Auroville will not leave you indifferent. Whether you are in the midst of a long India trek or wanting to quit urban life for a six-month hiatus or yet again are seeking meaning and a change of priorities and need some reflection time in a quiet, pastoral and hospitable place, Auroville will not disappoint.
You will find more opportunities to experience different spiritual awakening approaches, more yoga, more spa treatments, more volunteering possibilities and more variety of nationalities gathered in one place, than most towns. If you are open to experimenting new ways of imagining your life, you will love it and maybe even stay. One thing is sure, you will keep coming back.
Auroville was founded by a French woman, Mira Alfassa, also known as The Mother, in honor of Sri Aurobindo, a charismatic and prolific Indian philosopher, guru and poet whom she seconded for several decades. A visit of the Ashram that they established in Pondicherry is recommended, both to experience the atmosphere of peaceful reverence that pervades the unrenovated quaint antiquated rooms of study and meditation as well as to join the many pilgrims at the tomb of Sri Aurobindo. It’s also a good place to pick up some books written by each one of them or on them.
Since the 70’s, Auroville has been dedicated to finding new ways to “realize humanity” through the building of a non-prejudiced community of spiritual seekers experimenting in the areas of social responsibility, architecture, ecological sustainability, organic agriculture, alternative energy sources to name but a few of their many projects, most of which accept volunteers.
It is no surprise, then, to see that you can find many vegan restaurants in Auroville. Although Happy Cow lists only 4 vegan restaurants there, there are many more unreviewed ones. We counted at least ten venues and much more when you know that almost 100% of the places have vegan options which easily doubles the number. For a community of 2400 members, that’s considerable. It’s true that Auroville hosts thousands of volunteers every year and attracts many more tourists.
Give Auroville a minimum of a week to get into the
groove. Make you life much easier by getting a Auroville Card, which will give
you access to many facilities otherwise closed to you.
In order to obtain a card, you will need to register in one of the Auroville guest houses as opposed to a village guest house. The owner of the guest house will procure a recommendation or a card for you that will allow you to deposit funds. You then will go to register at the Auroville Town Hall in order to allow your card to retrieve goods, treatments, yoga classes, get discounts at the swimming pool, access Solar Kitchen (the vegetarian cafeteria – ask for dishes with no ghee or yoghurt – curd) etc.
There are many vegan options in the members’ stores, especially at Pour Tous. Check the fridges for great tempeh, tofu and vegan deserts.
Make sure to get a guest house with access to a kitchen (most of them have it) and shop for organic vegetables at Food Link (get there early, before 9am to have the best choice).
Rent a moped or a bike to travel between projects and stores. Auroville is spread out over many hundreds of acres in a pristine forest and you may not be able to manage the distances on foot.
There are four projects or organizations dedicated to a vegan agenda in Auroville, all of which accept volunteers:
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