Sometimes, traveling is more than just bringing back great pictures from your trip. I am a person who would seldom get out of his house without carrying a camera along. But my recent trip to Auroville changed that.
This was the first time I was backpacking in Sothern India and Pondicherry would be the last of several destinations I covered. My stay at Pondicherry was for 3 days and luckily, I had managed a host from Couchsurfing. I had heard a lot about Auroville but was also advised against it, from a photography point of view. It was not a place where you get to see a lot of things. Apart from the nonchalant setting, there was little that would interest a travel photographer like me.
Well, I was ready to be inspired. I took a ride to Auroville, about 12 kilometers from Pondicherry and as soon as I took the last turn of the road, detouring from the national highway, things immediately changed. As opposed to the energy that lingers around in places like Pondicherry or Bangalore (from where I had started my trip), Auroville will give you a thump in the heart. A well-made road dotted by charming farmhouses all along, it’s a high that gradually takes over you and can stick for a lifetime.
Auroville finds its uniqueness in having a government of its own, where people from all parts of the world, regardless of their faith, caste, origin or beliefs find truce in humbleness. This is a place that has been built by from scratch – turned into a lush natural setting from a barren land only in the last few decades. While it is being called an “experimental township” it has moved on to become a model lifestyle for many. Things like politics and religion don’t exist here. It’s a free living for anyone who looks forward to contributing to the cause of the society, in whatever way they can. Nobody owns anything here but everyone belongs to the place. Click To Tweet
I sat around the whole day around the café, making conversations, and trying to understand why things are so. At the end, I realized that life should be like this. This was the first time that I was looking around and taking more than I was reviewing my pictures. People know every resident by name, kids are homeschooled and dinners depend on the toil residents make on the farm.
I had been at Auroville the whole day but had just a couple of clicks on my camera. Even then, I was satisfied to know that I have found an experience like nowhere else. A picture may well say a thousand words, but in places like Auroville, it will never be able to capture the real charm. Here on, I have understood why it is more important to know a place than just being there. I believe Auroville will have changed the way I travel from now on.
Also, check out my photo story on Pondicherry!