Post Breakfast sudden showers at Pondicherry!!
A day out for me sometimes gets exciting during the rains, even though there is no doubt rains can make things quite inconvenient, especially it can make things difficult for one to reach a familiar point of location when you have travelled to a new place and your dependent on auto transport in places like India. This particular day post our breakfast at H2k spot coffee and tea eatery, there was a good rainy downpour at Pondycherry. That rain resulted in our hotel’s wifi connection to go off, so indoors at the hotel there is nothing much to do without net. Ofcourse, I could have read a book I found the next day in the hotel lobby’s bookshelf, “A street Cat named Bob” by James Bowel, but well that idea did not strike me.
Dripping Day still but we headed to Auroville, maybe stupidly?
I generally prefer checking the weather before leaving but this day both my wifi and cell’s data connection was not functioning and so, when the rain stopped for a short period of time we left to check out Botanical gardens this day, but it was closed, so we directed the auto guy to take us to Auroville. Soon enough, during the drive only it began raining and we were thinking about whether we would we get autos back to come back from Auroville in this rain?.
Already, everyday at Pondy we were spending money, a lot for auto, food and even the hotel we were staying and we may have to pay even more premium rates to get some transport for coming back if it keeps raining. Also, being a lady and in a new place without guarantee of assured back transport, kind of makes one tense, but there was no issue in the end, and had a lovely time checking out Auroville in the rains indeed!! Or atleast some part of it.
Feeling the Green Sustainable vibes of the Auroville Township Centre
Post one point where bus stop to Auroville area is reached, the drive to the Visitors Center is pretty cool as there is a lot of green urban forest environment about, the drive is enjoyable!!
This itself gave out the vibes of why Auroville Centre is a special place, I am really looking forward to staying over there for a few days hopefully this year, as to experience Auroville, one really needs to stay over there which I have n't yet done. However, I know it’s a sort of place that’s diverse, sustainable, green, it will give you a lot of interesting experiences with opportunities to volunteer and learn or just check out stuff like solar powered kitchen and compost toilets where the human waste will be naturally composed and you use dry toilets, there is less need to use water in these toilets. It sounds super exciting to me.
The road leading to Auroville Centre, was having restaurants and some hotels. Soon, we bade that auto guy goodbye when we made the decision to not retain this fellow when we reached the parking entrance of the Centre. I was pretty sure we could find an Auto to take us back, else we pay more and get a cab to drive us to Pondy. A must mention is the utter inconvenience one has to experience to reach Auroville. There is no direct bus from Pondy to Auroville centre, so you are forced to take auto, cab. You can get a bus to Auroville area (not sure the area name, maybe its ECR junction), but from there again you require an auto to go to the Centre as its some 2 km distance from there. Ofcourse, if you can ride a motor bike, things can be awfully cheaper at Pondy as you don’t need to use the services of these damn autos to get from one point to the other for sure, they charge a lot!!
I am not happy with the transport options to Auroville, they sure can arrange a bus to take one directly from the Pondy bus stand and the reception helpdesk at Auroville does not seem helpful, even the last time the lady who gave us instructions on something we enquired was not that helpful. I have heard AutoCare services in Pondy arrange for direct bus to Auroville with other visitors but I am not very sure.
The sparling green Auroville Township Campus
During the rains, Auroville Centre was damp and walking around was a nice experience because there was good lush green surroundings there. Ofcourse, Visitors Center and then Mantramandir were the places we flocked to. It was muddy terrain and walking was difficult here with damp mud ground, a van took all visitors to check out Mantrimandir from a distance.
We could walk a bit and enjoy the charm caused here due to rains. My umbrella was really useful tool here, serves me during both sunny and rainy times. Pictures speak some allures of the place.
Auroville Township is all green because of Community Involvement
A must mention is that I think this green environment was actually created by community. You can google and read about this indepthly. I think it’s mentioned that this Auroville center was a barren land and a nice lady who is alluded to as mother set about to make a township here during the 1960’s or something. So, most of the greenery here is manmade, work of volunteer community, how charming is that? .
Also, for those of you who are not religiously inclined, but are seeking for some spiritual alignment, there is something interesting for you and everybody in Matrimandir.
Matrimandir to bond with harmony - no religion concept!!
There is only one religion, that’s of humanity, of peaceful co-existense, of love, community, peace and happiness. Sometimes, I feel, humanity is required, a sisterhood and brotherhood bonded community. Matrimandir does not relate to any particular religion, I think it more relates to a complete connection with yourself at your level around the green sustainable environment of Auroville, I am imagining that it can establish in one a sense of amazing balance and harmony with peace.
If you come to Auroville, and want to go to the Sacred Sactum of Matrimandir, you have to get permission for it in advance. I have heard there is a light inside the Matrimandir and you can experience incredible positive vibes there while meditating. As a normal visitor, we can only view the Golden Gobe from a distance, even it’s buffer surroundings are not accessible to us.
Vegan Lifestyle sneak peek possible at Auroville Township!!
Post this around the area, lots of lovely things to enjoy, including this Banyan tree.
Then drive back to Auroville’s Visitors Center. There are some eating places around and one interesting aspect here is that one gets to check out vegan lifestyle. One popular restaurant,serves exclusive vegan cuisine. Prices there for me was definitely on the higher side, but anyhow we were in a hurry to catch auto and go back to Pondy City, because rain has stopped.
Back landing up somewhere in Pondy to eat tasty Pizza
It turned out I could not articulate to the auto fellows of the exact spot we wanted to be in, with French names, all I know was that the hotel Ala Villa Creole was in White Town, near to Pondy’s railway Station, and I know my way there only from the Promonate beach area. It turned out we were left somewhere near Bharathi park in White Town and for lunch we walked to a wooden over Pizza eatery called Neww Farm Freash.
Generally I am no Pizza loving creature, but I have enjoyed pizzas earlier in Pondy years ago at a place called Cafe Xtasi. I think, it is because these pizzas were wood fried fresh pizzas. The pizza at Neww Farm Freash was tasty as well, again it must be because it’s wood fried pizza. The person over there was courteous and the eatery had conveniences of a restroom too, which was great. The price is quite reasonable too!!
Pondy’s WhiteTown such a contrast from Auroville
Post this, we walked the now, not so nice White town area searching for our stay place Ala Villa Creole, this took a while. As mentioned earlier, this place is not any longer walker friendly, always vehicles pass over, there were signs of the place ruined because of over tourism, garbage, drains, street dogs, too many eateries, I guess all too pricey.
At Auroville Centre, vehicles are prohibited, all the spots you want to navigate, got to be done by bicycle or walk, but I think bicycle is required if you have to keep going to spots that are more than a km away. And at White Town I wish this is implemented, it should encourage navigation by bicycle or walking or cycle rickshaw, it’s so bad these days in most places in India to walk and chill, some needless development work has taken precedence over basic simplicity. That is one reason I just want to be staying in Auroville, to experience this peace, simplicity that’s enough for happiness.
Happiness with contentment in neat simplicity
I already know that food is not my reason for happiness, so why so many restaurants about cornering you at White Town, I can’t keep spending so much money for food every time, once a while it’s fine. Even then, I did get allured to try some eateries, one of which was overpriced and the food and juice was bad...post this I was content having food from the sweet and humble, modest south Indian small restaurant, H2k spot coffee and tea eatery. Sometimes, simplifying life and being content fills you up with happiness, rather than getting allured with all kinds of commercial restaurants about.
Since Pondicherry is a place where people go about checking out food, I would at the end write review of every eatery I checked out, they were really less actually, but still. A big pain point for me in Pondy trip was the cost, it was pricey): , but it still had a nice time there.
More information on Auroville...
Can’t end without posting page of Auroville website which is a reference guide to tourists- https://www.auroville.org/contents/1154
Foreigners are plenty here and that is why there is so much diversity. There are many things really special in Auroville which i have not explored and Sadhana forest is one such special place - https://sadhanaforest.org/
Vegan food and compost toilets are implemented here at Sadhana Forest, if not other place in Auroville. So, according to me for sustainable junkies, environmental enthusiasts and volunteers, Auroville will be a great place to stay, and experience.