A walk in peace, a land of universal heart, little did I know how I would judge my stay in Auroville and the binding video.
We drove from Pondicherry to Auroville (part of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu), around 15 km on ECR towards Chennai. Morning Kerala Massage in Pondicherry had done enough damage for the day, visit to Auroville was certainly a dawn. Since I had just a day at Auroville, I wasn’t expecting much to absorb the utopian community. One has to stay for longer to soak the true spirit of the town.
Where to go in Auroville, and still be resonating!
It is an international community, where people from across the world, dwell & work together to build a non-religious and peace loving township that practices harmony & divine consciousness. Auro (‘dawn’ in French) and ville (city), Auroville is founded by The Mother, who was an ardent follower of Sri Aurobindo. The entire township is guided as per her principles.
Nearly 2000 residents with 60% of them belong to foreign lands, Auroville was founded in 1968 and currently runs several programs for schools, organic farming, handicrafts, pottery classes, yoga and meditation inside the tranquil township.
When I probed about how the community functions in present and if the principles of peace & harmony still breathe to one of my local friends, I was informed how things have changed over the years. Some of the guests face bitter experience and residents get robbed, for the town being in a forest, away & scattered. Nothing to be scared. Life is a holy mix of goodness & evil.
Residents call Auroville as an emerging township and a university. It belongs to no one in particular. Immense significance has been bestowed to flowers here.
Visiting Hours: 09 AM to 06 PM
Built near a banyan tree, keeping the Indian beliefs, Matrimandir is an experience to behold from a far distance. Before one takes a long walk to Matrimandir, it is mandatory to watch a small introductory video in the hall about the ideation and construction of the meditation hall. From the Visitor Centre to the Viewing Point is an approx 10-15 minutes walk.
To visit the Matrimandir Inner Chamber, one has to make prior booking at least 02 days in advance by physically being available at the centre. Called as the peace area of Auroville, the structure is worth an experience.
Passes for Matrimandir Viewing Point- 9.30 AM to 4.30 PM and on Sundays 9.30 AM to 01 PM only. Entry is free of charge.
In-house handcraft stores of Auroville sell cotton clothes typically dresses as well as some of their own range of natural skin & hair care products, handmade stationery, and home decor. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the stores. Everything is pretty much handmade by the local craftsmen.
Around 1 km away from the Auroville’s Visitor Centre, Green’s Kitchen is a vegan’s paradise. Open from 09 AM to 09 PM, operated by a foreign man, the kitchen dishes out Indian, Continental, Italian and French meals. It’s a homestay with mixed dorms and family rooms costing from INR 300 and INR 1800 respectively. There is a small kitchen employing the local people.
How I loved everything about this coziest cafe! Located close to Auroville Bakery, Kofi Bar is a must visit for some delicious quick bites and a sound slumber. It is open from 10.00 AM to 8.30 PM serving one of the best cold coffees here. Do try Ole Tapas with melted cheese. The lady operating the cafe was really hospitable and captured some amazing moments there.
The wide stretch of quiet, serene beach of Auroville asks for an intriguing evening stroll by the Bay of Bengal and bewitching sunset. Go over the weekdays.
How to reach Auroville
Take the bus from Pondicherry Bus Stand to the Auroville Visitor’s Centre from any of these timings convenient 7:30 am, 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm and return to Pondicherry at 8:15 am, 2:15 pm and 5:15 pm. One can call at Auroville Taxi Services also for car hire or rent a bike from Pondicherry.
Chennai International Airport is the nearest airport to Auroville. It takes around 03 hours to reach Auroville from Chennai. Take a bus from Guindy Bus Stand, Chennai straight to Auroville Junction and hire a local taxi.
It’s definitely not a day’s affair. Go with all your heart & time. Later is imperative. Grab some volunteering activities, smile & wolf down local vegan meals.
When you head to Auroville, sink in the laidback nature of the town & blissful living.