Over the past year, I have been lucky enough to travel to a few places and start living my dream. In the month of June I travelled from Chennai to Pondicherry to escape from the daily routine of working, sleeping, eating and so on. Of all the places that I have ever visited, this place stands above the rest.
In the month of June I travelled from Chennai to Pondicherry to escape from the daily routine of working, sleeping, eating and so on. After reaching Pondicherry, I had booked a cab to reach Auroville (the City of Dawn).
“Auroville is a special and unique place.It is located very close to Pondicherry, a sleepy beach town off the Bay of Bengal. It is an experimental township founded in the year 1968 by Mirra Alfasa (fondly known as “The Mother”), a disciple of spiritual master Sri Aurobindo. This place is built on the principles of peace, harmony, sustainable living and divine consciousness – the philosophy of the Mother. There is no money, no government, no religion, no skyscrapers or expressway. The township is built for 50,000 people, currently having over 2800 residents from over 195 different nationalities.Every year, the Indian government donates more than 2 lakhs USD to Auroville and UNESCO has protected the township since its birth.”
For exploring Auroville, the cab which got me there is not allowed, I had to take an auto rickshaw for Rs. 100 per hour. But it was a pretty good deal considering the hire was for to and fro including waiting time and the driver had acted as a guide.
My first stop was to Matrimandir. It is located in the centre of the township and is popularly called as “The soul of Auroville”. Matrimandir is built in the form of a huge sphere surrounded by twelve petals. The sphere is covered by golden discs which reflects sunlight giving the the structure its characteristic radiance. I had to walk about 1 km to reach the viewing point of Matrimandir as I was not allowed to go inside. This was because Matrimandir was not supposed to be a tourist attraction instead a place for concentration/ meditation for people who believe in Aurovillian philosophy. To get inside Matrimandir a prior booking is required.
After visiting Matrimandir my next stop was Sound Garden – an exceptional place in Auroville. Located a little bit interior area in the narrow and arthen road, this is an unusual place to enjoy and experiment with sounds. This is a living musical garden with best innovative handmade varieties of musical instruments made out of metal, pipes, bamboos and stones and many more to be invented in the workshop adjacent to the garden. It was a treat to ears and eyes and I was amazed in the way the sound is created like the drum that makes the sound of thunder or like the stone cut slabs which if rubbed with wet hands create the most amazing music. The place also has a shop for selling these instruments
From there I had visited Auroville Bamboo Centre. It is a very beautiful place with lot of greenery surrounding it. It is a place dedicated to carry out Bamboo farming, Bamboo related research work etc. and provide employment for locals. A place where bamboo enthusiast try to make everything exclusively from bamboo like soaps, clothes, furniture, toys, jewellery, tea, rice, musical instruments and what not. It proved to be a great learning experience. They also have a souvenir shop selling all the bamboo products.
There are also lot of places to eat in Auroville like Auroville Café, Auroville Bakery and so on which offers both local and international foods. The solar kitchen is a special attraction in this place.
After having a delicious meal, I had ended my day trip by visiting the Auro beach which is famous for clear blue water and tranquillity. I had experienced a breath taking sun set and collected shiny shells in different colours and designs that get deposited here.
Auroville is a rare place where the view is unbelievable, the closer you get more you feel how small we are in the face of the immensity of this wonderful world. The ideal time to visit this place is from November to March.
What impressed me a lot was the beautiful trees, plants, flowers as well as the silence and cleanliness of this place.
I can remember all these experiences, maybe less in detail … But it is impossible to forget the way I felt at that moment.
Overall Auroville is a great place to visit if you want to relax peacefully and escape from stressful and routine life.
Author: Hamsalakshmi Sridhar , Chennai