On a rainy full moon day, we left the beloved Arunachala hill, still holding a sense of its presence within us. Couple hours in a rustic bumpy public bus with full on Indian tunes, we arrived in Puducherry or Pondi. A coastal French colonial town that draws pilgrims and spiritual seekers to the ashram of Sir Aurobindo and the Mother. But for me Pondicherry was know from one of my favourite movies, Life of Pi.
It was the week of Christmas and we booked ourselves a sweet little airbnb place just at the outskirts of Pondi and Auroville town. It was a beautiful bright room on the roof terrace of the most welcoming and kind hearted couple! From hosts and guests we connected to a friendship and shared moments of soulful chats.
The first day we got locked inside by an unusual tropical rainfall with the lush green nature thriving from the humidity. But the grey heavy clouds began to clear as the next morning rose with peaks of sunshine. And we set on an adventure to explore the close by beach and exciting Auroville.
Auroville is an experimental community that was set up in 1968 by the spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa, also know as the Mother. Her dream was to create a place where from diversities, humans collectively rise the consciousness and come into realisation of unity, living in harmony and peace with themselves, each other and nature. The approach to life, including education, cultural and social needs are alternative, open mined and with spiritual awareness. To a seeking and curious spirit, it sound like a place of ideal community where sustainability, naturalism, health consciousness, environmentalism, creativity, craftsmanship and spirituality is practiced and easily found. Yet we’re all still just the humans on this cosmic dance with our karmas and human flaws, and as much as I enjoyed visiting this unique place and getting excited about the idea, I did not entirely felt it’s energy alining with mine.
Nevertheless, Matrimandir or the soul of the city of Auroville, is something truly magical and a place of high vibrations. Like from a futuristic sci fi movie, set somewhere in the far galaxy, the geometrical round temple embodies perfect peace and tranquility. The architecture of “Temple of the Mother” in Sanskrit, is beyond creative. Made up from gold discs with floating unfolding lotus at the centre of the base. The moment you step in, with the given white socks on the soft carpet, you’re merged in a acoustic silence just with the sound of light purling water running down from the sides of the constellation and towards the lotus underneath. At the centre is the main concentration place with complete absence from the sound. A beam of natural light comes though the ceiling and falls on to the clear crystal ball. One comes to be fully submerged in a deep stillness and peacefulness of the space with the breath softening, the mind unlacing the running thoughts and organic seed of mediation, sprouting.
Auroville also treated us to one of the best shopping experiences for qualitative, handmade and ethical goods from beautiful and special gifts, to essentials of incenses, health foods, body care and anything one really would need. All made by the people of Auroville! And I cannot miss mentioning the delicious cafes one can come across whilst there. From one of the best Italian gelatos to ‘Bread and Chocolate’, a real French cafe with bon bons, sourdough toasts and pastries! All of them with plant based options!
On our journey traveling from the mountains through the flatlands and now being by the Bay of Bengal, with the vast ocean so near, we finally met the salty waters. From the afternoon at the Serenity beach watching the locals enjoying the water as they play with the waves to the long sandy Pondi university beach and ocean swims under the blue sky with the taste of salt on the skin.
And so with another week living close by Chennai and celebration of the New Year, on the first days of January, our ways separated. My trusted travel companion, my mama, flew to Goa and I left India for six weeks in Sri Lanka.