What can I say about Pondicherry…I like it more than Goa for sure. This is a small place and has so much to offer to visitors. We flew from Delhi to Chennai, where we rented a car and drove all the way to Pondicherry.
We stayed in Tanto Far Beach Resort, which is near the Chennai border and Auroville Ashram. Tanto has easy access to the beach and is a budget resort. It offers great south Indian complimentary breakfast and has a swimming pool accessible anytime in the day. The resort is easy to find and is a perfect place for both peace and beach lovers.
Find somewhere to stay in Pondicherry here
The highlight and the reason of my visit to Pondicherry was Auroville Ashram. Reaching the place is simple if you are in Tanto and have a vehicle of your own. You can rent a car from Chennai (which I did), or maybe from Pondicherry.
The Auroville city is located 8 kilometers from north-west Pondicherry. Auroville was created on 28th February 1968 as a place where people could coexist in peace and create a progressive harmony. There are almost 2,000 people living in Auroville in settlements named as Grace, Fraternity, Fertile, Certitude and Transformation. The highlight of Auroville is the Matrimandir. We booked our tour inside Matrimandir in advance to avoid the rush at the Visitors Center.
The Matrimandir is spread over 62 acres of Auroville. Unlike what its name suggests, it is not a temple, but a place for individual silent concentration. Once you walk inside the Matrimandir, you’ll feel like you are walking into a Star Wars spaceship.
The inside of Matrimandir is almost a surreal experience that everyone should try. The first time you visit the place, you will be given only 15 minutes. But as you revisit the ashram, the timing is subsequently increased to 30 minutes.
From the inside, the Matrimandir is white in color and has 12 sided white marble inner chamber. In the center is located a 70 centimetres optical glass globe, onto which a shaft of sunlight is focused through a roof-mounted heliostat.
The outside of Matrimandir is made of gold discs. It is a beautiful building situated in a sprawling area. There is also an age-old Banyan tree, which has also become a tourist attraction, near Matrimandir. Photography is strictly prohibited inside Matrimandir.
The residents of Auroville are usually involved in agriculture, administration, commerce and handicrafts, alternative technology, education and healthcare projects. There is also an Auroville Visitors Center, which is open daily between 0930 Hrs to 1730 Hrs.
At the Visitors Center, you can find all the relevant information about Auroville, including books, brochures and leaflets on various aspects of Auroville. You can also see a video on the depiction of the township and the Matrimandir here. Other amenities for guests include boutiques, bookshop and cafeteria.
There are so many things to do in Pondicherry, which unfortunately I did not have the time to do so will have to retur one day.
You can visit the Seafront, the Paradise Beach Island, or even go scuba diving! All these to-do things are on my list, and when I revisit this place, I will surely check them off.
Author Bio : Medha Bhatt is a storyteller by heart and wants to tell her travel tales in every way possible. She believes that every place has a story. She dreams of creating a community where people can share their travel experiences. Neotravellers.com
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