03 April 2016

Auroville: Utopian City

When I first heard about this utopian city in India, it piqued my interest and I thought I should stay. My visit was interesting, with some rough edges, but I’m glad I went.
You can visit Auroville for the day, stay for a few, or, if you want to volunteer, stay for two weeks and help out with a project. Or, you can move there.
It’s a collective community and belongs to everyone. There is an emphasis on education and learning and humanity. It is not religious, but definitely has spiritual elements. And it’s beautiful.
I checked into Auromode Apts, which was cheap and not in an awful location (but not necessarily the greatest either). However, I did not have AC and was pretty miserable in April. I could barely sleep all night - it was just so humid and hot.
I walked down to the Visitor’s Center, where I visited the exhibits, shopped a bit at the boutiques, ate an awesome quiche at the cafeteria, wandered a bit. Then I got to register for the Matrimandir, a golden dome where people meditate. I rented a bike and explored.
Auroville is a big area spread out, and it’s really hard to walk. It’s best to explore by motorbike or bicycle. I enjoyed biking on the trails, being along, just seeing the interesting buildings. The area has a really wonderful vibe. I found myself chanting my chakra seed mantras while I biked, and felt an incredible sense of calm come over me as I biked.
I visited the Tibetan Peace Pavillion, which has a stone the Dalai Lama placed. As I drank a sweet lime soda, I thought about how grateful I was to be where I was. I was no longer working a job that made me unhappy, stuck in a life where I couldn’t figure out how to live my dreams. I was having the space to do things like bike ride in interesting places, dreaming, just thinking, just being. I wasn’t constricted. I was happy. And I hadn’t been happy a lot the past few years, so it feels really wonderful.
I ate a vegan sandwich and then headed back to my room. I know the roads get dark so I wanted to go to my room and relax before things got a bit confusing and dark. I spent the rest of the night working on an article, but unfortunately, it was way too hot to be comfortable, or even sleep. I barely slept on my sandpaper-like sheets and woke up in a pool of sweat.
In the morning, a run on the trails was very tranquil. Soft surface, and I saw a few people walking or biking as a gentle vibe across the entire village made me feel happy. After a shower (pointless; I was immediately sweaty and gross), I went over for my appointment of the Matrimandir.

I arrived at 8:45; we watched a movie about Auroville, and then a few buses took us over to the spot. We waited in one area, then those who had bags checked them. Then we waited in another area, and then another. We got information about Auroville and the Matrimandir, the beautiful golden dome we were about to explore. Silence is necessary, and if you cough, you have to leave. Yeah, that’s quiet.
First we walked around, and then entered and sat around a circular pool made up white marble semi-circles with water pooling over the marble. We were under the sphere, and it was a peaceful lovely place to meditate. Then we went upstairs, where we were instriucted to put white socks on (our shoes were left outside, of course) and then we walked around. Everything was beautiful and white and just so serene. And then we entered the meditation room; dark, but with light from the sky going to a glass/crystal circle in the middle. You could sit on cushions and meditate. Just so peaceful.
And then...a hop on the back of a stranger’s scooter and in a taxi. Short and sweet...but with some interesting elements.

Would I go back? Probably not. I’d recommend staying overnight so you can rent a bike (you can’t unless you are staying overnight) but if you don’t like to bike or have your own, going for the day is good. But you have to reserve the Matrimandir a day in advance, so it does make sense to stay.

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