Allegra at our guest house grounds in Auroville, notice all the trees!!
We have arrived in Auroville. Auroville is an intentional "spiritual" community started by a woman whom they call the Mother. She had a vision of creating Auroville a community which belongs to no one yet is accessible to everyone. The present population is roughly 2000 people and they come from all over the world, with the majority of residents from India, France, Germany, The Netherlands and the United States along with many more nationalities including 5 Canadians. At the geographic centre of Auroville sits a huge banyan tree and beside it, they built this golden globe structure which is supposed to be in the shape of a lotus flower and houses their spiritual centre, where people enter in complete silence to meditate.
Before Auroville was created, the area was . . .
a deforested barren plateau of scrub and brush. The Mother walked the area and saw this lone banyan tree, the only tree growing for miles around and decided this is where she would establish her spiritual community. The area had been deforested by the locals with the help of the British to rid the area of tigers and any other threatening creatures. The result was that they created a barren wasteland that eroded all the soil with each monsoon season. With the yearly torrential downpours, all the topsoil gets washed away and huge crevasses form where water flows carrying away all the nutrients. Now, fifty years later it is a green oasis. It is amazing how nature can heal itself and we were surprised to learn that at one point the area was totally deforested.
When we arrived we immediately went to the information office which specifically helps visitors to find a place and get new arrivals set up. Although it was closed for lunch, it opened up a couple of hours later. This was fine, as we were hungry, and immediately went down to the restaurant and enjoyed an excellent meal. Soon enough the visitor centre opened and we headed back. The gentleman working at the desk was great: he asked how long we wanted to stay and immediately made a few phone calls and we were in luck, space was available at a guest house just a kilometre down the road. This guest house had a room for three nights. We decided this would be a great place to stay over Christmas so the gentleman said he would find us a different guest house for the remaining three days.
We hiked up the road, packs and all, and successfully made it up to the guest house. It was brilliant! Breakfast, lunch and dinner were included along with bicycles and laundry: we had found paradise! We made ourselves comfortable in our room and cleaned up. Dinner was now ready and we had our first of many excellent vegetarian meals during our stay.
I feel like Pee Wee Herman. I loved the freedom of having our own bicycles