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Fairs and Festivals

Pondicherry is richly cosmopolitan. In Pondicherry, people are easy and happy going. Every faith has a festival. People of different cast, creed and origin get together for public festival. The various festivals celebrated throughout the year are:


International Yoga Festival

Every year from 4th to 7th January, yogies and yoginies from worldwide have a congregation in Pondicherry to exchange ideas and ways. Various live shows and talks are organised through Indian dance, music and various Indian yogic food. The idea is to keep alive the art of yoga and its philosophy.

Pongal (During 13th to 16th January)

The harvest festival of rural Pondicherry changes the atmosphere here. The houses are spring cleaned and adorned with colourful patterns of "Kolam". Old clothes and mats are ritually burnt on the bhogi day. Pongal made with new rice and jaggery sugar and raisins is cooked in new mud pots. On the third consecutive day, herds of cattle are washed and decorated. People dress up, visit, their friends and relative houses to wish each other. During Pongal time, the park and beach has a colourful look flooded with people.

Fire walking

Those who vow to take part in the fire walking ordeal observe 40 days fast and wear saffron coloured clothes and after a purificatory bath, walk through the fire stretch to the astonishment of the spectators.


The famous sedal is understood to mean self-imposed physical torture undertaken by devotees who pierce small silver hooks and spears in their body or tongues in fulfillment of some vow. It is said that as many as 100 needles are pierced over their body. They then go in a procession after a bath clad in turmeric strained clothes.


Maasi Magam

Maasi Magam festival is celebrated in March at Kurichikuppam situated in north and comprises basically of fishermen community. Deities from as many as 38 temples are brought in a procession to Pondicherry and taken around town with accompaniment of Nadaswaram (horns). It concludes with images of Chakra (the discus - the symbol of Vishnu) and the trisul (the trident - the symbol of Siva) for ablutions in the sea.

Vishnu Festival -Yanam Villianur Lourdes Festival (First week after Easter) Chitrai Kalai Vizha (Summer Festival April 17 - 27) Mascarade festival

Mascarade or Mask festival is celebrated sometime during March-April in Pondicherry. It reflects one more facet of the French sense of humor with fantastic mask and fancy costumes, revelers go round the streets in joyous merriment indulging in a kind of gimmic dance to the accompaniment of beating accordion the trumpets.


Villianur Temple Car Festival (May - June )

This festival is generally celebrated around the middle of May but the exact date depends on the appearance of the full moon.


Maangani Festival

Karaikal breaks into a month-long festivity which accompanies this feast dedicated to Karaikal Ammaiyar.When for 4 days, the ground-breaking events from her life are reenacted. The image of Lord Siva, is taken out through the streets, in a decorated palanquinat which the townsfolk throw mangoes from rooftops, much to the delight of the crowd gathered below.

Bastille Day

On 14 July, Bastille Day, Pondicherry witnesses an indo - French pageantry.


French Food Festival

'Gourmet', a Food Festival to celebrate the great French cuisine, is organised by the Tourism Department every August. Virampattinam Car Festival

This is the grand car festival of Pondicherry when the decorated temple car is pulled in a procession, with the Lieutenant Governor participating in the ritual. Birth Anniversary of Sri Aurobindo (August 15)

The birth anniversary of Sri Aurobindo, is a holy day in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Fete de Pondicherry (August 15 - 17)

A cultural pageant, coinciding with the Liberation Day and the Independence Day. The brilliantly lit Park Monument makes for a marvellous sight.


St. Theresa Festival (5 - 21 at Mahe)
Isai Vizha (1st week after Vijayadasami)


Drama Festival (13 -19)


Shopping Festival (22 - 31)

Other festivals or fairs celebrated in Pondicherry include Putha Lanthira, Mandolilthira, Koyodan Korothithra, Pandokuloththira, Mandalam vilakku, vishnutheertham, Swamikalyanam, etc. The Mahe district which is situated near Kerala celebrate festivals similar to Kerala like Onam, Vishu, Sri Krishna Jayanti, Vinayaga Chathurthi etc.