It was in the year 1992, I took a 8 day trip through TTDC ( Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation) travelling by a 9 seater Tempo-traveller. Though the trip ended… unplanned…at kohilpatti, 100 kms from Madurai, due to an accident…the vehicle skidded at 70 kmh and fell on its left side…and i had to be the tamil/hindi translator to aid the injured admitted to the local municipal hospital. I escaped unscathed and just jumped out of the vehicle and started helping others to get out! The Mauritian/ Indian descent family wrote a letter of thanks to me on getting back home in Mauritius.
The trip covered Pondicherry,Chidambaram, Vaitheeswaran Koil, NagorKoil, Velankanni, Thanjavur*, Rameswaram*, Kanniyakumari*, Suchindram, Madurai*, Kodaikanal*, Trichy*. Of course, we could not go to Trichy and Kodaikanal due to the accident at kohilpatti. TTDC returned 50% of tour charges as the trip was not completed. It was just Rs 1000 in total…to visit/ travel/ stay at selected places for night halts.
Excerpts from the site,
” Sri Aurobindo was born in Calcutta on 15 August 1872. At the age of seven he was taken to England for education and in 1890 went up to King’s College, Cambridge. Here he stood in the first class in the Classical Tripos and also passed the final examination for the Indian Civil Service. Returning to India in 1893, he worked for the next thirteen years in the Princely State of Baroda in the service of the Maharaja and as a professor in Baroda College. During this period he also joined a revolutionary society and took a leading role in secret preparations for an uprising against the British Government in India.
After the Partition of Bengal in 1905, Sri Aurobindo quit his post in Baroda and went to Calcutta, where he soon became one of the leaders of the Nationalist movement. He was the first political leader in India to openly put forward, in his journal Bande Mataram, the ideal of complete independence for the country. Prosecuted twice for sedition and once for conspiracy, he was released each time for lack of evidence.
Sri Aurobindo had begun the practice of Yoga in 1905 in Baroda. In 1908 he had the first of several fundamental spiritual realisations. In 1910 he withdrew from politics and went to Pondicherry in order to devote himself entirely to his inner spiritual life and work. During his forty years in Pondicherry he evolved a new method of spiritual practice, which he called the Integral Yoga. Its aim is a spiritual realisation that not only liberates man’s consciousness but also transforms his nature. In 1926, with the help of his spiritual collaborator, the Mother, he founded the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the year 1926.”
I liked the Auroville, where the large auditorium is constructed in such a manner that the speaker could be heard without a microphone even if seated in the last row. The prayer hall is situated at the ground floor and cleanliness is well maintained.
The website of this Ashram is well developed ( just like the site of Sabarmati Ashram in earlier post) so that it provides a virtual tour. I found Pondicherry city small and very clean. I had visited the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanniyakumari, during this trip besides several temples in various cities toured.