Insider Guide: Auroville

Long long ago, a friend of mine had mentioned to me about a beautiful town in India where people from different nations lived in peace and harmony. And I remember asking a very simple question- what is Auroville and how do I get there?

Many years later, I got the opportunity to travel to Auroville and I decided to find answers to my many questions which had eventually built up over the years. A little background about it: Auroville was inaugurated in 1968 where people from 124 nations (including all states in India) brought soil from their homelands and mixed it with the earth in Auroville, thus symbolizing unity. Today, it is home to a population of around 2,800 people.

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The quirky piece of art spotted on the streets of Auroville

To make my experience more authentic, I decided to stay at Arka Guest House which is located in the heart of Auroville. To be completely honest, I was not very impressed with the place in the beginning. It gave me a very dull vibe which I would now like to blame on my lack of sleep due to the travel from Pune to Chennai by air and Chennai to Auroville by cab. But turns out I was quite wrong about it. The guest house is equipped with a small library (book lovers, I see you smile :p), a yoga room, a dining room, a barber shop, a fresh pond with hundreds of lotuses, ample parking space, lots and lots of trees and huge rooms for the guests. It is surrounded by forests and you can hear the chirping of birds and crickets throughout the day. You can also go and explore the surrounding outside Arka by taking a peaceful walk or riding a bicycle. (Warning: You’re going to lose your way a couple of times, but not to worry, the people you meet are extremely nice and will help you in finding your way).

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Arka Guest House, Auroville
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The lush green landscape at Arka
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Breakfast time! Arka Guest House, Auroville
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The library houses various books in English and French
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Spotted while on a stroll in the neighbourhood

If you ask me for the list of places to visit in Auroville, I would probably be short of words as there are a few things to actually do here apart from a visit to the solar kitchen and the world famous Matri Mandir. If you are a book lover, you can spend hours reading in the peaceful atmosphere of Arka. If you’re more outdoorsy, you can rent a bike and explore the place (trust me on this, Auroville is huge). And if you are a foodie, there are a number of eateries which serve delicious food (my personal recommendation: Tanto Trattoria Pizzeria). Take a stroll on the Auroville beach and enjoy the evening breeze. This was also my first time on the eastern coast of India. All my life, I have somehow always landed up on beaches which face the western direction, and in the process I have witnessed beautiful sunsets with the sun setting over the ocean. Quite naturally, without paying much attention to the directions, one fine day I decided to go to the Auroville beach to watch the sunset. Turns out, after a while the sun disappeared, just like that. Ah, the lessons nature teaches you!

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Matri Mandir Viewing Point
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Way to heaven? Nah. Way to Matri Mandir Viewing Point
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One of the many moods at Auroville Beach

My overall experience staying in Auroville was much more than I had imagined it to be. I have felt very positive after returning from a peaceful spiritual environment. And I would definitely go back if I ever get a chance again:)

Do you plan to go to Auroville? Tell me about your experiences, as weird as they might be, I’m all ears.

Author: Meghana Rao

Just another person who loves to travel

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