Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pondicherry

Pondicherry was a French colony, and unlike Fort Cochin which didn't quite live up to its quaint reputation, the French quarter of town was very nice. We walked around throughout the morning, seeing various buildings and generally enjoying the ambiance, and stumbled upon a rally. Apparently we were there on the Tamil New Year! Political parties rallied outside the Governor's house, and while they were all worked up, the whole thing was very civilized, with the parties taking turns on the "stage".
That afternoon we took a scooter to Auroville, a hippie dippy community, with people from all over the world; it is an interesting experiment- a land that belongs to no one, where no money is used, everyone working as they are able and receiving according to their needs. The idea for the place was of the Mother, the significant other of Sri Aurobindo, and it looks very a la '70s. Planned to be a pretty big city, it hasn't quite taken off; but they did get their giant-gold-golf-ball looking meditation dome built and they have very nice gift shops. Our favorite part was that they are very open to experimentation with alternative energies and sustainable technologies. The scooter let us do a good deal of exploration, and we had a great sunset on the beach looking out at the ocean from our different ashram hotel room's balcony. We ended the night with a great live Indian music show that was going on outside to celebrate the new year!

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