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Old 3rd August 2010, 21:46   #61
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Default Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Another must-do place in Pondicherry is Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Being a bengali, it is even more, and I didn't want my parents to miss it. But before we go there, a quick background -

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Founded in 1926, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram has grown, under the Mother's guidance, from a small group of two dozen disciples into a large diversified community with around 1500 members. Including the students of the Centre of Education and the devotees who live nearby, the community as a whole consists of several thousands.

Situated in a bustling city of 700,000 people, the Ashram is not a quiet place of retreat secluded from the world but a vibrant centre of life in a modern urban setting. The dynamic character of the community reflects the life-affirming aim of Sri Aurobindo's Yoga. Work as an offering to the Divine is an essential aspect of the Yoga, and Ashramites do some useful work every day in the various departments.

In the sadhana or spiritual discipline at the Ashram, there are no obligatory practices, no rituals, no compulsory meditations or systematic instructions in Yoga. Each sadhak is left free to determine the course and pace of his sadhana in accordance with his nature. But the general principle of the sadhana is same for all: there must be a surrender to the Divine and an opening to the Divine Force so that it may work to transform one's being.

The Ashram is located in the eastern part of Pondicherry. Ashramites live and work in a large number of buildings spread throughout the area. The focus of community life is the Ashram main building, usually called simply "the Ashram", which consists of an interconnected block of houses, including those in which Sri Aurobindo and the Mother dwelt for most of their lives. At its centre under a tree-shaded courtyard lies the Samadhi, a white marble shrine where their bodies are laid to rest.

The Ashram provides its members with all they need for a decent and healthy life. Various departments have been organised to look after the basic requirements of food, clothing and shelter, as well as medical care. The Ashram has its own farms and gardens. There are also libraries for study and facilities for a variety of cultural pursuits. The Ashram is administered by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.
source: Visitor's guide to Sri Aurobindo Ashram

For more information on Sri Aurobindo and Mother, please visit Sri Aurobindo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Mirra Alfassa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited by arindamray : 3rd August 2010 at 21:48.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 22:25   #62
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Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
Another must-do place in Pondicherry is Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Being a bengali, it is even more, and I didn't want my parents to miss it. But before we go there, a quick background -
I agree to that Arindam. Waiting for the whole day for any updates.

I also had a vague memory of pondicherry just remembered visited the ashram and had lunch/dinner (could not recall) but remembered one thing that it was self serviced and one has to wash one's utensils. Is it still the same?

Thanks for the historical info. Loved it.

P.S. Already voted 5*, would love to vote again (5*).

Last edited by Joy : 3rd August 2010 at 22:26.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 22:34   #63
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So the next morning, we went to the Ashram. As the silence has to be observed, kids below 3 years are not allowed inside. So we went inside in two batches, first me and mom. Use of camera not allowed, cellphone to be switched off and the footwares to be removed, we left all of them with dad and wife.

We were directed through a pathway towards the Samadhi, one can spend sometime around sitting and soaking in the tranquility of the place. After doing a pradakshina of the Samadhi we were lead to rooms - where books from the Ashram publications are on display, we spend some time there and picked few. There are two more rooms with some collection of photos and small mementos for sell.

As the photos of the Samadhi were not allowed, I had picked up a picture postcard from there. But my laziness to scan it, looked for a solution with less effort and google search gave me the following:


Once we are out, dad and wife went for their visit, and I took some photos in the meanwhile.

The entrance of the Ashram
After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1320c.jpg

The road (Rue de la Marine) where it is situated
After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1321c.jpg
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Old 3rd August 2010, 22:48   #64
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Waiting for the whole day for any updates.
Sorry, was busy in work. And also for the fact, that I have the snaps only at home laptop.

BTW, whole day I also didn't see any response - thought I am boring others to death.

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I also had a vague memory of pondicherry just remembered visited the ashram and had lunch/dinner (could not recall) but remembered one thing that it was self serviced and one has to wash one's utensils. Is it still the same?
Was thinking of putting in the next post, but as you have already asked...

I remember last time, when I visited Pondicherry, had lunch in Ashram. I don't recall whether it was self service, but as far as I remember one has to do the clean the plate (put the waste in the bin) and first water wash, before giving the plates to cleaning station.

I wish to give my parents also that experience, so after visiting the Ashram, asked there about the same. I was directed to Bureau Central where the coupon for the same is distributed. But when we reached there the quota for the day was already over. I was also asked where am I staying, later came to know that preferences are given to the people who are staying in Ashram guest houses.

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Thanks for the historical info. Loved it.
P.S. Already voted 5*, would love to vote again (5*).
Joy, as said earlier, thanks for your continuous encouragement and the rating.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 22:52   #65
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Did you go to the manakkula vinayagar temple there? There's interesting story associated with it.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 23:01   #66
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Originally Posted by arindamray View Post
.....

BTW, whole day I also didn't see any response - thought I am boring others to death.
................
Sorry, I could not relate the driving experience (as I am based in Kolkata), secondary, I could not recall other places. As told earlier, I had vague memory about the ashram. Thanks for the info.

By the way, I saw "Sanyasi Raja" (a bengali movie), by Uttam Kumar, right there for the first time sitting on their grounds (my father is a big fan of Uttam Kumar, so we had no other choice). To be true, I liked the movie.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 23:07   #67
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Did you go to the manakkula vinayagar temple there? There's interesting story associated with it.
No, we missed it. But anyway all ears for the story.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 23:15   #68
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Default Aurosikha

So as stated in reply to Joy's post with heavy heart we were returning dejected not getting the lunch coupon for the Ashram. We stopped by in Aurosikha which sells the Incense sticks, cones and holders, perfumed oils and candles, pot pouri, soaps etc. and picked up few items.

I asked whether I can take photographs inside, nut was answered in negative. So I had to satisfy myself with only one from outside.
After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1327.jpg
Sorry, the emblem 'Diya' got cut.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 23:29   #69
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I'd posted the story in someone's log here in T-BHP (i remember doing it). Couldn't find. So here's the story.

The Ganesha was worshiped mostly by the local public of weavers and local artisans. Now this was a disturbance for the french and they tried to do away with this temple.
The legend has it that over night the french removed the statue and took a boat deep in to the bay of bengal and threw the statue and returned. But the idol mysteriously reappeared the next day in the temple. They were amazed and acknowledge the powers and some even started worshipping ganesha. This is written somewhere in the temple (I remember reading it as a kid). So the temple also has a name vellai kaaran pillai (white man's ganesha).

Here's a bit of documented history in below article.
The Hindu : Impressive shrine for the Elephant God

So the current temple extension is thanks to Aurobindo who was an ardent devotee of manakkula vinayagar.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 23:38   #70
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
I'd posted the story in someone's log here in T-BHP (i remember doing it). Couldn't find. So here's the story.

The Ganesha was worshiped mostly by the local public of weavers and local artisans. Now this was a disturbance for the french and they tried to do away with this temple.
The legend has it that over night the french removed the statue and took a boat deep in to the bay of bengal and threw the statue and returned. But the idol mysteriously reappeared the next day in the temple. They were amazed and acknowledge the powers and some even started worshipping ganesha. This is written somewhere in the temple (I remember reading it as a kid). So the temple also has a name vellai kaaran pillai (white man's ganesha).

Here's a bit of documented history in below article.
The Hindu : Impressive shrine for the Elephant God

So the current temple extension is thanks to Aurobindo who was an ardent devotee of manakkula vinayagar.
MX6, you have impressive knowledge of history. First, the seven pagodas, now this one.
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Old 3rd August 2010, 23:42   #71
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Default A tbhp travelogue without cars!!!

Isn't it oxymoron? So here are some -

These beauties were spotted just opposite to Aurosikha.

After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1322.jpg

After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1323.jpg

After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1324.jpg

After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1326.jpg
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Old 4th August 2010, 00:38   #72
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Default Le Cafe

So with nothing else to do, we went back to beach road, and slowly driving down. The heat and humidity took the toll and we entered Le Cafe again to order for iced teas and cold chocolates. The soothing sea breeze was calming to soul and we decided to extend our stay till lunch and beyond and spend close to 3 hours there. The lunch was combination of club sandwiches, grilled chicken and chicken salads. No photos of the same, as I have a bad habit of forgetting camera (for that matter everything) when there is food in front of me.

Now Le Cafe is the only building on the sea side of the Beach road. Other buildings are at opposite side. It has got old Pondicherry photographs adoring its walls. They also sell some memorabilia - T-shirts, coffee mugs. I picked up a set of picture postcards showing the old Pondicherry. May be in week-end, I will scan and upload them.

From the waiters, came to know that the old jetty was in the place where the Gandhi statue is (the photos confirm that) and the building where Le Cafe is housed used to be the customs office.

Le Cafe from out side
After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1335.jpg

The menu is displayed outside as well
After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1351.jpg

Enjoying 'doing nothing'
After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1342.jpg

Angel in many moods
After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1344.jpg

After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1345.jpg

After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1346.jpg

After 10 long years - Mahabalipuram & Pondicherry-img_1347.jpg
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Old 4th August 2010, 00:50   #73
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welcome to the seinfeld group.
I had bought the first 4 seasons in 2003 in US. three months back I ordered the remaining in Amazon as they were coming at throw-away prices. Now I boast of the complete collection!
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Old 4th August 2010, 00:53   #74
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welcome to the seinfeld group.
I had bought the first 4 seasons in 2003 in US. three months back I ordered the remaining in Amazon as they were coming at throw-away prices. Now I boast of the complete collection!
Didn't get the relevance!

Or did you have one too many threads open?
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Old 4th August 2010, 01:50   #75
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I thought you were a seinfeld fan when you entered a coffee shop and enjoyed doing nothing.
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