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    heritage Rickshaw tour of Pondicherry

    Besides the talks and seminars, what you must check out at the city’s first heritage festival

    Bazaar buzz
    Shoppers have much in store. First up is an exhibition of paintings by local artists on the heritage of Pondicherry. “There will be at least 15 painters who have something special just for the festival,” says Mandeen, adding, “We’ll also have terracotta, papier-mâché, stone carvings and leather crafts. After a short demo, these products will be on sale.” Look out for city-based painter, Ejoumale Djearamine. At Craft Bazaar, from today till March 1.

    To the drum beat
    The festival starts off with a parade featuring 10 drummers from Svaram, an organisation that designs instruments and holds sound healing sessions in Auroville. “We are arranging a truck with drummers—both international and local—who will stop at different spots inside the city and perform. Expect some fast numbers that will grab the attention of the locals. Most of the equipment is designed by us,” says Aurelio,
    the musician who started Svaram.
    The parade is at Gandhi Thidal , today.

    Simple act
    One of the concluding performances of the festival will be a pantomime by Dhrupad Gaonkar from Goa. “Mine would be a one hour performance consisting of smaller plays. There will be one theme-based performance which will talk about heritage, and others will revolve around human elements, comedy and general topics. I was also part of the Goa heritage society so this festival is close to me,” he says. At Maison Columbani, on March 1.

    Bells and metal
    Singing Stones is part of Svaram and comes recommended by Aurelio. The concert will feature a stone weighing
    80 kilograms  as an instrument. “We want to show that through stones there are vibrations which can also be music. While there are two main performers, there are eight accompanying
    artistes who play  the temple bells,”
    says Aurelio. On March 1, at Gratitude.

    Rickshaw tour
    “A night in Paris on the river, is beautiful. All the facades are lit up and the heritage buildings look spectacular. We hope to create the same effect with this night heritage rickshaw tour,” says Mandeen. The tour will be conducted by Ashok Panda from INTACH who will take us through the French quarter of the city. At the northern end of Beach Road. Tomorrow. Each tour can accommodate up to 40 people. The tour starts at 9pm and registrations are compulsory.

    Pot luck
    Founders of Golden Bridge Pottery— Ray Meeker and Deborah Smith will have an open house to showcase their ceramic collection. The duo will be talking about Pondicherry’s heritage of ceramic pottery. The two have been working together since 1970. At Rue Dumas, on March 1.

    Play on
    Also recommended by Mandeen is a spectacular performance by Veenapani Chawla’s Adishakti, the space for theatre arts and research. According to Vinay Kumar K J, a dancer, the 50 minute show will be by seven members from the theatre group. “We will be playing the Kerala drum (mizhavu) made of copper. The sound that comes out of the mizhavu produces different structures of rhythm used for dramatics. Each tune will show an emotion. It is a seamless dialogue between the instrumentalist and the drum,” says Vinay.

    From today till March 1. Details: peopleforpondyheritage@gmail.com

    ALL roads lead to Pondicherry this weekend. Bringing the first Heritage Festival, organisers Kakoli Banerjee (owner of hotel Gratitude) along with Sunaina Mandeen (from PondyCAN, an NGO) and INTACH hope to celebrate a rich and diverse heritage, which includes architecture, culture, history, traditions, art in all its forms, nature and spirituality. The three-day event is packed with sitar recitals, Odissi dance performances, songs of Subramania Bharati and expert talks by historian S Muthiah and restorer, Kiran Rao. Actress Revathy is expected at the inauguration today and scores of Chennaittes have already made plans to drive down. Some of the highlights:

    Text: Mrinalini Sundar

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