We’ve just got back from a short vacation in Auroville. For a nature lover, this town provides plenty to see and experience. Auroville, the international township, is a two hour ride from Chennai. Formed in 1968, this experimental township was built with the support of people from 124 nations. Even today, it draws like-minded people from all over the world. The community aspires towards "human unity" and a utopia as envisioned by "The Mother".
|Commonly Found Flowers in Auroville -- From L to R: Pink Hibiscus, White Hibiscus, Blood Lily, |
Crossandra, Unknown, Anthurium,
Unknown, Water Lily, Winka
|Commonly Found Fruit in Auroville. |
From L to R: Cashew, Pineapple, Lime,
Papaya, Banana, Mango
For me, Auroville is where I reconnect with nature; a place where I can rejuvenate my mind, body and soul. It’s where I invariably meet interesting people from around the world. It’s where I can have scrumptious croissants and satisfying organic meals. It’s where I discover a new flower or leaf, every time I take a walk. It’s where my son and I could sing the Bare Necessities Song with true feeling.
Though the guest house we lived in was basic and lacked modern comforts, it was enveloped in greenery and natural beauty. And despite the unhurried pace and rustic charm of the place, there are so many fresh ideas and innovations taking shape in Auroville. If ever, the best of the old world meets the best of the new, it will be here.
|My Son Calls These Red Cockroaches!|
|Pretty Leaves: Name Unknown|
|Outdoor Dining Area at the Guest House|
|Horseman at the Village Temple|
Being used to living in an overcrowded city, even the everyday rural sights of Auroville, struck me as marvelous. Sights included: a goat casually giving birth by the roadside, a grown cow threatening to butt an annoying dog, a temple pond completely covered with several hundred pink lotuses and clusters of cashew nut trees tempting me with their low-hanging fruits. While I savoured these visuals, I wasn’t always prepared to capture them with my lens. However, here are a few good shots I did manage to take.
|Golden Shower Tree|
|Modern Art: Wasp Nest|
|Low-hanging Fruit: Jackfruit Tree|
|Puppies at the Auroville Bakery|
While we spent most of our time at Auroville, we also visited nearby Pichavaram, where the world’s second largest mangrove forests are located. Here’s a link of the virtual tour of the forest. (Click on the autorotate option for a 360 degree view.) Mangrove forest trees are unique in that they can tolerate the high salinity of the sea water that they are rooted in. Besides the captivating beauty of the forest, it has a protective role to play as well. The Pichavaram forest has earned the gratitude of locals as it protected their coast during the Killer Tsunami of 2004. It's hard to imagine the vastness and beauty of Pichavaram through these pictures, but here they are all the same.
|Pichavaram Mangrove Forest|
|Rowing Through One of the Passages|
|Specially Adapted Root System|
Note: I shall be happy if you can help me identify any of the unnamed flora and fauna or correct me if I've been wrong.