats Sharmila Biswas and Geeta Chandran. This new collaborative piece, AH SU RA, tells the stories of three less-explored, “darker” characters from the Ramayana.  Ms. Ratnam will perform Ahalya in a contemporary dance style; Ms. Biswas will interpret Surpanakha through Odissi; and Ms. Chandran will use Bharatanatyam to convey Ravana.

more information

thursday, 18 January
FESTIVAL OPENING: Painting Together for Pondicherry’s Heritage  |   Gandhi Thidal  |  16: 00 to 19:00

Silhouettes of Pondicherry’s rich and diverse architectural heritage and streetscapes, folk art forms, games and literature will be painted by students to formally launch the festival.  These panels will be displayed along the Marie compound wall.  This will be colourful event in every sense of the word!

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friday, 19 January
DISCUSSION: A Pondicherrians’ Forum: West of the Grand Canal: How to Save Our Streetscapes and Buildings?  |  Mansion Calve, 36 Vysial Street  |  17:00 to 19:00

Join a discussion, opened by four Pondicherrians, on the ways in which the unique character and charm of the boulevard town, west of the Grand Canal, can be preserved while the remaining vital and productive.  This event is presented by Interviewing India and Pondy Live.

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BOOK LAUNCH: Ari Gauthier’s “Le Thinnai”  |  Alliance française de Pondichéry  |  58 Rue Suffren  |  19:00 to 20:00

Ari Gauthier launches his new book, “Le Thinnai” at the auditorium of Alliance francaise de Pondichery.  This is an AFP event.

saturday, 20 January
EXCURSION: Exploring Tirubhuvanai   |   Meet at Fire Station, Subbiah Salai, for transport to Tirubhuvanai  |  15:30 for transport, 16:15 to 18:30

A guided tour of the Chola Temples, tanks, and farmlands of Tirubhuvanai, led by Venkat G, researcher of the social sciences department of the IFP.  For those travelling independently, meet at the entrance to Panchanadisvara Temple, at Villipuram Main Road.

RSVP for bus transportation is Mandatory.

SHADOW PUPPETRY: Scenes from the Ramayana  |  Vardharaja Perumal Kovil, Tirubhuvanai  |  18:30 to 20:00

CANCELLED.  The tour of Thirubhuvanai will go forward.  Return transport to Subbiah Salai will now depart Thirubhuvanai following the excursion, around 18:30.

Ninth Generation shadow puppeteer Kuppuswamy will enchant the audience with episodes from the Ramayana, with the magnificent backdrop of a Chola temple.  Group transport returns after the show.

more information

sunday, 21 January
DANCE: Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam Performance by Nandhini & Company  |   Cluny Embroidery Centre, 46 Rue Romain Rolland  |  19:00 to 20:00

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About the Festival

Now in its fourth year, the Pondicherry Heritage Festival continues to celebrate the singular character of this extraordinary town and its environs. Originally conceived as a way of drawing attention to the need to conserve Pondicherry’s outstanding architectural legacy, the festival has expanded its scope to embrace all manner of intangible traditions. We boast a diverse built environment, an idyllic seaside natural setting, a rich spiritual and intellectual history, and fascinating combination of indigenous and imported cultural practices. It is the interplay of these factors that gives Pondicherry its distinctive flavour.

In a world that values newness and embraces rapid, incessant change, it is increasingly challenging to appreciate old things and old ways that contribute to the richness of life. The objective of the Pondicherry Heritage Festival is to bring attention to the traditions and places we love and wish to see passed down to future generations of Pondicherrians. Once our minds are focused and our priorities are clear, we must act with passion and purpose to preserve those things that make Pondicherry unique within India and, indeed, place it among the most interesting cities of the world.

In addition to a the many engaging cultural events, heritage walks, open-houses of historic buildings, and other events taking place in the town, this year’s festival will feature a number of excursions farther afield.  These will include an up-close look at Pondicherry’s history of beach erosion and the current efforts at beach restoration; a pedestrian tour of Bahour; a bird watching outing at of Ossudu Lake; and exploration of three Chola temples in Tirubhuvanai.  The festival is also proud to present a first-ever exhibition that explores the fascinating cultural relationship between Pondicherry and Indochina, as Asian possessions of the French colonial empire.