Over the weekend, I traveled with three other volunteers for a quick weekend in Pondicherry, a French colony until 1954. On our way there, we stopped the ashram of Guru Ramana Maharishi and the Arunachala Temple, one of the largest temples in South India. Both located in Tiruvannamalai. At the temple, we all got blessed by an elephant! However, we also got a flat tire about 10 minutes later…hmmm! What was suppose to be a 5-6 hour drive became an 8-9 hour journey :(
On Saturday, we went to Auroville, a spiritual town just several kilometers north of Pondicherry. The town was designed to run on Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy of divine consciousness, unending education, and constant progress. 2,000 people from all over the world come to live here and at the center of the city is the Matrimadir, a 30m high globe that claims to have the largest meditation room in the world with crystals that reflects the sun’s rays creating a concentrated light for enhanced meditation. Unfortunately, you have to have reservations well in advance or be an Aurovillian to get in. The concept of Auroville is one of an ideal utopia and it attracts ethereal hippie folks looking for inner peace.
Pondicherry itself is quite charming and you can see only a few remnants of the French – some of the architecture, the street names, and a few restaurants. There isn’t much to do, but I think that’s the point.
Some pics of our trip: