Roots

A trip was necessary before Post Graduation started.

In the summer of 2010, both of us accompanied Manas to Pondicherry.

The water in the train, Delhi-Chennai, July 2010
Rickshaw puller, Pondicherry, July 2010
Old man, Pondicherry July 2010

A train from Delhi to Chennai( two days and one night), buses leave every fifteen minutes from the bus station in Chennai to Pondi.

Pondi was invariably French. Situated in the south of India, Tamil Nadu, this Union Territory is a part of what is called French India in history. The names of the roads were in French. The french quarter was clean and well maintained. A lot of chic restaurants and places to stay. L’ecole (school in French) still existed and there was a very amicable existence of both cultures.The influence is evident in the architecture of the french quarter.

French Embassy

The French Embassy was bright yellow whereas white and grey colors dominated the rest of Pondi’s French Quarter.

French Festival, Pondicherry, July 2010
Home in the jungle
Home in the jungle
Chilling Area, Johnny’s Capsule, Auroville July 2010
From the Johnny’s Capsule, Auroville July 2010
The bathroom and the Shower

I moved to Auroville in the next few days. Evergreen Community  was base and I lived in the The Johnny’s Capsule for almost a month as I volunteered in a cottage industry. I spent the days exploring the beautiful culture of coexisting here in harmony. Beautiful spots and art is in abundance here.

The approach to day to day life was unique. Self sustainable and eco friendly, Auroville taught me the essence of breathing fresh air every morning.

Garbage was disposed by segregating them into wet, dry and bio degradable. The toilets used saw dust instead of water for cleaning and the shower was into nature.

Matri Mandir from the Financial Centre

The Matrimandir was another marvel. A dome made with gold plates, the purpose of this place was meditation. It might be called pretentious but no one cannot deny the fulfillment of meditating.

With the Luna no place was unreachable. Bikes can be hired in Pondi or in Auroville for as less as INR 150 per day.

You money would be transformed into a debit card like usage at the Financial Centre. This can be used for all transactions inside Auroville.

A tree house in the Youth Centre, Auroville, July 2010
Information board, Youth Centre, Auroville 2010
A run down bus, A chilling area, Youth Centre, Auroville July 2010

Off beat and inspiring, the one month passed by way too fast. Living in a tree house, with the full moon shining bright, to waking up with a bat on the mosquito net, Auroville was ideal in various ways before the city busied me.

I traveled in July-August 2010

Notes:

Where: Chennai-Pondicherry-Auroville

How to Reach: Flights and Trains are available till Chennai. We took the Duronto Express.

From Chennai bus station, buses leave every half an hour to Pondicherry

Hire a bike in Pondi and zoom off to Auroville.

Stay: Pondi’s The Promenade opposite the Gandhi Statue is a good spot. With the beach in front and rooms with all amenities, this is ideal.

Auroville’s Evergreen Community managed by Natasha and Tamar is a friendly, green community with cottages and tree houses and a community kitchen. Prices start INR 375 (INR 75 goes to the Ashram): tamaramir@auroville.org.in

Eat: Pondicherry ‘s French quarter has quite a few interesting food joints. Coffee.com was run by a Tamil couple who not only had great coffee but also the provision of broadband.

Madame Shanthe’s had pizza,pasta and a rooftop cafe with the breeze blowing at your face.

In Auroville, the Auroville Bakery bakes fresh bread, cakes and has a good ambience for breakfast. Their food is wrapped in bio degradable paper and is a naturalist’s way to start the day.

The tourist centre also has good selection of world cuisine.

The Solar Kitchen serves food to all using solar power and is quite a feast.

Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year. Plan well and zoom off. The summer months could get hot. Consult the weather before planning.

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