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Auroville – The Drive Down and Stay

A few weeks back I travelled to Auroville. The trip had multiple purposes – I wanted to explore the possibilities of Auroville and I wanted to take a break from work too. So off I went on a split second decision to meet my friend Jos who was staying there for a bit.

The trip was great; I had a good drive down with Siva and Raji, met some lovely people and learnt a lot. Its been a while since I did a travel log and don’t want this to be long, so I’ll break up this post into sections and try to make it pictorial. If you want any specific details, please feel free to ask.

Drive Down

On a wim when I decided to go to Auroville, I checked with Siva if he was driving to Pondicherry to meet his family. He was; so I decided to go along for the drive. On 19th Sept 09 we started at 3:30am and on the way we picked up Raji at Chennai airport (she flew in from Mumbai). Next stop Tiger Caves on ECR (East Coast Road) just after Mahabalipuram.

This is some really old architecture. What I found amazing was the similarity with the Spinx in Egypt.
Do you also see the dolphin rock and the whale?

(One reference to these stone works says they were constructed by Pallavas. Mahabalipuram about 60kms from Chennai was the port city of the Pallavas during 7th – 9th century)

After that I got off at the Auroville turn-off and Siva and Raji headed into town towards home. I made my way into Auroville; I had to find Evergreen Community where I was to meet Natasha and Dave and wait for Jos to return from a meeting.

The Stay

Auroville is a community set up by the Mother (the spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindu). It is a space where the peaceful people of the world can live together is harmony. You can read up more on Auroville on their website and on Wiki.

I walked into Evergreen and surprisingly met Jos (pronounced Yos) at the gate. Jos walked me in and introduced me to Natasha, Dave, Zea and Jasmine – my hosts. I would be staying at Amir and Tamar’s home though, house-sitting for them while they went to Kodaikanal with their two kids.

(From left) Zea, Natasha (From right) Jasmine, Me, Jos

I had a very interesting three days. I visited the Matrimandir, saw quite a bit of the work being done and ate a lot at the Solar Kitchen. Almost all the time I was talking and discussing ideas with Jos, Natasha, Dave and everyone else I met.

I got there on a Saturday afternoon which I mostly spent reading and talking. Sunday morning was spent with the family playing Pictionary and understanding a little more about the workings of Auroville. I was to hire a moped but nothing was available so I borrowed Dave’s cycle and off we went to lunch at the Solar Kitchen (so called because all the food is cooked with solar energy). After that I headed into town to book my return ticket. The rest of the evening was spent talking and we also watched a movie ‘Home’.

Monday saw me head to the Aurore office to speak to Rishi and Hemant. I wanted to understand the work they did with renewable energy. It was an interesting time spent understanding the different projects they ran. Want to know more check out their website.

After lunch again at the Solar Kitchen, Jos and I headed to watch a movie in the late afternoon. ‘The Climate Game and the World’s Poor’ a documentary by UNESCO about how the developed countries have cause climate change but the poor countries like Bangladesh, Bolivia, Kenya and Vietnam will pay the price. It questioned how these rich developed countries would compensate the ones suffering. It’s interesting and I recommend you watch it.

After the movie all those who were there sat and discussed it. That I saw in that circle was that even after watching a movie where it was made clear who was to blame, people thought it was the under-developed countries that had to change their lifestyle. Very few saw that the developed countries need to make drastic changes, especially the US.

Post movie Jos and I had dinner at the Solar Café (a lovely vegetable soup and toast) before heading to the Community Center for a concert. The theme was the world, its people and saving it. The songs were from all over the world and it was fun to listen and watch. Adults and children danced away together. Kids in Auroville are treated as adults. They are not mollycoddled or sweet talked to. They can stay up late for concerts, etc. (this helps parents have a social life) and they interact with adults with child-like maturity.

Tuesday saw me head to the Matrimandir for a short tour and some meditation in the morning. We had lunch at Aurelec and spent a lot of time there talking. Then we cycled back to attend the inauguration of the Auroville Film Festival.
Zea (center) had made a short film that was a part of the festival.

After the festival we headed to the Pizzeria (New Creation Corner) for some dinner. Zea, Jos and I were on cycles, so Natasha and Jasmine went ahead on the motorbike while we took the inner trails with Zea leading. Zea ‘Butterfly’ or my barefoot butterfly knew those routes in the dark. The trails two feet wide wound about through the forest that Auroville is today and she could see in the dark. Jos had a small headlamp and I had a pen torch. Using the pen torch as a guide light I blindly followed Zea. This was the most fun thing I had done in a long time. My heart was beating fast and the adrenaline rush was heady as I almost fell and almost ran into many trees and bushes. Please note though that I did not fall or run into a bush.

By the time I reached the Pizzeria I was on a high and completely in awe of Zea, who lived the wild carefree life. Also I was very proud of myself, not only had I survived the jungle trails at night but had cycled about 15km everyday for three days. That’s something for lazy me.

Dinner done we headed back home to have some desert before I was to leave to catch the night bus back to Bangalore.

A special thank you to Natasha, Dave, Zea and Jasmine for being such wonderful warm people. Thank you Amir and Tamar to letting me stay and getting a real feel of an Aurovillian house. And Jos, words aren’t enough to say thank you for all you did. : )

The following parts will be about the work I saw being done in Auroville, insects and animals, the houses and the Matrimandir. So hang in there : )

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  • I have been to Auroville in 1995 (Born 1970). A road trip on my Suzuki shogun from Nagpur (Home town) to Hyderabad – Tirupati-Pondicherry-kodai-ooty-mysore-bangalore-thanjavur, etc-hyderabad-nagpur.
    I liked the place very much. Currently my website is under construction. All my photos of 15 day Leh-Ladakh trip will be appearing there. You can check the same on

  • Very nice :) Btw, i’d also spent some time with Natasha and Dave a few years ago. Natasha is my friend Oovi’s sister. :) And i’d met Jos too very briefly… coincidentally at the Solar Kitchen over a very nice lunch. They’re all lovely people. :)

  • freya

    Wow… Thats quite a trip on a Shogun. But that bike was fun…
    Nice pics… :)

  • freya

    Yes they are lovely people :)
    I must say its a small world… :)

  • I LOVE Auroville. Spent a couple of months there in 2005. Did you meditate ‘inside’ the Matrimandir? Is is still under construction?

    There is nothing quite like cruising around Auroville at night on a bike! Ahh, the memories. Thanks for sharing Freya! :)

  • freya

    Hi Dan, You’re very welcome.

    This definitely is a small world :)

    I did meditate inside the Matrimandir. Construction is complete. They are now working on the gardens and the lake.

    I’ve been to Auroville twice and both times I’ll had crazy night riding to do. Last time we had hired two mopeds and both headlights gave up on our way back at night. We even went over a snake and freaked out. It was crazy scary but fun. :)

  • Hi Freya,

    I am a travel writer based in Bangalore-

    I happened to come across your blog, today. I enjoyed reading it. I am planning to enroll for one of the courses offered by Natasha & Dave at Convergence.

    With warm regards,

    Sanjay Sivadas

  • freya3377

    Hi Sanjay

    Thanks for stopping by Took a look at your blog, will recommend it to a friend who is into travel. Check his site at

    Give my regards to Dave and Natasha when you meet them.


  • Hi Freya,

    I guess you are talking about Santosh. In fact, there's a Travel Camp happening in Bangalore next month. Supriya Sehgal of Get off… is part of it- In case you are interested here is the link,

    With warm regards,


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