The Auroville and Matri mandir

In continuation of my reminiscences from my last holiday, this blog is dedicated to the serenity and peace of the Auroville Ashram in Pondicherry and the beautiful Golden dome of Matri Mandir in its campus.

The first greeting into the campus is the Visitors centre resplendent with artistic photography and abstract sculptures conveying a much deeper meaning to those interested to delve into them. The host/hostess at the reception is most probably a polite foreigner, though there are Indians working there as well, who with a very characteristic gentleness, hands the free passes to view the Matri Mandir. The greeting itself is so polite and peaceful, that it fills the visitor with equivalent ease and relaxation.

As one makes the way on foot through the earthy path leading to the Matri mandir, one is educated at regular intervals of the purpose of The Ashram and how it came into existence through exhibitions of posters and placards at certain places. As the path unwinds further, one is happily led into the serenity of the greenery and gentle landscaping of the place. One can almost taste the peace in the air, cool and gentle as the entire surrounding.

As the destination approaches, one heralds a huge banyan tree with numeous prop roots supporting it from the ground, the symbol of wisdom and meditation. Finally across the bend, the first glimpse of the beautiful Matri mandir can be seen, so happily situated across the sprawling lawns of the Auroville Ashram, distinct with its shimmering golden exterior from the rays of the sun. Its a place solely meant for meditation, to search the inner peace. Open only for 4 hours a day, which I do not think is the right, as how can one bind the pursuit of inner peace in a time limit of 4 hours a day. But it is the rule there so has to be adhered.

The most starking fact about the place is its simplicity. it is the most greenest and eco-friendly complex, as the resident Ashramites who come to spend time in meditation from all over the world, use bicycles for transportation in the huge campus. Everything from the handicrafts industry inside the campus to the prepartion of meals is done with the intent to use the most greenest means without causing any harm to the environment.

It was a relish to visit such a place and witness people living in such supreme tranquility.

Beware of autorickshaws of Chennai

Not that the attitude and customer friendliness of the "autoricks" in the other parts of the country are world class or oscar winning, but Chennai tops the Razzi list in this case.

During my trip to Chennai last winter, I had a thorough glimpse into the same and I was informed by a local friend that has become an accepted norm there. Few of the feathers in their "wrong" cap would be gross overcharging, perennially quarrelsome, and the least bit helpful to tourists new to city. Its as if any amount I pay to the rick driver for his service, it still wouldnt repay the enormity of the service he provides, he is the king of the road boss.

I wondered if there should be some government authority to set some formal guidelines to put things in order but I know the moment this thought came to my mind, the pure absurdity and impracticality of this proposition. The autoricks are the King of the road and in the dearth of public transportation for short distances, their bargaining power would only increase manifold.

My only advice to those planning to travel in Chennai without any fixed plans:-
1. get a Bus route map, travel by buses, the co-passengers are far more helpful than these bloated-ego autorick drivers.
2. Travel by the metro or locals

My first blog

I never understood what hobbies really meant.... something that you enjoyed doing especially in leisure but such an activity keeps on changing with time, situation and place. Therefore I have always wondered do I have a real hobby?
The more I think, the more I am convinced, that one activity that I would love doing through the passage of time or place or situation would be "Travelling". I never quite could satiate myself with the variety of experiences a new travel has to offer. Its more than just the place, its sites of attraction. Its something more deep rooted to a new place, its soul, its culture, its people, its food everything lending a distinct identity to each place so much that the experience at each place is dramatically different from every other place if you really want to experience its soul.
This blog is my novel attempt at sharing the pleasure of such experiences with others. It is also a way to crystallize these cherished memories into a tangible form through this blog. Please feel free to get back to me about any of my posts through your comments and feedback. I would be more than glad to learn about your thoughts and views as well.

travel experiences