AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!!

Tripoto

AUROVILLE: A place where one realizes the value of human unity, where the motto is To live above caste, creed, religion and Nationality. A lot has been said and heard about how Living in Auroville kinda changes your approach to living. Being an architect by profession, and hearing so much of its wonderful architecture I planned a trip to Auroville-Pondicherry. Time between October to December do seem like a perfect time to visit because of its Pleasant climate. A week seems like a good enough time that can be spent here.

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 1/22 by Rishma Jani

I took an early morning flight from MUMBAI-CHENNAI. journey from Chennai to Auroville is almost a 3-3.5 hr drive. so before that you cannot miss to indulge in a heavy traditional South Indian breakfast with filter coffee to kickstart your vacay...

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ACCOMMODATION & TRANSPORT

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 2/22 by Rishma Jani

A lot of standard options like villas and hotels are available in Auroville. I opted for the Youth Camp ( guest Accommodation) located in Kuilapalayam. Options for dormitory and private rooms are both available which are not too heavy on the pocket. Wifi, washing machine, are some of the basic amenities provided here. [youth camp: (0413) 2622357/9443647530]

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Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 3/22 by Rishma Jani

Cycle/Scooter/Bike required for daily commute are also available just outside the gate compound on per day cheap rates.

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ESSENTIALS: People living in Auroville give an impression that AURO CARD is a necessity in Auroville. this card can be collected against a 500

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 4/22 by Rishma Jani

rupees deposit, and loaded it with cash at the financial services centre. But apart from Solar kitchen and La Terraza all other places accept cash.

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PLACES TO SEE.

When in Auroville, one does tend to miss out on places, simply because of the different structures being in varied hidden spots covered with thick vegetation. but to make your journey worthwhile these are a few places that should not be missed.

HERE IS A LIST OF TOP 12 THINGS TO SEE IN AUROVILLE:

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Watch the Sunrise at ECR

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 5/22 by Rishma Jani

if you are a sucker for sunrises you definitely cannot miss getting up in the mornings, heading to the East coast route and sitting on the beach and watch this beautiful Sunrise. That feeling of Calm and Quiet is the perfect start to your day.

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VISITORS CENTRE

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 6/22 by Rishma Jani

Visitors Centre is the first stop one should take once reaching Auroville. It solves alot of ones queries related to places to see, Matri Mandir registration, etc. they provide leaflets and brochures that list down weekly events/ workshops/ movies that one can participate in. Introduction to Matri Mandir too is provided here.There also lies an Exhibition space, shopping line and a number of Small cafes like Dreamer's Cafe where one can enjoy a cold coffee and light binging.

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MATRIMANDIR

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 7/22 by Rishma Jani

MatriMandir is called soul of the city and is situated in a large open space called Peace. it is in the form of a huge sphere in Gold surrounded by twelve petals. It was initiated by The Mother of Shri Aurobindo Ashram. The important thing to remember here is to take a prior appointment to visit the next day as the slots are limited per day. Also, for the first timers, they are only allowed in the Geodesic Dome. its only from the 2nd visit, can the visitors take advantage of the personalised meditation in one of the 12 petals that radients different energies like Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power,Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony, Perfection.

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SADHANA FOREST

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 8/22 by Rishma Jani

Sadhana Forest is an international volunteer-based not-for-profit organization that aims to teach local citizens and volunteers about environmental renewal and sustainable living. The project also targets reforestation and water conservation. Sadhana Forest works as a long-term sustainable development project. on every thursday of the week, the buses pick the visitors from the solar kitchen and take them into these forests.

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 9/22 by Rishma Jani

Here they demonstrate the ways and methods in which these volunteers work, clean, cook ,etc with traditional and solar techniques that are effective.volunteers all around the world come to Sadhana Forest every year, stay and serve for a brief period ranging from a month to 6 years.its a MUST visit.

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SOLAR KITCHEN

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 10/22 by Rishma Jani

The Solar Kitchen has been designed as a major collective kitchen for the Auroville Community and it has been serving lunches in its Dining hall and even to different outlets like schools or individuals.

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AUROBINDO ASHRAM

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AUROBINDO AUDITORIUM AND BHARATNIWAS

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Bharatniwas and Aurobindo Auditorium are both fully crowded with open air outside and inside cultural programs that are held in Auroville. it is widely used for artistic and cultural events, conferences and seminars, dance classes, theatre workshops and film shows. In the late afternoon and evenings this is the place to be.

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AUROVILLE EARTH INSTITUTE

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 13/22 by Rishma Jani

For 28 years, the Auroville Earth Institute has educated and empowered people to build their own dwellings using earthen techniques. This is a joy ride for all the Architects.

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 14/22 by Rishma Jani

They also provide loads of training programs, construction technique workshops, Bio climatic Earth workshops, earthen construction techniques, particularly Compressed Stabilized Earth Block (CSEB).

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AUROVILLE BAMBOO CENTRE

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 15/22 by Rishma Jani

At Auroville Bamboo Research Centre a lot of workshops and seminars are held for students, artisans, farmers, professionals and any other persons interested in bamboo products, construction and design.Research and development in terms of new bamboo products and finding sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives. Volunteer work and Farm research for growing Bamboo efficiently in existing climate is also carried out here.

A very interesting place to wander around in!

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THE LAST SCHOOL OLD

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 16/22 by Rishma Jani

The old Last School is difficult to locate as its way in the interiors of Auroville. it has a clusture of structures inspired by the pyramids, mushrooms, etc. the Amphitheater is the most beautiful element of the complex.

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THE LAST SCHOOL NEW

PRIMARY SCHOOL

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 17/22 by Rishma Jani

Last School, located now in the cultural zone since July 2014, is a middle/high school which has existed in Auroville since the year 1985.

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SECONDARY SCHOOL

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 18/22 by Rishma Jani

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INTERNATIONAL HOUSE (WASTE HOUSE )

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 19/22 by Rishma Jani

This structure is my Personal favourite. it has been completely conceptualised and executed with the use of Waste materials. It is very close to the Youth camp and the route to the tibetan pavillion. This structure also acts as a dorm for a large group of students that visit the American pavillion.

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Other structures that can be visited are Swaram music centre and shop, the Tibetan and African pavillion, Upasana centre, Afsanah houses, Arch Anupama Kundu's Bungalow, Arch Mahesh's Bungalow.Watch documentaries every night at 9:00 pm at the MMC Auditorium and Cinema Paradise at the Town hall.

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FOOD

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 20/22 by Rishma Jani

Breakfast : Auroville Bakery, Dreamer's cafe, La Terrace Cafe, Marc's Cafe roast and taste. Bread and Chocolate

lunch & dinner: Tantos, Frite's Corner, Le sigdi, The Greek cafe and restaurant

Organic food : Solar kitchen, Sadhana Forest, Solitude farm fresh.

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PONDICHERRY

Pondicherry is 30min. from Auroville , So if you have a day to spare, one can spend it in Pondicherry, here are a few places to see:

GOLCONDE HOUSE

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 21/22 by Rishma Jani

GOLCONDE House is a treat for every Architect. it is the first RCC structure of India and is the start of Modernist architecture in India. it serves as a old age home and you need to take prior permission to visit the structure as usually the permission is not granted. Manually movable louvres, the rough concrete walls, wooden doors and the detailing in the interiors are a treat to watch.

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Other places to explore include Memory of the World Museum, promenade beach, French War Memorial, Chunnambar River, The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Paradise Beach. Cafes: Cafe des Arts, Baker Street, etc

Photo of AUROVILLE: UTOPIA and more...Quick Guide to a week full of Wanderness!! 22/22 by Rishma Jani

The colourful lanes on Pondicherry remind us of the Small French houses that we see in Goa. it is alot of fun exploring these narrow lanes. cafes, shopping boutiques in these lanes are a treat to enjoy.

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GO VISIT AUROVILLE AND PONDICHERRY WITH A PACK OF YOUR BESTIES AND SATISFY THOSE WANDERING INSTINCTS!!! :) :) :)

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