Sunday, January 22, 2012

Auroville: A City For Humans To Unite


Auroville is a remarkable place, its heart marked by the Matri Mandir. It's a shiny globe, reflecting the sun, each of the petal on which it is mounted is an expanse of greens manicured to the hilt. From the sighting spot you rest under a tree and take in its beauty and wonder what would be the experience inside. Well you can book a time in advance here, there are certain days on which concentration is not available but on most other days after a brief cleansing ritual you might get an opportunity to go inside and concentrate.

The geographical center of Auroville is a banyan tree. It was a lone tree on this once barren land that is now a lush green wooded city. This is a continuously evolving city, with a motto

 

"Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity."


We went to the visitor's center and got our permissions to see the place. Walking thru the woods to see the Matri Mandir, at every few yards there were people to guide visitors.

We briefly rested under the Banyan tree

The entire walk is shaded, sometimes thru pergolas 

After the Matri Mandir we returned to the visitor's center, starved and ate at the cafeteria only after satisfying our appetite for shopping first.

My loot from Auroville, pottery distinct and characteristic

I also bought cotton shirts for the men in the family and a lace top for my SIL. I picked a beautiful pair of pearl earings for myself. Everything here has a melting pot effect. The influences of the 40 different nationalities of people living here is clear in the charachter of Auroville.

The food is continental at the cafeteria and we gorged on the superb platters, one of Rice croquettes with caponata sauce, salads, soup and a payasam and the other of  Mushroom tart, salads and potato wedges. This washed down by lots of lemonade. We polished of the meal with a caramel custard!

We wanted to see more of Auroville but because of the misinformation that vehicles are not allowed in Auroville we did not hire a cab for the entire day and that made it difficult for us to move around. Auroville's main roads does permit vehicles and it is a huge expanse so you do need a vehicle to go around. In the  wooded areas only bicycles are permitted. If you know cycling nothing like it. Else if you are like me who can't then you must have your own\ rented vehicle or walking around to the far corners is out of question. I know there is more to Auroville to be explored at another time...

That evening we came back to Pondi and spent rest of the time at the Promenade and  the by lanes of the French quarter.

2 comments:

evolvingtastes said...

Ever since I was a child, I have always wanted to visit Pondicherry! Lovely pottery you have bought.

Anjali said...

ET you must visit Pondi, it is very laid back and if you love architecture then there is lots of the French style here and some contemporary in Auroville. Picking up pottery in Pondi was on my wishlist since ages as its the best in India!