Planning a trip to Pondicherry? You have a day to spare from your itinerary? Check if your trip planner has covered Auroville. A day at hand and there are so many things to do in Auroville.
I have visited Pondicherry many times and many people have shared their experience and travel diaries of this city with me. I never quite got a chance to explore the popular Matrimandir in Auroville. While there are so many things to take part in Auroville the most exciting is the golden orb. I will share all the details herewith.
Auroville, India’s most popular experimental township gathers a community of volunteers who devote their time and money to the welfare of humanity. The city of dawn attracts two types of tourists: the spiritual seekers who want to spend their lives in the township and the curious wanderers like me who head here for a day’s trip. I have included an offbeat travel guide and the best things to do in Auroville – the future township of humanity – in this post.
- 1 Auroville Tourism
- 2 12 Places To Visit And Things To Do In Auroville
- 2.1 1. Explore The Legendary Matrimandir
- 2.2 2. Visit The Auroville Botanical Gardens
- 2.3 3. Register To Volunteer In Auroville Ashram
- 2.4 4. Relish Your Taste Buds At Solar Kitchens
- 2.5 5. Cafe Hopping
- 2.6 6. Auroville Bakery And Boulangerie
- 2.7 7. Recreational Art And Therapies
- 2.8 8. Shop At La Boutique d’Auroville
- 2.9 9. Visit The Auroville Beach
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
Most people find it difficult to comprehend this place; some think of it as a spiritual destination while others flock around to explore the city when on their vacation. Auroville is a township that works on certain firm ideals and beliefs. There are several things about this place that you must know before you hit the land. I will take you through some basic knowledge about Auroville, Pondicherry.
The place is an ongoing experimental township conceptualized by the spiritual leader ‘Mirra Alfassa’, a disciple of Aurobindo and fondly known as ‘The Mother’ of Sri Aurobindo Society. The project was then backed by the Indian Government. On 28th February 1968, around 5000 people from different nationalities gathered under a banyan tree in the center of what is now Auroville. Representatives from all over India and 124 nations brought soil from their homeland and mixed it in a white marble urn. This was the inauguration ceremony of the township Auroville.
This place is the epitome of harmony and proves a perfect escape for those seeking inner quiet. It is an experiment to see how people from different nations, caste, or race come together in an ideal way to transform consciousness. It aims to ‘realize humanity’. The Aurovillians live together on the principles of harmony, divine consciousness, and sustainable living, which was the philosophy of the Aurobindo and The Mother.
How to Reach Auroville?
Auroville is about 10 km from Pondicherry. It takes around 30 minutes to drive to Auroville from Pondicherry. You can fly to Chennai International airport and book a cab to the township which is about 150 km from Chennai. The best time to visit Auroville is between October to February when the climate at its best.
12 Places To Visit And Things To Do In Auroville
From visiting botanical gardens to landmark places, trying out organic delicacies, and shopping at the boutique, there is so much to do when in Auroville.
I started my journey with the most famous structure in the township – The Matrimandir. This place is blissful for nature lovers. Remember to carry an umbrella if you happen to visit Auroville on a sunny day. After parking my car in the parking space, I walked through the botanical gardens and reached the visiting center where you get all information about various activities that can be done in the city of dawn.
I have narrowed down a few more places and thing to do in Auroville for my tribe. Stay tuned and don’t miss reading till the end.
1. Explore The Legendary Matrimandir
The golden orb, Matrimandir is the heart of Auroville. This spot is a meditation center and to get inside for one of its concentration programs you need to make a booking at least a day in advance. The dome is made from 13000 discs resembling the radiating son.
While the inner sanctum of the temple is reserved for registered Aurovillians, visitors can access the viewing point and 12 botanical gardens around this spiritual spot. I have no booking so I will visit the place from the viewing point. You will get free passes to the viewpoint at the visiting center. The view from this place is serene and picture-worthy.
2. Visit The Auroville Botanical Gardens
Spread over 50 acres of land, the botanical garden houses a huge plethora of plants and trees. It also features an artificial tropical forest, a fish aquarium, and a toy train to enjoy a ride through the gardens. These gardens are a paradise for nature lovers and photographers.
3. Register To Volunteer In Auroville Ashram
Aurovillians volunteer to serve the community as they run various visionary programs in the township. They give their time and energy towards a common vision and unite humans in harmony. You can volunteer for temporary placement at a minimum of 6-12 months in programs such as helping villagers, alternative healthcare practices, and organic farming.
4. Relish Your Taste Buds At Solar Kitchens
You will find delicious snacks and meals being served here. However, if you’re looking for a different experience then try feasting at the Solar Kitchen. The majority of the cooking here is done with steam produced from the solar bowl on the roof of the building. The ingredients are grown by organic means, so all their meals are healthy and nutritious.
5. Cafe Hopping
This offbeat travel destination has some amazing cafes and hangout spaces to chill and binge eat your favorite food. Some of the famous cafes you must visit include The Greek Café, Marc’s Café, and Bread & Chocolate Café. Tanto Pizzeria, Sharma Swasti, and Ararat Restaurant are some popular eateries you should indulge in. Don’t forget to try the ice-cream at the nearby stall. I tried a royal bowl of strawberry, cream, and mango in just 100 bucks, delicious I must say!
6. Auroville Bakery And Boulangerie
Auroville Bakery and Boulangerie is the place you must definitely check out. It offers delicious types of French bread and dairy items. All of their products are made from local produce from organic farms. Cheesecake made from Auroville cheese is their specialty; don’t miss it. Sit in the sprawling garden-scape and enjoy your bread and ice-cream there. You also have vegan options to try.
7. Recreational Art And Therapies
Indulge in various activities, workshops, theater, and alternative therapies while at Auroville. There are numerous things to do in Auroville that will enhance your wellbeing and creativity. Many Aurovillians organize classes on art and crafts and sculpting. Yoga and meditation; health spas at Quiet Healing Center; and ayurvedic treatments and massages, craniosacral therapy acupuncture, and beauty treatments at Arka wellness center are a must to experience tranquility at this township.
8. Shop At La Boutique d’Auroville
Take back some memories and souvenirs from the little store located in the township, the La Boutique d’Auroville. They sell some amazing products made solely by Aurovillians. You can pick from lovely clothes, gift boxes, lamps, jewelry, leather bags, candles, and incense sticks here. You can also take back stationary made from handmade paper for family and friends. Wooden keyrings, magnets, diaries, etc. are available at reasonable prices here. You may also shop for colorful hammocks, tablemats, wooden trays, and other exclusive items from this shop.
9. Visit The Auroville Beach
How can one miss the Auroville beach when in this city? Located on the East Coast Road towards Pondicherry, this beach is clean and well-maintained. You can easily lose your heart to this peaceful beach in South India. This picture-perfect beach is a nesting residence for the famous Olive Ridley Turtle. The sight is fascinating enough to behold for a lifetime. You can enjoy yoga and meditation or a cool morning walk by the sea with a hot cup of coffee.
Wandering around the township can make you feel at peace. This place is filled with energy and organic beauty and when you visit Matrimandir it develops four-folds. Pondicherry is famous for its own mood and laid back calmness, but Auroville takes your soul to the next level of inner tranquility.
You can pay a casual day visit to Auroville as I did or stay for a couple of days for a serene vacation. You may indulge in various workshops and wellness therapies they run here. Integral yoga is the main attraction here and you can take up a one day workshop to introduce yourself.
Have you been to Pondicherry before?
If you find yourself in Pondicherry, don’t miss Auroville!
Do share your experience in the comment box below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. If you want to experience the serenity and enjoy a peaceful vacation Auroville is the place for you. The beautiful gold dome, the Matrimandir is the spot to relax and rejuvenate while in the city. If you’re a foodie do feast on the delicious organic food, pizzas, ice-creams, and coffee for a few bucks a plate.
Auroville is the city of the future, an experimental township that represents humanity’s aspiration for goodwill and peace. People come here to relax and connect with themselves as this place is a unique symbol of human unity.
Auroville is one of those places, where you can roam around alone during the day. Long pleasing walks and adventure welcome you in this city. It is not advisable to be alone during nighttime. Consider going into groups after sunset, just to be safe.
If you want to take a small shopping break visit the La Boutique d’Auroville. From keyrings to handmade paper and fridge magnets to expensive colorful hammocks, you’ll find several things that you can take back for family and friends.
To get inside the Matrimandir you’ll need to make a reservation a day in advance, in person at the Visitor’s Center or Pondicherry. Book your spot between 10 am – 11 am and 2 pm – 3 pm any day, except Tuesdays (the golden done remains closed on Tuesdays).
Yes. You may not find flocks of tourists around this place during the week. Over the weekends and public holidays, you see people from nearby places congregating to the Auroville beach. It might get a little unsafe at night.
If you are going to book a guest house in Auroville, you may have to shell out around $20 to $50 per night depending on the type of stay you desire.
You should not miss out on the Matrimandir, Youth center, Auroville beach, Yoga and Meditation, Quick healing center, and Adishakti theatre when in Auroville.