Continuing from Part 1 from our week in Auroville, this was our first full day in Auroville, and a full day it was. The previous evening over dinner a few of us talked about waking up early to go for a bike ride around Auroville, as a way to explore a bit and to maybe even catch a glimpse of the Matrimandir. Waking up at 6am, I roll out of bed, throw some clothes on and wandering over to our meeting spot under the banyan tree. Sitting by myself I wondered if anyone was going to show up, or if I should just go back to bed, but then Josephine and Neha walk over.
We burrowed some bikes and began our peddle around this township, ensuring to make a mental note of the path we took. Along our ride we came across the Matrimandir and peeking through the fence we were able to witness the sun rising up behind it. As we were riding I couldn’t help but think that merely 48 years ago this whole place was barren except for a couple trees. Yes the ground we were riding was original red dirt, but the trees, bushes and shrubbery wasn’t here when they first settled here. It’s amazing to see how far they have came in such a short period of time.
After the ride we had some much needed breakfast and made our way to the visitor centre. Here we had a look around, but more importantly we secured our spot for a visit to the Matrimandir. Unfortunately because our class was 16-18 people, some of us had to go one day and the rest the other day. I really wanted to make sure I was part of the Saturday crew, which I’ll explain why in that post. Once all those formalities were completed, our bus arrived and we were treated to a little guided tour of Pondicherry. This included a trip to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, who’s vision helped shaped Auroville. If I’m to be completely honest, I felt a bit like a fish out of water here. This Ashram is quite a spiritual place, with many people meditating. People were talking of the energy felt, while I myself didn’t feel anything. I have “tried” meditation before, and by “tried” I mean I attempted it once for 5 minutes but couldn’t do it. Anyway, our trip in Pondi included some lunch, which was my first proper Indian cuisine, and a quick visit to a pretty cool church.
Our last major stop of the day was to an orphanage our tutor and his partner were involved in, and probably still are. First arriving we were greeted by all the kids, ranging from I’m guessing 5 years old to 16-17. While in Pondi our tutor’s partner purchased some drums and head pieces for the children, so that was the first order of business. Something that I will remember are the reactions from the children to my camera, the poses, the smiles, it was pretty cool.
We snuck away from the orphanage for a little bit as our tutor wanted to talk to us about the place, the orphanage and a couple projects he is working on. Probably because I’m writing this months later, I can’t remember much of the specifics that we talked about. Our tutor did take us to a project within the orphanage that was under construction, talking about simple design strategies when you don’t have big budgets. With the sun setting though we headed back to where the children were.
While we were gone the children were doing some art, and another highlight was being engaged with the kids and one of the girls seeking my input on what colour to use next. Sometimes it’s the little things like that which you remember most. What happened next was awesome and unexpected! It first started out with two of the older kids, well actually they were 18-19 years old I think, hardly kids. They performed a dance, both individually and then together. Afterwards though a full on dance party erupted and two kids stealing the show in my opinion. Watch this vlog and go to the 1:53 mark to watch a cut of it. We were treated to some dinner and boarded the bus to head back to the accommodation. I think we all crashed pretty early, but not before reminding everyone of another sunrise bike ride…
This article is Part 2 of the That Week in Auroville series where I’ll be sharing the experiences from the trip. To be updated for upcoming articles, be sure to subscribe to the mailing list. To read Part 1, click here. Or click here for the latest-range of articles available. Or if you can’t wait to read what happened, I have a little daily vlog series on the Adventures by Anthony YouTube, so click here to watch them. Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about Auroville, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.