Shorter outings and trips around Auroville
Many guests of Auroville also want to explore and familiarize themselves with the region in which Auroville is located. We offer several options for outings and trips in the neighbouring area, giving you a peep into the cultural and geographical features of a fascinating land.
We arrange a guided day excursion to Puducherry for you. The city, located in the immediate vicinity of Auroville, looks back on a rich history, marked by more than 300 years of French colonial rule.
Puducherry presents a unique atmosphere that has preserved its French past. Local attractions include former colonial villas, several Catholic churches, the spaciously arranged Bharati Park, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Sri Manakula Vinayagar temple. On the waterfront, the ‘French quarter’ is flanked by a 1.5 km long beach boulevard, the city’s main promenade.
On request, a ‘Heritage walk’ designed to highlight Puducherry’s rich architectural heritage can be organised.
The main building of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded in 1926, is open for visitors from 8am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm. The “heart” of the Ashram is the samadhi, the flower-covered tombs of Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual companion, called “The Mother” by her followers.
Unlike other ashrams, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram is not distinctly separated from its surrounding area, but extends to more than 400 buildings, spread out over the former French colonial quarter. In addition to schools, hospitals and libraries, the ashram also comprises many businesses and shops.
Also recommended, is a “Heritage walk” through Eswaran Koil Street, where one can admire several historic Tamil homes. They represent the specific characteristics of Puducherry’s early architecture, characterized by a unique blend of Tamil style elements on the ground floor and classic features of French colonial architecture on the upper floor. The architecture in the Muslim quarter also, is well worth a visit.
In the Puducherry Museum, in the French quarter, a collection of representative stone and bronze sculptures from the Pallava and Chola periods and ancient archaeological finds from the Roman settlement of Arikamedu are on display.
Arikamedu, located 7 km south of Puducherry on the banks of the river Arijankuppam, is an archaeological site, serving as an important trading port during the Chola period. Arikamedu became known in the mid-20th century due to the work of the British archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler. Archaeological objects such as pottery, amphorae and glass beads indicate that there were active trade relations with Roman traders in South India more than 2000 years ago.
The village of Irumbai is in the immediate vicinity of Auroville. The main attraction of the village is a lovely ancient temple where the Hindu God Shiva is worshipped under the name Mahakaleshwar.
An ancient legend has developed around the well-designed shrine, one that is interpreted by many residents in the area as having a reference to Auroville. It describes a festivity in this temple during which a yogi called Kaduveli Siddha was ridiculed by those present and uttered a curse to the effect that all plant life should wither, throughout the region, until in the distant future, people would come from the eight directions of the world to start planting and reforesting the area again.
The town of Villianur, located 9 kilometers south of Puducherry, is a popular pilgrim and tourist destination, particularly because of the Sri Gokilambal Thirukameswarar temple. The shrine where the Lord Shiva is worshipped is considered the oldest, most beautiful and spacious temple in the region. The town is also known for the Our Lady of Lourdes Church.