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Arts & Culture of Puducherry

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Like most other southern states of India, ethnicity of the majority of people in Pondicherry is Dravidian.

Like most other southern states of India, ethnicity of the majority of people in Pondicherry is Dravidian. They speak Dravidian languages like Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam. Amongst other crafts, it is beautifully crafted dolls and toys made from terracotta, papier-mache, and Plaster of Paris that make the union territory of Pondicherry almost a byword in the south.

The dolls made in Pondicherry are famous in surrounding areas as Puducheri Bommai (dolls from Pondicherry).

Another famous craft of this area is bronze casting that dates back to the 8th century AD.

Puja lamps made from five metals and known as kamatchi villakku are prized items of prayer with a large number of families in South India. Then there is handloom cloth in traditional designs, hand-woven carpets, hand-woven woolen pile carpets, hand printed textiles (both Kalamkari and batik), cane furniture, handmade paper, and hand rolled incense sticks from the Sri Aurobindo Society.

Music and dances of Pondicherry are mainly extension of southern styles of classical music. Major dance forms are Bharatnatyam and Kuchipudi while Carnatic style of music is the prevalent musical tradition.

Despite its French character, Pondicherry is quintessentially Indian.

The zest for festivals here is much the same as elsewhere in the country.

Mascarade or the Mask Festival is held in March-April when costumed merry-makers parade the streets - the French version of holi in North India.

On Masimagam, the full moon day of Magam in February-March, idols from various neighbourhood temples are taken out for immersion in the sea.

The seafront is lined with thousands of people keen to watch the spectacle.

Indo-French war pageantry is presented on the eve of Bastille Day, a French commemoration. International Yoga Festival is held at Aurobindo Ashram in the month of January every year.

Other important festivals of Pondicherry are Sani Peyarchi Festival, which is organized once in every three years, and Panguni Uthiram in the month of March-April every year. 

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