Category Archives: Auroville

Sadhana Forest : Some Facts for you

Sadhana forest is a wonderful community in Auroville, working towards reforestation, water conservation and sustainable living.  Once you spend some time in here, you cannot forget this place. I am already missing the beauty of community living, the delicious vegan meals, planting trees, the heart to heart conversations and lots more. Those two weeks were magical.

Main Hut : The happening place
Main Hut : The happening place

Wake up to the beautiful song, sung by human alarm clock at 5.30 in the morning, getting ready by 6, Going for the morning circle and doing Sadhana stretches before the first seva. And then going to the forest for planting trees and preparing the soil, that too in the rains. Coming back at 8.30 for the vegan breakfast, sitting in a big circle and having the vegan breakfast together after a moment of silence in the main hut. Again indulge in other activities from 9.30 to 12.30 and coming back again for the vegan lunch. Attending the workshops in the after noon or going to Auroville in the rumbling mopeds through the muddy red earthen roads. Again coming back for having dinner together in the main hut at 6 in the evening. And all those after 7 sharing circles, non-talent shows, eco film screening.. it was all fun. And of course the night outs on Thursday were interesting too. Those were the best days.

Living in the nature
Living in the nature

 

  • What if you want to experience all these?

Join as a volunteer.

At Sadhana forest everyone is a volunteer.

  • How to become a volunteer?

Just go to Sadhana forest before noon, on any days, except Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and enrol yourself to  become a volunteer.

  • What are the options available?

There are two options available. Either become a short term volunteer or a long term volunteer.

  • Short term??

The minimum stay is 4 weeks from December 1st to March 31st

the minimum stay is 2 weeks from April 1st to November 31st

For Indian residents the minimum period of stay is lesser.

  • Then Long term??

long term volunteers/interns are those who stays for a period of three months or longer

  • Do I have to pay?

As a short term volunteer I paid ₹ 300 per day towards my delicious vegan food. Accommodation is also taken care without paying anything extra. For long term volunteering, do contact Sadhana forest.

  • What all are  volunteer’s works?

Planting trees, gardening, maintaining the community area, cooking, cleaning, having fun etc. And at Sadhana forest, it is not Work, it is Seva or selfless service.

  • Anything that I should NOT be doing?

Do NOT smoke, drink or use drugs both inside and outside of Sadhana as long as you are part of the community. Also do not take part in any competitive games as Sadhana forest believes in an Non-competitive environment.

  • What else are the Sadhana Forest philosophies?

Veganism, sustainable living, organic living, off the grid living, gift economy, unschooling, recycling, zero waste policy are just to name a few.

  • is there any internet or other facilities inside the forest?

WiFi internet is available when there isn’t any technical problems. Electricity for charging your electronic gadgets is available through solar power. Though care is taken to use electricity wisely. During monsoons a bit more strict measures have to be taken.

  • Is there any wild animals in that forest?

Not that I know. I have seen a few dogs, some humans and pretty much nothing else.

  • What is vegan food?

that doesn’t contain any animal product. For eg., milk is not used in Sadhana forest.

  • Is anything difficult in there?

During my 2 weeks stay I didn’t find anything difficult. But some people might have uneasiness in getting used to the compost toilets. They are squat toilets and only water is provided for cleaning purposes, not toilet paper.

  • what all things should I carry?

You need to carry any of your photo identity proof. Most of the daily use things are provided including organic toiletries, blankets and sheets. I recommend you to carry a torch light or head light.

  • well, do they…

Why asking so much questions! Visit Sadhana forest during the Friday Forest tour and understand more about the life at Sadhana, enjoy the Friday eco movie and get the taste of Sadhana forest vegan dinner. A mini bus will pick up people from Auroville solar kitchen at around 3.30pm every Friday for Sadhana forest tour.

So that is all about question and answer session.

The path to the forest
The path to the forest

Sadhana forest was founded in 2003 by Aviram and Yurit as an ambitious reforestation project to change the fate of a vast arid land near Auroville. Then gradually people were interested and volunteers joined. Now ‘Sadhana Forest India’ is one of the largest residential volunteer projects in the world. More than 1000 volunteers comes to Sadhana forest India in a year!

Also there are Sadhana forests in Haiti and Kenya.

Main Hut
Main Hut

If you want to be part of any of these Sadhana forests, ie India, Haiti or Kenya do contact Sadhana forest.

All details can be found in their website. Click here

“May the forest be with you.”

Everything you want to know about Auroville in a nutshell

Auroville. This is one name given to a lot of great things. Auroville is an idea, an ideal idea on its way to perfection. And this is not a place where you go as a tourist for some sight-seeing. This is a place where you are journeying to experience something really unique, to learn something new, to change one’s life.

Welcome to the Universal Town of Auroville.

Auroville is ideal because it does not belong to anyone or to anything! Even though it is situated near Pondicherry in Tamilnadu, a southern state of India, Auroville is a universal township. And it is an experimental township. A township that stands for human unity, a township where people from all over the world lives in harmony and working towards a common goal.

Auroville was founded in the year 1968 . Sri Aurobindo’s visions are the core ideas of Auroville. Sri Aurobindo was an Indian nationalist turned spiritual reformer. He was a poet, philosopher and a yogi.

Sri Aurubindo
Sri Aurubindo

Mirra Alfassa  known as “The Mother” was the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. She founded Auroville in 1968. This project was backed by Indian Government as well as by UNESCO.

Everything about Auroville is summed up in the words of the Mother in her first public message about the township, “Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.”

Wherever you go in and around Auroville, you can find the pictures of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. If you can not find any, you are at least 10 km away from the borders of  Auroville for sure!! 😉

 MatriMandir
The Matri Mandir, Auroville
The Matri Mandir, Auroville

If you have been to Auroville, the next thing comes to your mind will be Matrimandir.

Matrimandir is situated at the very centre of the town. This place is the part of peace zone and strict silence is maintained inside as well as outside premises of Matrimandir.

Inside the matrimandir is an incredible and  breath-taking meditation chamber. My first experience inside the Golden globe was beyond words. It is an architectural marvel, from inside as well as from outside. It is said that, the very design was suggested by the Mother which was inspired from a vision she had. The design was perfectly executed by the architect Roger Anger. The great Banyan tree and the largest Crystal ball at the centre of the meditation hall are other important attractions of MatriMandir which you don’t want to miss.

How to Reach Auroville?

Continue reading Everything you want to know about Auroville in a nutshell

Travel Diary | Day 21 : The New Beginning

[ 27.10.2014 [ Monday ]

Had to wake up early in the morning at 5, even though it was my last day in Auroville. Because I had made plans and I had promises to keep! I was ready by 5.30 and went out with my camera and waited for my friend to come and pick me up. She didn’t show up on time, so I had to make a call and reminded her. In the mean time I was alone, bored and only a dim day light to accompany me. So I decided to have some experiments in nature. Clicked some trees, dew drops and spent my time experimenting.

Morning Dews
Morning Dews

And soon I heard the rumbling of a moped. Its better be late than never, I responded.

We headed to the beach in that moped. I was amazed and disappointed over the fact that, all these days I never did an early morning ride! The morning scenes were breath-taking and I had to stop the moped frequently to catch my breath 😉 and to click some pictures.

Morning Silhouette
Morning Silhouette

Like fellow blogger, Shooting star pointed out, even the electric post looked fab in that morning light. I was so disappointed that, I was leaving this place that day!

Driving through the morning rays
Driving through the morning rays

More disappointed that during all these days, more than 2 weeks of my stay, it never occurred to me to wake up early in the morning and go out with my camera. Maybe I was tired, maybe I was lazy, but now definitely I was being greedy for more!  So I focused on the present visuals.

Soon we were in the beach. It wasn’t an exceptionally  great beach. Even though we missed Sunrise, we didn’t miss a lot of people came there for their morning routines! Such a sad reality of beaches! But a camera can always focus on the beauty.

The never ending energy of Seas
The never-ending energy of the Seas

We were the only people who came to ‘see’ the beach.

Walking in the beach
Walking in the beach

The fishermen were getting ready to go to the sea. Preparing their nets and boats.

Leaving behind the mark
Leaving behind the mark

We just strolled along the shore, exchanging our stories.  There wasn’t a lot of time for me to spend in that beach. I had to pack my stuffs, meet my friend and get a bus to our next destination. So we came back to Auroville.

I was back at my Couch. It was time for me to say byes and thanks. Parting is always hard. I conveyed my gratitude through words, to my couch surfing friend, turned friend, turned host Gaurav for all the help. If I hadn’t met him accidentally on the first day at Auroville, my story at Auroville would have been a different one.

A different universe called Auroville
A different universe called Auroville

Here I was waiting for my friend, to leave this different universe called Auroville, towards our new destination.

 

If you miss the previous day

Travel Diary | Day 20 : The Art Chakra day

If you fancy reading from the beginning

Travel Diary | Day 20 : The Art Chakra day

[ 26.10.2014 [ Sunday ]

Finally the day I was waiting for all these time had arrived. There was a biweekly event called  ‘Art Chakra’ and that was happening that day. It is a platform for artists, photographers, musicians or whoever want to present some form of art in front of other like-minded people.  Thus I got a platform to present my photography.

I woke up early in the morning to finish my presentation. I didn’t even pick all the pictures for the presentation. I had only done a half of the presentation the previous night. Somehow I finished it before breakfast. Did a bit of laundry as I wasn’t sure if I would get a chance to do it once I start moving from this place.

I wasn’t too late when I returned to the venue after my breakfast. The program hadn’t started yet even though it was about  time.

Art chakra Bharat Nivas
Art chakra @ Bharat Nivas

Guess what, there was no electricity! That was the reason it hadn’t started. So there were two simple choices to make, either to cancel the whole thing, or do the presentation on a smaller screen. I had my laptop with me and one another participant had her Mac. So we decided to do the presentation on the laptop screen instead of the big projector screen! Everyone was glad that we were still doing it rather than simply cancelling the event.

That day I met some amazing artists. There were photographers, digital artists, animators, musicians, Engineers and many other wonderful people.

Some guy presenting his stuff
Some guy presenting his stuff
Musician at work
Musician at work

I was really thankful to be there with those amazing people. Their passion and enthusiasm was contagious. And these very things I will miss once I leave from this place.

The best part I liked was the unconventional music those amazing musicians had performed. Short video is here Continue reading Travel Diary | Day 20 : The Art Chakra day

Travel Diary | Day 19 : The Farewell day

[ 25.10.2014 [ Saturday ]

It was yet another Saturday for any other volunteer, but not for me. This was my last day at Sadhana forest. I was not sad , but the day seemed to be a dull day. There was no morning wake up song as it was Saturday. Every one was lazy and sleeping, that morning. The atmosphere was a bit gloomy because of the cloudy sky.  Or maybe I was just making up those reasons.

Even the main hut looked sad
Even the main hut looked sad

It was during morning breakfast time I announced that I was leaving the forest, in a couple of hours. I passed around the cute small Sadhana book during this time so that everyone could leave their contact details.

Everyone who visited Sadhana at least once, would have this book with them. I guess it is a Sadhana tradition. And I can say that this book is something that I will cherish for a long time to come. Now I know where to seek some happiness when I am sad. Those words written by my Sadhana friends can brighten up any dark days in my life. There are some books that will invite you to write on it. I think I have found one such book. Sooner this book has become my travel journal.

As it was a Saturday morning, after the breakfast people started to leave for the day out. I competed  my checking out procedures and was ready to leave. My fried had offered to drop me at Gaurav’s place where I was going to spend the rest of the day. But she had some early morning Yoga class, so I had to wait for her to come back. So I was waiting in the main hut with my backpack.

That day main hut was chosen by two musicians to practice their skills. One was with a guitar and the other one with a mandolin. And both of them are Sadhana volunteers. They were jamming together and immersing themselves in their amazing music. I was lucky to be the only spectator watching and listening them. I didn’t even feel like going and grabbing my camera to record it or at least to take a picture of it. I was also enjoying that moment.  And I found myself writing in the Sadhana diary.

This place is amazing. This  is one  way to live your life. The artists, the musicians, the trail blazers, the different breed of people living in a forest which used to be a land with no shades at all. The pleasure of living, the happiness of growing your own food, the excitement of generating your own electricity, the joy of sustainable living. I love this place. I love this moment. I don’t know if it is the music or the cloudy beautiful weather, that makes me sad. Or is it the feeling of gratitude? I don’t even know what feeling it is. But it is a beautiful feeling indeed which I would definitely want to experience again and again. I now realise the power of music, the emotions that it can evoke. I want to be in the company of people, this great people, these inspiring, interesting people. I don’t want to go back and I wish it was possible.

During my last announcement or last speech I said I was leaving behind dream like reality to go back to my real reality. Yes, i do consider Sadhana as a dream like reality!

Soon my ride came, I thanked whoever was still around, said good bye and left the magical place.

My friend dropped me at Couch surfing host Gaurav. Then we had lunch, repaired a broken moped, done a small acro yoga session, saw the sunset, had dinner, went to see a comedy night, half-prepared a presentation and the day was over. Time to crash. After a long time I was sleeping in a proper bed that night. And tomorrow going to be an interesting day.

If you miss the previous day

Travel Diary | Day 18 : The Last Friday