Art, Craft & Meditation


John Lennon could well have sung about Auroville, City of Dawn, when he sang ‘Imagine’. See how Utopian ideas can come to life in the artists’ work and in the bohemian way of life here.

When you combine the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal, a little piece of France, traditional Tamil Nadu and a slice of futuristic utopia you get Pondicherry! Auroville is a living experiment in Pondicherry based on Aurobindo’s philosophy and the vision of his chief disciple, The Mother. People talk of utopia everywhere, but Auroville tries to live it with its Charter that says, "To live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness"!

Auroville is a place that attracts the spiritually inclined in search of peace and equality, the curious visitor interested in the little Gaulish Village experience amidst deep-rooted culturally polar opposite India and those who come here for the art and craft.

Check out the Visitor’s Centre here for the best of art and craft of the resident artists of the place. From scented candles, to bags, from incense sticks to decorative knick-knacks and textiles and food, they have it all.

Explore the meditation centre shaped like a golden globe with a lotus bud centre piece, which holds what people believe to be the largest crystal in the world.

Nothing quite comes up to a bicycle or moped ride around the French Quarter of Pondi (as it is lovingly called) and Auroville to take in the sights of the place and savour the French cuisine and fine wines in the many eating places here..

Creativity knows no bounds in Auroville, the Ashram and its surroundings are ideal for meditation and to meet like-minded souls in search of answers to existence.

Highlights

  • Radical thoughts for peaceful living

Hotels We Like

  • La Villa Shanti

    Situated in the French part of Pondi, La Villa Shanti is artistic in every way. From the hand-made tiles used throughout the property to the quaint light fittings and art work on the walls. A stay here is one of harmony with the 18th century house done up mainly with natural products and dyes.

In the Same Area:

  • Bridging the gap to Nirvana

    Discover the closest point between India and Sri Lanka in Rameshwaram and important pilgrimage centre to the Hindus. In fact, a bath in sea here near Dhanushkodi is part of life cycle for the Hindu, which includes a bath in Allahabad and prayers in temples in both places to complete the cleansing away of sins to attain final nirvana or no rebirth.

  • Catamaran ride on Covelong beach

    Nothing is quite as it seems in Covelong Beach, especially the Fisherman's Cove Taj Resort with its own private beach. The Catamarans are mere logs tied together, but then the term 'catamaran' was borrowed by the English from the 'Kattumaram' in Tamil. Enjoy beach activities in this secluded beach, which can usually be arranged even if you are not staying at the resort.  

  • Eastern Ghat Splendour

    Climb up 1500 m to see the splendours of the Eastern Ghats and the Shevaroy Hill and lake. Poor man's Ooty is a misnomer for this place that is rich in nature's beauty and far more charming in its non touristy way! 

  • Intellectual and film-crazy

    The deep traditional South India travel begins in Chennai. The city is huge and is like any other modern city. From sprawling malls to famous temples and churches. Beaches, events, music, cinema and passionate people make Chennai an interesting halt.

  • Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram

    Enjoy a beach holiday at the World Heritage site with rock sculptures, temples and the white sands of Mahabalipuram. Observe the master weavers of Kanchipuram who work with traditional motifs handed down across generations for the women of South India.

  • Ooty, Coonoor & the Tamil Hill Stations

    Famous colonial hangout from the fierce summer heats and famous for its railway line. Visit Ooty while staying in the charming, quiet Coonoor nearby. Walks around Ooty are picturesque and treks in Coonoor are peaceful with fewer people around.

  • Paintings and Monuments

    Experience traditional South India in Tanjore or Thanjavoor, which has become synonymous for its orante, golden paintings of cherub like Krishnas and other mythological tales. 

  • Pi's Pondicherry

    If Pondicherry seems familiar to you, it may be from the scenes in Life of Pi that was filmed in the city. Explore this outpost of colonial France with its French bread and quiet streets and cuisine before venturing deeper into Tamil Nadu.

  • Splendid Mansions and Spicy Curries

    India’s hottest cuisine spices up Chettinad’s dusty plains and rarely visited opulent palaces. See amazing temple architecture and sculptures in this rich merchant town full of art patrons.

  • The Dravidian heartland

    Visit Madurai to get in touch with the soul of the Tamil ethos. This is the ancient capital that traded with Europeans and watched over the essence of the Dravidian culture. Madurai is synonymous with the iconic Meenakshi Temple with its intricately carved towers that can resemble the pagodas or the Mayan structures. 

  • The Gift of the Forest

    Walk your way through Kodai or bicycle around the lake, spot birds or watch the hills turn blue every 12 years if you happen to be in time for the kurinji flowering. The more adventurous hunt for the hallucinogenic Kodai mushroom or simply enjoy a peaceful stay in the many resorts here. Kodai is home to the endangered grizzled giant squirrel, which is of great interest to nature lovers.

  • The southern most tip

    Kanyakumari is at the southern most tip of India, where the Arabian Sea meets the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean and as expected millions of Hindus come here for a ritual dip. Rise up early for sunrise, which is applauded like a performance by the hundreds who gather for the show. Kanya Devi or the Virgin Goddess and her diamond nose ring, her pining for the Lord Siva add to the aura of the place.

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