PHF 2018 — A Press Note
The heart of Pondicherry heritage is not in monumental buildings, but rather in the striking assemblage of the entire town: a living testament to the confluence of cultures which has existed here throughout its rich and vibrant history.
People for Pondicherry’s Heritage (PPH), INTACH and PondyCAN, with support from the Government of Puducherry and partners like the Institut Français de Pondichéry (IFP), Alliance française de Pondichéry (AFP), Gratitude Heritage, LAL and CGH, launched the first Pondicherry Heritage Festival (PHF) in 2015. We invite you to join us in celebrating the 4th PHF from January 18th to February 18th 2018.
Bringing together residents, scholars, and tourists, the Festival aims:
To create and strengthen the unique identity and sense of belonging of being Pondicherian,
To showcase and celebrate the rich and diverse tapestry of Pondicherry’s heritage to visitors and the world,
And to discuss how we can preserve this cultural heritage for generations to come.
Each year, the scope of the festival has expanded to incorporate different aspects of our cultural and natural heritage. Last year’s festival expanded the celebrations to explore the rich history of Bahour. This year’s month-long festival will engage with even more partners, hosts, and participants, and in addition to Pondicherry and Bahour, we will also explore the Tirubhuvanai region.
The festival will open with a participatory public event of community engagement, and an inauguration filled with fun and celebration. The next day, there will be a forum for Pondicherians to discuss how to protect our streetscapes and buildings west of the Grand Canal, and the day after that, an afternoon visit to Tirubhuvanai which will end with a shadow puppet performance of episodes from the Ramayana at the Vardharaja Perumal Temple. The last day of the opening week will be at one of Pondicherry’s oldest and best preserved French colonial buildings, Cluny Embroidery Centre, with a Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam performance.
Other performances by Pondicherry’s dancers include Kathak, Odissi and even Folk dances from Gujarat. Students will perform compositions of Subramania Bharati at the Bharatiyar Museum. A choir performance at church of our Lady of Angels on Rue Dumas will be a unique experience, as will an evening of students chanting from the Vedas and Upanishads. As always, all performances will take place in Heritage locations. There will be several book events. Talks and field visits will highlight Pondicherry’s beach erosion and its restoration project and understanding the ecosystem of Ossudu lake with a bird watching trip. As last year, there will be a photo competition and exhibition on the theme of Pondy’s streetscapes. There will also be a week long celebration of Pondicherry’s Indochine connection with exhibitions and other events.
The “Made in Pondy” exhibition-cum-sales event at the Crafts Bazaar, Gandhi Thidal, celebrating the region’s heritage of creative entrepreneurship, will take place during the Bonjour India sailing regatta from 25th to 28th January and will feature books by Pondicherians and books about this region.
This festival will include several programs for school children: a Heritage Quiz, heritage tours and the launch of a heritage colouring book. As always, there will be public heritage and cultural tours and open houses. A heritage tour of Bahour ending with a Therukoothu performance at the Moolanathasamy Temple will bringing down the curtains on the 4th Pondicherry Heritage Festival.