Pondicherry: A place of spirituality, tranquility is truly called an abode of peace and one of the favourite places I had visited in my short travel experience. A perfect blend of east and west this small city has a unique heritage with dual personality. A strong influence of French heritage blended with Indian culture is the essence of this place.Being once the largest French Colony in India, the city still reflects its influences in its architecture specially mustered brick French quarter, cafes, bakeries, old villas, chic boutiques. A seaside promenade along the boulevard is a major tourist relaxation point in this area. Known as The French Riviera of the East the city is also famous for Spiritual connection of Rishi Aurobindo, who was a revolutionary, poet, philosopher and yogi, his Ashram (Aurobindo Ashram) and the international city of Auroville, which is dedicated to the ideal of human unity based on the vision of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Mirra Alfassa.
Pondicherry , officially known as Puducherry or commonly known as Pondy is one of the seven Union Territories of india.It was under French Rule until 1954.Thats the reason french influence is predomonently felt at the every nook and corner of the city.You can hear the french accent in the local languages also. Those who are expecting night life and wild adventure like Goa ,then Pondy will disappoint you. It’s a place where one can enjoy nightlife in an aristocratic way,walking along the Promenade beach in bare feet or riding a bicycle along the streets of White Town , taste the good red wine with french club sandwitches, learn meditation and its power , feel the universal bonding of brotherhood in Auroville and dig into the musical harmony of Swaram(A musical research center).
THE MATRIMANDIR- THE SOUL OF AUROVILLE
The main attraction of auroville is The Matrimandir, a place of a large architectural marvel which features 56 kilograms of gold on its dome along with golden mounts. The building, which glows with sunlight, is widely considered as a harbinger of peace, serenity and tranquillity. The Matrimandir is a middle point of this township and a popular place of interest. The main structure is a flattened sphere, 36m in diameter by 29.5m high , within which is located the Inner Chamber visualised by The Mother. As a tourist you will not find a great deal to see except The Matrimandir and Visitors information Center.To really get acquainted with Auroville , You have to stay in Auroville guest house ( number of guest houses are available and can be booked through online )and hired or own transport is must to travel around the township. Apart from Matrimandir, an information center is there which displays various booklets, literature, three boutiques displaying and selling handicrafts items and garments made in the township ,cafeteria providing meals and other refreshments.
Auroville- A universal township
One of the main attractions of Pondicherry is Auroville,also known as “city of dawn” a universal township dedicated to humanity based on the vision of Rishi Aurobindo and Mother Miraa Alfassa. Auroville cannot be described within a paragraph. If you want know about Auroville , you have to stay, you have to feel the vision and mission of aurovillian who came from different parts of the world to spend their entire life for the sake of humanity. You will find lot many information about Auroville with a single click in Google link but that is not sufficient to feel the essence. I am just trying to give some memorable experiences in a nutshell.
But before sharing my experiences I wish to brief you some information about Auroville which I have collected from Auroville information canter. Hope these small efforts of mine will help many travel maniacs to explore and understand what Auroville is. According to the information center , the project of Auroville , located near about 12 kms away from Pondicherry in South India was formally inaugurated on 28th February 1968 with the aim of becoming an international universal township dedicated to the human unity in diversity. The founder of Auroville was a French lady Mira Alfassa born in Paris in 1978, who later known as The Mother . She was deeply influenced by the philosophy and spiritual connection of the Rishi Aurobindo which compelled her to spend her entire life in India for the sake of humanity. After taking charge of Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry , it is Mother who taken the initiative of the developmental work of Auroville until her demise in1973. Auroville wants to be a universal township 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 realise human unity. On the 28th February 1968, at the inauguration ceremony of Auroville, representatives of 124 countries and 23 Indian States placed soil from their homelands in a lotus –shaped urn at the canter of the future township, in a symbolic gesture of human unity.
Auroville is an expanding community of 2800 permanent residents from India and some 54 other countries .The residents are engaged in a wide range of activities , including research into a cashless economy , environmental regeneration , organic farming, renewable energy , village development, appropriate building technology , handicrafts and small scale industries , health care, education ,cross –cultural communication and many other fields.(sources from the literature available in Auroville Information Center.)