About this year's festival.
Now in its third 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.
This year’s festival will focus on Bahour, one of Pondicherry’s most ancient areas, dating to the Chola period. It starts with a dance drama, portraying the legend of the two sisters who constructed the Bahour canal and created the lake. The entire final morning of the festival will also be spent in Bahour, taking-in the remains of heritage dating back a thousand years.
In the heart of the town, the Crafts Bazaar will host “Made in Pondy”, featuring well-known products from around the Auroville - Pondicherry region, as well as live demos of traditional arts and crafts. As always, there will an important discussion forum, addressing the many ways the heritage of a city informs its future and forms the base of its development. Intangible heritage will be celebrated through dance and music performances each night on the main stage at the Gandhi Thidal, as well as in special venues. Other festival attractions include several interactive installations, heritage walks, and ‘open houses’ at special locations. And be sure to pull out your camera, because photography (both amateur and professional) will be featured: there will be a photo contest, a “Revisit Pondicherry Photo Walk”, and a photo exhibition “Incredible Pondy”. Check the full schedule for details.
Feel free to CONTACT US for further information.
A celebrated Bharathanatyam dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Jayashree has made Pondicherry her home since 1971. She has won many national and local awards for her work. She is the founder and director of Salagai Cultural Academy. Her dance drama telling the story of the sisters who brought life-giving water to Bahour, Bangari and Singari, will have its premier at this year's festival.
A multi-talented and versatile dancer of the Odissi tradition, native Pondicherian Aneesh Raghavan is a disciple of acclaimed dance guru Sangeeta Dash from Odisha. Having completed research on Sri Aurobindo and Subramania Bharati for his higher studies in 2015, Raghavan is currently pursuing his Masters degree in Sanskrit at Pondicherry University.
As the creative director of SVARAM, Auroville’s campus for sound healing and music research, Austrian- born Aurelio is a man of many titles: musician, educator, ethnomusicologist, music researcher, sound designer and sound healer. A member of the World Federation of Music Therapy, Aurelio is a noted pioneer in the development and manufacturing of innovative music instruments.
Nasser has been closely connected to Pondicherry since childhood. He is currently president of the Nadigar Sangam, or South Indian Artists Association, a union for film, television, and stage actors in Tamil Nadu. In July of 2016, he received an honorary doctorate from Vel’s University for his outstanding contributions in the field of acting.
Internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer Anita Ratnam’s career spans four decades. Working in both classical and contemporary dance, she has created a unique dance style known as “Neo Bharat Natyam.” After completing her MA, she spent ten years as a television producer and commentator in the U.S, She is co-founder of “The Other Festival,” India’s first annual contemporary dance festival.
:Meenakshi hails from Tamil Nadu and is a distinguished poet, university professor, writer, editor, social worker, and counselor. Her poems were included in the Indian Government’s National Book of Poems, ‘The Women Poets of India’ and ‘The New Writing in India’ by Penguin Press, and ‘World Poetry.’ A recipient of numerous national and international awards for her poetry and creative writing, She lives in Auroville.
As co-founder of Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry along with Deborah Smith, Ray Meeker is considered a pioneer in ceramic art in India for his role in introducing glazed studio stoneware, research in fired housing, and breaking new ground with his monumental sculptures. He has trained numerous cermaic artists from across the country.
Founder and head of Hidesign, India’s leading leather goods manufacturing company, Dr. Dilip Kapur of Auroville graduated in International Affairs from Princeton University. He is the owner of two of the finest hotels in Pondicherry: The Promenade and Le Dupleix. He has been an ardent supporter of the Heritage Festivals and conservation of heritage buildings in Pondicherry.
Popular singer of All India Radio Pondicherry since 1995, K Vijayalakshmi regularly performs in concerts throughout Tamil Nadu. She learned the intricacies of music from renowned guru Madurai Sri Sankara Sivam Bagavathar, and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout her career in music.
A graduate of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (S.A.I.C.E), in the midst her diverse academic curriculums and daily sports routines, she found her passion for dance, under the guidance of her guru, Ila Devi Poddar and began to learn Kathak in the ‘Jaipur Gharana’ style from the age of thirteen. She has performed solo recitals and dance dramas and continues to learn under the guidance of her guru.
H2O Live is a Rock 'N' Roll band from Pondicherry, covering blues standards, and classic rock, mainly from the 1950s and 1960s. As a 21st Century band, they revamp these classics to keep the music fresh and exciting.
Kalaimamani Dr. Arimalam S. Padmanabhan: has 45 years of professional experience in the field of South Indian Classical Music as a researcher, musicologist, musician (vocal) music composer, folklorist, writer and orator. He has composed music for films, dance dramas.
Both are trained in Bharatanatyam as well as Mohiniattam. While Gayathri also learnt Carnatic vocal and the Veena, Bakthan learnt vocal, Konnakol and the Mrudhamgam. They have performed extensively and run theTemple of Music, Dance Yoga and Fine Arts in Pondicherry.
Secretary LAD and Town & Country planning, Project dierector (PIA) GOP.
Committed to the conservation of architectural heritage, Kakoli was one of the driving forces behind the restoration of Gratitude Heritage Guest House, the collective the People for Pondicherry's Heritage, and the first annual Pondicherry Heritage Festival in 2015.
Architect-writer, graduated from CEPT, ETH-Zurich. He is a member of CMDA Monitoring Committee and Chair,VIT-VSPARC, and convenor of Confluence 10 and Jaipur Architecture Biennale. He has taughtat CEPT, Bartlett-London, RPI NewYork - India Studio. His organisation, Artes is involved in Projects including tsunami and war refugee rehabilitation, rural and low-cost housing.
A PhD in Geography, Aurelie is a CNRS researcher, geography. Centre for South Asian Studies (Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. since 2010.
Sathya studied architecture in Bangalore, urban design in Delhi and heritage conservation in England. A former Professor of Architecture, he is involved in academics, outreach activities, freelance writing, professional associations and NGO initiatives.
An architect who has more than two decades of experience in managing urban conservation issues of Historic Cites in India and abroad. He is presently based in Ahmedabad and appointed as Director, Centre for Heritage Management of Ahmedabad University.
A doctor by profession, having lived in Pondicherry for ten years, he cannot dream of living elsewhere. He has been taking photos of Pondicherry, a personal chronicling of the heritage and daily life over this ten year period. Ironically, he has not submitted a photo for this bio.
Mr. Shorey studied architecture, urban planning, and architectural conservation in India and Italy. He worked for three decades as a planner in the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority, served as Urban Management Director at the Centre for Good Governance, and taught at IIM Ahmedabad and International Centre for Conservation, Rome. He now practices as a private consultant.
Domus Dei is a singing group of young men and women from the Church of Our Lady of Angels, commonly referred to as ‘Kaps Kovil,’ located on Dumas Street in the French Quarter of Pondicherry. The group was created in 2013 as a student's caroling choir. Since then the group has served its parish by singing at Sunday masses and other church events.
Hidesign - Holii - Mandala Apparels - Upasana - LAL - Geethanjali Artifacts - Maroma Auromics
Naturellement - Sri Aurobindo Hand Made Paper - Senteurs - Auroshikha - Ejoumale - Svaram
Off Beat - Khadi - PonFab - Saran Exports - Lakshmi Jewelry - GBP - Focus - AV Paper - AV potters - Disa