Auroville is an experiential spiritual community and is located around 10 km north of Pondicherry. It lies in the Villipuram district of Tamil Nadu, and faces the beautiful Coromandel Coast. With a population close to 2200 people, Auroville is basically an international township with residents from over 43 countries living there.
Auroville means ‘the city of the dawn’ and was founded by a French lady who was called ‘The Mother’; and was the successor to Shri Aurobindo, a well- known spiritual leader. The town was founded by her with the aim of creating a place which was a symbol of human unity.
Auroville is well-connected by roadways and railways. Hiring a cab from Pondichery would cost you around 250-300 bucks (depending on your bargaining skill 😉 and is the closest place from Auroville (around 10 km). However, if you are coming from abroad, you may take a flight to Chennai, which has the nearest international airport. From Chenai, you have two options before you. One, take a cab for Auroville from Chennai, which usually takes around 3 hours to reach Auroville. If you are a backpacker, take a bus from Chennai to Pondichery, and from there, hire a cab for Auroville. There are buses at regular intervals and you won’t have a problem using the second option. In addition to that, it would also save some bucks!
Staying in Auroville would not be a problem and you may find accommodation ranging from Rs.300 a night to Rs.3000 per person for a night. Do find out from your guest house whether they have included the daily contribution, which is Rs 100 which visitors are required to make for Auroville or not. The amount you would expect on food greatly varies with the place at which you are having your food. Eating at the Solar Kitchen would cost you Rs 200 for lunch while Rs 150 for dinner; except on Sunday, when the price is a bit more. Please note that cash would not be accepted at the Solar Kitchen and you would be required to pay via Auro Card, which is just like a debit card. You deposit a cash amount at the counter and use your Auro Card to make payment.
Auroville is quite spread out and you would require to take a bike or a bicycle at rent. You can rent a bicycle for around Rs.25-40 whereas renting a motorbike would cost you Rs 100. This can make moving around Auroville a lot easier.
The Visitor’s Centre in Auroville remains open from 9 am- 5:30 pm and you would get a detailed video tutorial of what Auroville is all about. The Matrimandir is not easily accessible and you need to make a booking in advance (around 2 days), in order to visit the Matrimandir. The place is full of calmness and serenity and going to Matrimandir would definitely refresh your body and soul.
Apart from the Matrimandir, there are various local events taking place in which you may take part in, and enjoy your stay at Auroville. The Auroville beach is also a place where you could go out and soak in the serenity of the beautiful Coromandel Coast.
However, Auroville is more about what you ‘feel’ there rather than what you ‘watch’ there. So, those looking to bring in lot of fresh and positive energy into their work-laden lives, must definitely spare a few days time to visit this calm and soothing place!
An arts student at Allahabad University,he is an avid writer and also takes a keen interest in reading; his favorite genre being science fiction.
He plays cricket, football and basketball; his fidelity lying with cricket. He remains sanguine irrespective of the circumstances around him.