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Auroville - The Universal Township
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A universal township with almost 50,000 people from around the world... A place of unending education, of constant progress, with youth that never ages.
A charter that’s one of the most idealist - “Auroville belongs to nobody. It belongs to humanity as a whole.”
And the place actually lives up to its manifesto! A traveller with an ecologynomical inclination had to check it out.
Twelve kms away from India’s largest union territory Puducherry is Auroville...
Named after Shri Aurobindo, a nationalist, scholar, poet and evolutionary philosopher, Auroville was founded in 1968.
The central principles of this international experimental township were delineated by Mira Alfasa – a French woman affectionately and reverently known as the mother.
It seems that most folks don’t arrive with the intention of settling down here – but then they find themselves drawn to the ethos of Auroville – “To live in peace and progressive harmony.”
Auroville doesn’t really have any public transport so you can rent two wheels for Rs 20/ - to Rs 40/- per day or travel for free on your own two feet!
But before you pack your bags and plan a holiday to Auroville, here’s a vital piece of advice – Auroville does not promote itself as a tourist destination.
Visitors who are interested in this alternative lifestyle are encouraged to stay for a week or longer, and help out within the community in their time here.
On the other hand, Auroville does welcome everyone who is interested in its larger message. And as an eco-traveller, I was fascinated by the workings of this conscientious community.
It’s all about red, red, red and green. That’s what a friend told me and I understand why – a few shrubs and the red laterite soil, that’s all there was around here three decades ago.
Now Aurovilleans have added many splashes of colour to their 20 acres of land.
The architecture is imaginative, whimsical, fun – but above all appropriate. Every home in Auroville conforms to specific goals of appropriate architecture.
The building are climate-conscious and use local resources – it’s an enthusiastic attempt to minimise environmental impacts through an efficient use of materials, energy, and development space.
Landscaping a garden to complement the natural flora is as essential to Aurovilleans as designing a home.
Each of these flowers have been renamed and endowed with a special significance - Consciousness, existence, life, light, power, bliss – all symbols of higher living.
Auroville has been an eye-opener – while I’ve been to several lodges, B&Bs, hotels that incorporate ecological design, this is the first community I’ve seen where people try to ingeniously integrate this sustainable design in their homes.
And it’s an incredible mix of hi-tech modern green design with age-old traditional architectural wisdom.
For visitors and residents there are about 15 eateries with cuisines from all over the world and even a shopping arcade which is an ecologically conscious shopaholic’s dream come true.
Bags, accessories, clothes, pottery, lamps, candles and lots of musical instruments...the racks are filled with objects mostly handmade by Aurovillians.
It maybe a sticker shock though if you’re travelling on a budget.
So what attracted me to Auroville first up?
As you log onto their website, the page opens with the following quote: "Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.
The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity."
And what makes me want to go back?
The realisation that it truly is an evolved community that has grown in absolute harmony with the land... Now this for me really is a very Big Deal!
Courtesy: The Statesman
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