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Everything you want to know about Auroville in a nutshell

Shining through all the obstacles

Auroville. This is one name given to a lot of great things. Auroville is an idea, an ideal idea on its way to perfection. And this is not a place where you go as a tourist for some sight-seeing. This is a place where you are journeying to experience something really unique, to learn something new, to change one’s life.

Welcome to the Universal Town of Auroville.

Auroville is ideal because it does not belong to anyone or to anything! Even though it is situated near Pondicherry in Tamilnadu, a southern state of India, Auroville is a universal township. And it is an experimental township. A township that stands for human unity, a township where people from all over the world lives in harmony and working towards a common goal.

Auroville was founded in the year 1968 . Sri Aurobindo’s visions are the core ideas of Auroville. Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist turned spiritual reformer. He was a poet, philosopher and a yogi.

Sri Aurubindo
Sri Aurubindo

Mirra Alfassa  known as “The Mother” was the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. She founded Auroville in 1968. This project was backed by Indian Government as well as by UNESCO.

Everything about Auroville is summed up in the words of the Mother in her first public message about the township, “Auroville is meant 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 realize human unity.”

Wherever you go in and around Auroville, you can find the pictures of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. If you can not find any, you are at least 10 km away from the borders of  Auroville for sure!! 😉

 MatriMandir
The Matri Mandir, Auroville
The Matri Mandir, Auroville

If you have been to Auroville, the next thing comes to your mind will be Matrimandir.

Matrimandir is situated at the very centre of the town. This place is the part of peace zone and strict silence is maintained inside as well as outside premises of Matrimandir.

Inside the matrimandir is an incredible and  breath-taking meditation chamber. My first experience inside the Golden globe was beyond words. It is an architectural marvel, from inside as well as from outside. It is said that, the very design was suggested by the Mother which was inspired from a vision she had. The design was perfectly executed by the architect Roger Anger. The great Banyan tree and the largest Crystal ball at the centre of the meditation hall are other important attractions of MatriMandir which you don’t want to miss.

How to Reach Auroville?

Cheapest Way is the Train. Nearest Railway station is Pondicherry. Chennai railway station connects most of the Indian cities. From Chennai, one can get passenger / express trains to Pondicherry.

Buses are available from Chennai to Pondicherry. This is another option.

Lost in translation
Lost in translation

Getting a taxi from Chennai is another option, which is costlier than above options but so much less hassle. For a safer journey you can also find Auroville Taxi Service. The East Cost road is one of the best roads in India. It runs parallel to the sea and the ride/drive will be a great experience to cherish.

Nearest International Airport is Chennai. So Chennai is the main stop for almost all Auroville related travels.

Well Hitch hiking is also an option if you feel like having a little bit of adventure. Especially if you are travelling by bus till the Auroville bus stop. People are very helping and you are sure to get a ride. On my first day at Auroville , mostly I did hitch hiking.

Things to do in Auroville

There are literally plenty of things to do in Auroville. It is definitely not a one day or a weekend trip. Like I said already at the beginning, it is not your usual picnic!

* Volunteering

Auroville is all about Learning and service. And there are a lot of units working based on various concepts like energy conservation, sustainable living, veganism, organic lifestyle, architecture and lots more.  So there are a lot of opportunities available for Volunteering, both short term and long term in these units.  Contact Visitor’s centre at Auroville for short term volunteering and Saavi for long term volunteering.

There are opportunities available for internships also.

More info..

* Workshops

In Auroville, there are hundreds of workshops happening in a month. You just need to know when and where,  and then present there during that time. Yoga, acro yoga, meditation, organic farming, forestation and there are many more workshops.

Jamie giving the speech
Jamie giving the speech

How to find them or keep track of it?

You can find the news letter, a weekly bulletin named as News n Notes from Auroville website. All activities that are planned for the week will be listed in this news letter. Make a note of activities that you are interested in participating before leaving to Auroville. If you are lucky, in News and Notes you might even find a taxi to share from Chennai on your intended day of travel.

* Visiting the MatriMandir

If you visit Auroville and leaves without going to MatriMandir, you are making a big mistake. But you cannot just go there one day, visit and come back. You need to get a pass to go inside Matrimandir. If you are visiting Matrimandir for the first time, for obtaining the pass, you need to physically present at the visitor’s centre to make an appointment. And you might get an appointment on the next day or the day after depending upon the availability. So this process takes at least 2 days. And all the services are free of cost.

The great Banyan Tree
The great Banyan Tree

To get an appointment visit the Visitor’s centre

Monday to Saturday  : 9 am to 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm to 4.30 pm

Sunday                                 : 9.30 am to 1 pm only, afternoon closed.

More info..

 * Movies & Entertainment Programs

There are regular movie screenings happening at Cinema Paradiso at Auroville Town Hall. Some times music festivals and music shows can also happen.

The Music team
The Music team

I have seen a comedy night as well. For all the details again check out the News and Notes, the news bulletin of Auroville.

* Sadhana Forest tour

Sadhana forest is a community in Auroville, who works towards forestation project, water conservation and organic, sustainable living. Every Friday, they offer a free Forest tour, Eco movie screening and vegan dinner.

The forest tour
The forest tour

There will be a pick up and drop service from Auroville Solar kitchen at around 3.30pm every Friday.

This is some unique experience you don’t want to miss out. They even offer volunteering opportunity in the forest. My experience at Sadhana forest was amazing and I already miss that place. I am going to post more about Sadhana Forest in next post.

* Shopping

If you want to take some organic products, organic clothing, bamboo furniture, music instruments; this is the place. Organic Auroville products have a good demand.

My name is Bamboo man
My name is Bamboo man
Accommodation

There are some cool couch surfers, if are into couch surfing.

Otherwise there are many guest houses inside and outside of Auroville. All details can be found here. Or else check with the Visitor’s centre for all details.

There are other private guest houses are also available, like the one I stayed for two days.

My stay for the night
My stay for the night

If you are volunteering with some communities, most probably they will take care of your accommodation.

How to get around

Auroville is a township and so is a big place. When I first visited the place, I didn’t realise it and decided to walk and explore the place. But sooner I realised how vast the whole area is!

Auroville Map
Auroville Map

This is just the straight line distance. All the paths are radial, likes spiralling towards the centre. So it simply means a lot of walking. But you can always hitch a ride as most of the people will be travelling alone on a moped, bike or motor bike.

Modes of Transport
Modes of Transport
Modes of Transport
Modes of Transport

You can also rent a bike, moped or a motor bike to go around and explore the place. There will be a refundable deposit and daily rent.

Selfie with my super bike
Selfie with my super bike

If you are planning on staying for a longer time, it is also a good idea to buy a bicycle if you don’t mind cycling around the place. That will be economical, eco friendly and healthy option. You can always sell it once you are leaving the place.

More details can be found in the following links.

Links

Auroville Website

MatriMandir

Accommodation

Taxi Service

News and Notes

Sri Aurobindo

The Mother

I hope to help you if you have more questions 🙂

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Photographing the journeys to recreate the Travels to take you for a virtual Photo walk.
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89 thoughts on “Everything you want to know about Auroville in a nutshell

  1. yes I do want to volunteer and I am happy through this blog I got a contact for it… I hate to admit it I don’t know cycling or else would have gone by cycle or bike… I will let you know when I plan to go there to volunteer, thanks so much for the generous offer of help…we all need to help each other out to make the world a nicer place for the human community(:

    1. That is what travel blogs do. Right? Giving contacts for the unknown places 😀 Anyway I am sure you will soon tick off the bucket list item and learn to cycle.
      Yes, Indeed we all need to help each others. I have a suggestion too. If you have enough time do check out the ‘couch surfing’ post. Hope you will like it 🙂

  2. I am a idiot I visited Pondicherry and I did not know it had a railway station, I travelled by bus instead and well from Pondy I went to Auroville quite uncomfortably by local bus and auto. Late only I learned from Pondycherry one can visit Auroville through Aurobindo autocare centre. Auroville is a far isolated place so it is scary to go by auto because don’t know if they are taking you correctly but the place is peaceful. The banyon tree is amazing. I would love to do volunteering there… but I don’t find people over there so helpful):…just one lady on the help desk, plus the food is costly there but I guess if we would have saved the auto cost, food would have compensated for it. Really now I feel like a idiot in travelling like fool spending money on auto when I could have availed that pick up from the autocare centre…You are smart… and anyone going there don’t visit that auroville beach, horrible locals there and shameless people and that beach is dirty as well, but please please visit the auroville mandir stuff, it is awesome…

    1. Good to know that you’ve been to Auroville and familiar with getting around by now. I know a few people in there, if you are planning to visit or volunteer there. Do let me know if you have any plans.
      Well auroville food is costly for the non-aurovillians. But you can go outside auroville and eat. I think you can rent out a bicycle next time. Or I can ask some of my friends to help you out.

  3. This is one place I have been wanting to go since long but, till now, I thought it would be small enough …. somewhere to go, *see* and come back!

    Thanks for helping me know more about it.

    1. I guess your list is growing bigger 😀 Dhanushkodi, Auroville.. Well if you are planning a Tamilnadu trip, I think you can cover all these destinations.
      And yes, you are right. Auroville is a not a place to go and see, and come back with some pictures. Hope you will make these trips soon 🙂 Do let me know

  4. Wow !!!! If I can’t visit soon I am going to insist my parents to do it in near future. Just by reading I can feel the tranquility in that place ! Thank you for giving a detailed info about it 🙂 The Matrimandir looks beautiful and such a huge Banyan tree ! Must be something to sit under it 🙂

    1. That is not detailed info 😀 More detailed info is in the travel diary entries. ( Such a self promotion 😛 )
      Yes, you just have to experience it by yourself 🙂

      1. Ofcourse,I have to click the sublinks too which I will on another happy day 🙂 Right now continuing the next link to this series- Sadhana Forests 🙂

          1. Good read and good food, while food can change my moods,
            I have to change my mood beforehand for the best conditions for a read,as I am very selective about reading,I can’t compromise with any type of negative conditions 🙂

        1. I respect your ‘privacy policy” 😀 I though you were somewhere in India and never heard about this place. Indeed it is great to learn about new cultures and new places 🙂

          1. As a child, lived in Chennai. As an adult, worked in Bengaluru. Also went on a ‘travel tour’ to South India. I am no stranger to your parts. As you pointed out, Auroville is an idea and I am attracted to that.

          2. Ah.. so you were nearer to Auroville once! Indeed it is a great place. A different world! Well if you are very much interested about Auroville, you can find travel diary where day by day incidents are written.

          1. I lived in India a couple of years, from 2004. There are so many things you still don’t know yet my dear, I am afraid you’ll have to follow my blog 😉 (what a lame teasing! Bah, blame it on the lazy holidays moods :P)

          2. haha.. nah, I meant that you didn’t go through my blog when I was writing about Auroville in my travel diaries, may be 😛 I have been writing about Auroville all these days and you never said a word. That is what I meant 😉

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