December 30, 2015

Just like Irrfan Khan’s character in ‘Life of Pi’, I have always felt very apprehensive about different religions. Some traditions are difficult for me to understand and I also feel they are daunting. This is only my personal opinion; I feel that these customs and traditions take me farther away from God or that supreme power rather than nearer. I had heard about Auroville in Pondicherry and felt that it is certainly my kind of place as I have always felt more inclined to spirituality and meditation rather than religious traditions and worship.
So I decided to go visit it and meditate at the ‘Matri Mandir’. No doubt the experience was totally worth it. I have never felt so peaceful in any temple, church or mosque. I meditated and felt rejuvenated. This is certainly the place for me as my connection with the Supreme is beyond all religions, traditions and customs.  I won’t talk more about what exactly is Auroville, as a better place to read about that is their website:
The Matrimandir model

The way you are supposed to meditate

I took a flight from Mumbai to Chennai and left for Pondicherry by bus. I like to travel by non AC public transport as it helps you get an idea about the place you are travelling to. Every place has its distinct culture, colours, people, clothes and also smells. You need to take it all in. If you don’t smell the rustic flavours of the roads and countryside, your journey is incomplete.
Everyone around me spoke only Tamil; I was lucky to find one couple who spoke some English and helped me with the place I was supposed to get down at. The highway (ECR) was the most beautiful with the beach all along the three hour ride. I met few friends in Pondicherry, who live in Auroville and stayed at this beautiful guesthouse called Avision.
The guesthouse I stayed at

Alejandrina Kohan, Argentina

Stefan Ruefing, Germany
People from all over the world come to Auroville to meditate. This place is flocked with creative people like Rajvi, who is a ceramic artist from Ahmedabad and Vaishnavi, who is an architect from Hyderabad. Artists keep frequenting Pondicherry and Auroville, thanks to the beautiful French colonies and the architecture.
Tea in a ceramic cup

Amidst the serene beauty of this place, I found this delightful place to eat, called Dinesh. It is owned by Subhash; a modest guy who doesn’t care whether I blog about his restaurant or not, but I am writing nevertheless as I loved the ambience and food :P The South Indian style ‘paratha and gravy’ and the egg dishes are a must try. You get free Wi-fi which is icing on the cake, which is another reason for this place to be the most favourite hang-out place of people from all over the world visiting Auroville as they would most certainly have data connectivity issues.
Vinay who works at Auroville showed me around, he was a great help. It was wonderful how everybody knew everyone else in this small universal town. I saw three beaches – the Pondicherry beach, the Bodhi beach – lined with small fishermen boats and huts and the Srima beach – I thought I was a great swimmer, but only the locals can manage the wild waves of this amazing beach.


Fighting the waves

It was just one day before the full moon, and we enjoyed a campfire in the woods.

The picturesque French colonies of Pondicherry reminded of the award winning movie ‘Life of Pi’, which was shot here. I also visited the Aurobindo ashram and the beautiful old churches. The Christmas celebrations were in full swing.
There are lot of restaurants serving wood fired pizzas like Tantos and Brothers Pizzeria. Mango Hill has a great ambience and lip smacking sea food. I also ate at the solar kitchen in Auroville, where the meals are cooked using the solar energy.
Nitin, Shrishti,me, Pallavi, Vinay
Lunch at solar kitchen
Make sure you visit the Auroville store for buying souvenirs. They also have a delectable collection of handmade items and books and the bestseller Eco Femme sanitary napkin, which I purchased. It's a great handmade product which helps conserve the environment. 
I bought some 15 books on religion, philosophy, the Mothers life and Sri Aurobindos life. 

 Visit to buy their products.
It is a great place to visit, at least once in your lifetime. 

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