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.