Today was the day of our only day off during the project. we had already decided that we wanted to do something different this year, something that had never been done before on a Chennai Challenge trip…so we went to Pudicherry (that’s the new name for Pondicherry!)
Our day started with a rather long bus journey for the 175km trip, which took us nearly four hours to complete. The team used this as valuable catching up on sleep time (however there are no sleepy photo’s as they are banned until tomorrow!). When we arrived we were taken to do all the things that tourists do in Pudicherry, the first being a visit to Auroville. For those of you who don’t know Auroville is an experimental township founded by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and in her words “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.”
It was a weird sort of place that was trying to be spiritual whilst not believing in a divine being, stating that it was not not religious but having many of the elements of its own religion, like following the words of the mother and Sri Aurobindo. It did however have an impressive golden sphere at the heart of the town and an incredible Banyan tree(which clearly had been there for much longer than Auroville and may possibly be there longer) The golden sphere in the centre is where you are supposed to concentrate on finding the divine conciousness, this was our attempt!
We then went down to the beach and walked along the promenade, which was great, although by this point we were quite hungry as we had not had a proper breakfast and the heat was starting to get to us. we wanted to find ourselves a proper French cafe for our lunch, but we stopped in the first place that had a French name, Le Club. They did have some amazing food, not necessarily all French, but it was served with baguette. I had a steak au champignion and pomme frites, whist others had pasta dishes. We then went out to find a proper boulangerie, and came across a bakery, that did some great cakes, Joel and Suzanne both partaking of the battenburg in Indian colours.
We had a short walk in the park to look at the Aayi Mandapam and then went to the museum. I found the museum interesting, partly because of the exhibits, but mainly because of the way that they are displayed, it doesn’t always seem to have much care taken over precious items from the past.
We then had a quick visit to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram which was quiet and then a quick visit to a temple to see an elephant. This was the part of the day that the team enjoyed, giving the elephant a coin for it to bash (I mean bless) them on the head. The team have much better photo’s than I have, check out Instagram, twitter and facebook for better photo’s
Then we headed back to Chennai, another long journey. A good day out was had by all. I’m not sure how restful our rest day was, but I have said that we can start an hour later in the morning, so that we can all have a little lie-in. But then we have lots of work to do, so I will have to continue to crack the whip. Anyway goodnight all.