Puducherry had been on my agenda since last three years, every time I planned a visit, something went wrong and I had to cancel it. This year too, I fell and sprained my foot, one month before the visit but I decided to go even though I was in pain.
Most of our time was spend attending 21st Yoga festival. Lectures, workshops and cultural programs drained out three days of our visit but it was enlightening and a good learning experience. Learnt a lot about meditation and the exercises.
During the last two days of our visit, we did spend time touring around the city visiting temples, beaches and also went for a boat ride.
We were staying in the White Town, that has the French influence everywhere. There are bistros and quaint restaurants all along the promenade. It is soothing and comfortable to spend the evenings sipping cups of coffee, dining or walking down, closer to the sea, for an evening walk.
We stayed in the Ashram’s New Guest House and really loved the solitude and the cleanliness of this place. There was a waterfall and rock garden in the center of this house, just outside the canteen.
We spend a day walking around Sri Aurobindo ashram. This Ashram has played a significant role in socio-economic-spiritual fabric of Puducherry. We went to embroidery section, dining hall and also to handicraft boutique.
We were not allowed to click pictures inside the ashram, but it was very beautiful. There was a Samadhi in the center of the compound and great variety of colorful flowerpots everywhere. There was a sweet, heady fragrance of fresh flowers. People sat all around in meditative posture, silent and calm. We entered a small bookstall; the librarian briefed us about the methods of spiritual practice of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and introduced us to some of the books on display.
About 12 kms away from Pondicherry is the Auroville – the town of peace and humanity, we visited the next day. The peace there was, everywhere. Since I had hurt my foot, I could hardly walk but few steps.
The bus dropped us at quite a distance, and I walked slowly with support of my friend into the interiors along the muddy path, passing through nursery of potted plants, into the vast area that housed library, exhibition hall, restaurant, we reached another bus stop, to take the transport towards the golden globe called Matrimandal.
This is the place, one can spend the whole day, walking or cycling. There is so much peace and tranquility. I saw many people cycling around, which is a perfect mode of moving around in this town that can actually accommodate 50,000 people.
I took a jeep to go towards the Matrimandal but it dropped us at the gate and there was yet another long distance to walk.
I walked halfway, but returned to sit down under shade.
Soon my friends came back disappointed, they didn’t know that one could enter inside the dome only after 2pm and a special permission had to be sought for entrance inside the Matrimandal.
The main purpose for visiting this dome is the 70cms spherical crystal, about the size of a beach ball. This sphere sits on a gold plate base in the womb of the Buckyball. The effect is theatrically mystical, with light and mirrors adding to the effect.
Seems like I will have to go back to experience the city of puducherry all over again when I am in better health and have more freedom to explore the city...