Thursday, 21 July 2011

Sunrise in India

India Gate

Ganges River




Tamborim, Goa


Varanasi, Ganges River

AUROVILLE - City of Dawn

Auroville (City of Dawn) is an “experimental” township near Puducherry in South India. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (since her definitive settling in India called “The Mother”) and designed by architect Roger Anger. 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.

Auroville was founded as a project of Sri Aurobindo Society on Wednesday 28 February 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, “The Mother”. She was an equal spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo, who believed that “man is a transitional being”. In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which has been acclaimed as “an outstanding and original architectural achievement”. It was conceived by The Mother as “a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s inspiration for perfection”. Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called Peace area.


This is perhaps the very first talk on Auroville delivered over All India Radio on November 11, 1967. It was given by Navajata, General secretary and Treasurer of Sri Aurobindo society. It is of special significance because the entire talk was first read out to the Mother and approved by her.

The main aim of Sri Aurobindo Society which has sponsored the project of Auroville is to work for 'the advent of a progressive universal harmony'. Auroville is being established to give a concrete shape to this ideal. Introducing the project, The Mother, President of the Society, declared:

"Auroville wants 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 realise human unity"

It proposes to realise this unity in diversity and not in uniformity. It will bring together those who believe in a progressive universal harmony and want to work for it. In fact "the first condition for living in Auroville is to be convinced of the essential unity of mankind and the will to collaborate in the material realisation of that unity". Named after Sri Aurobindo, Auroville literally means the'City of Dawn'.


Provision is made for 50,000 residents in the main town, 20,000 in the model villages in its green belt, and 30,000 in its subsidiary projects like World Trade Centre, etc.

The site selected covers areas both in Pondicherry and in Madras States, and provides a beautiful panoramic view with the sea on the east and a number of lakes on the west and north, with the centre of the town on a high level land.

Architects and engineers from different countries have volunteered their services free. Mr.Roger Anger of France is the chief Architect.

The town is divided into four Zones: residential, cultural, International and Industrial. Nothing necessary for Life is forgotten. The activities in the project cover a very wide range: industrial, agricultural, education, artistic and others. Each nation will participate in the projects in which it specialises. Each resident will be free to choose the work for which he has special aptitude, and will be given the necessary training for it.

work culture

The work in Auroville will not be a field which one is compelled to accept for earning one's livelihood but a joyful means whereby to express oneself while doing at the same time service to the whole group.

There will be no employment and no beggars. The township will provide for both the field of work and the basic needs of all. Rules will be as few as are unavoidable. Guiding principles will help each person to develop self-discipline in freedom. Auroville will also participate in the design of integrated living programme of Unesco. There will be an integrated effort and a practical research towards creating conditions, where each individual can occupy the place for which he is best suited, develop himself to his highest possibilities, inner and outer, and give his maximum to mankind.

Permanent cultural pavilions for each country and also for each State of India are an important feature of Auroville activities. To give an example, the Japanese pavilion will have a Japanese garden, house built in the Japanese style, a lake, a boat pier, a meditation house, rooms for the Tea ceremony, guest rooms, library, museum and an exhibition hall for Japanese handicrafts, works of art, etc. One will experience in this pavilion, the aesthetic sense and culture of Japan in a living manner. Thus each country and each State of India will plan its won pavilion.

Auroville will also have an International University, perhaps the first in the world, established specifically for world unity. In fact the whole of Auroville will be a living university.

An institute of integrated health sciences with a clinic will be another feature of Auroville. It will synthesise allopathic, ayurvedic, yunani, homeopathic, biochemic,. Naturopathic and other health knowledge in the light of actual experience and add new dimensions to human research. The patient will obviously receive the best care and treatment possible.

A seaside resort and the entire life and programme of Auroville will make it a great tourist attraction and a training ground for cultural tourism.

Regular conferences, seminars on different aspects of world welfare, youth camps and other similar activities will bring together those interested in a collective effort towards a new and better life.

A physical education department covering all games and sports, model agricultural villages revolutionising agricultural life by synthesising aptitudes of workers, suitability of land and technical assistance, for a better life and optimum production, a handloom village for the handloom weavers in the area, a model fisherman's village, a film studio with an artists' colony, a World Trade and Information centre, industries, all with a changed outlook and consciousness, are some of the other highlights of the project which will help to usher in a new era in every aspect of life.

Here is the dream city of which you and I have dreamt as little children and hoped that someone someday will fulfil it.

And now it is on the way to fulfilment-the city of happiness, harmony and progress with no politics, no economic exploitation, no rich or poor, no employer or employee, but all sons of God.

On 28th February 1968, will be held the ceremony for laying the foundation stone of this unique town. On this occasion, people will come from all over the world, bringing love in their hearts and the soil of their country in their hands for placing it in the lotus of mosaic specially made for the purpose, as symbolic of their Co-operation in this project which has been unanimously accepted by the General Assembly of Unesco. Auroville invites all those who are dreaming of a better humanity and a better world to participate in this saga of world progress.


The evolution on earth cannot stop with man. It continues and man will be surpassed. In this further evolution lies the fulfilment of present humanity and a solution to all the problems with which it is faced today. And here at last is a place for those who want to evolve consciously.

The foundation of Auroville was laid on 28th February, 1968, when in a symbolic act of world collaboration, boys and girls from all over the world came together and placed a handful of soil from their country in a marble urn shaped like a lotus bud.

Auroville has been unanimously supported by UNESCO. Auroville was initially established and developed by Sri Aurobindo Society under the Presidentship of the Mother. It was taken over in 1988 by the Government of India and is being administered by the Auroville Foundation, an autonomous body created by an Act of Parliament.

  • Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But to live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.
  • Auroville will be the place of an unending education, of constant progress and a youth that never ages.
  • Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realisations.
  • Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.


The dot at the centre represents Unity,  the Supreme; the inner circle represents the creation, the  conception of the city; the petals represent the power of expression, realisation.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Vedanthangal - Birds Sanctuary

Vedanthankal Lake Bird Sanctuary is a 30 ha (70-acre) sanctuary located in the Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu. Vedanthangal is a home for migratory birds, such as pintail, garganey, grey wagtail, blue-winged teal, common sandpiper and some more. It is one of the oldest water bird sanctuaries in the country. Vedanthangal in Tamil language means ‘hamlet of the hunter’. This area was a favourite hunting spot for the local landlords 300 years ago.

The region attracted a variety of birds because it was dotted with small lakes that acted as feeding grounds for the birds. Realising its ornithological importance, the British government undertook steps to develop Vedanthangal into a bird sanctuary as early as 1798. Villagers near this sanctuary are very concerned about the Sanctuary and the birds coming to this sanctuary, and they have taken many serious steps to avoid disturbance to the flow of birds.

Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary is situated 86 km from Chennai . It is the oldest Bird  Sanctuary in India . The sanctuary is spread over 30 hectares of land .The area is covered by the lake that makes up an ideal habitat for birds .In the lake  there are thousands of small trees on which the birds build their nests .
Birds from far off places like Canada , Siberia , Australia and other countries like Sri Lanka , Burma , Bangladesh visit this sanctuary . The winged visitors include Teats , Terns , Ibis , Pelicans , Herons , Spoon Bills , Egrets , Flat Bills , Storks , Ducks , Snake Bird , Cormorants , sandpiper , Darter , Grebes , Moorhen , Paddy Bird , Pintails , Stilts , etc . They are seen migrating to this sanctuary year after year to avoid the biting cold in their habitats .

Birds of myriads of colours and all kinds descend on the trees in hordes . They build their nests  in the trees and lay eggs . The eggs hatch and young ones come out . The chicks are voracious eaters . The parent birds bring back food in their beaks  As they land in their nests , the little impatient chicks start clamouring for food . They insert their tiny beaks into the mouths of their parents and try to snatch whatever they could . When the chicks grow , the parents teach them to fly and to swim . It is a sight to be seen ; it cannot be described in words .

The birds eat  fish , tadpoles , crabs , water insects , snails , etc , which is in plenty  in the lake and in the neighbouring fields .

There is a lot of noise  --different kinds of birds chirping . Birds are seen to flap around...  singly or in groups . Some dive down into the water and come up with fish . This is a lesson in diving . It is difficult to believe that there can be so many different kinds of birds in one place at a time . For a few hours , peace and tranquility takes over and we forget the world inspite of the chirping of the birds .

When the sun dips down in the western horizon, the sky turns soft-red. The tropical dust wraps up the entire vista. Thousands of birds are seen returning to their nests in flocks for the night.

When summer sets in March, the water in the lake stats receding. By this time, the chicks become old and strong enough to fly. The birds start leaving in batches. 

The best time to visit the sanctuary is between November and February. Bird watching is best early morning when the birds go out in search of food and between 3.00 & 6.00 in the evening, when the birds return home.

For over hundreds of years the villagers around have zealously protected the winged visitors in the sanctuary. They know that the droppings of the birds make one of the finest natural fertilizers known to mankind. The birds devour a lot of insects, pests, rodents that would otherwise create havoc to the nearby crops. The villagers recognize the symbiotic beneficial relationship with the birds.

This place is a MUST in the itinerary of the places you like to visit in Tamil Nadu. Come to Chennai during Nov - Feb to see the birds. It is a Paradise for Bird-watchers.

Yellow Roses