Located on the Rue de la Marine in Pondicherry is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram which is one of the well known ashrams in the country, and attracts people not only from India but also from across the world who come here seeking spiritual salvation.
The Ashram was founded in the year 1926 by Aurobindo Ghosh, who was a philosopher and poet. He came to Pondicherry to evade from getting arrested by the British. After reaching Pondicherry he immersed himslef in spiritual activities and revealed to all the power of yoga.
Best Time To Visit
The Ashram is open throughout the year which makes it a year around destination. However, since Pondicherry is a seaside town, the summer months tend to get hot and humid; most people avoid this season.
More About The Ashram
The ashram has a large number of followers, one amongst them was Mirra Alfassa, who was inspired by Aurobindo's philosophy to a very large extent.
She was called the Mother and played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Ashram. After the death of Aurobindo, the running of the Ashram was taken over by her in 1950.
The Ashram is located in the eastern part of Pondicherry. The ashramites are the people who live and work at the various institutions run by the ashram. The main building of the ashram focuses on the community of life.
The building consists of interconnected blocks of houses which include the rooms in which Aurobindo and the Mother lived most of their lives.
At the centre of the building in the courtyard under a tree shade one can find the samadhis or tombs of Aurobindo and the Mother which are made out of white marble.
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Unlike other institutions of the similar kind, the Aurobindo Ashram does not follow the tradition in which a Guru succeeds as the head of the ashram.
After their death, the Mother and Aurobindo still remain as only gurus. It's said that the Mother once stated Aurobindo is still amongst us.
The Ashram is administered by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust which is a public charitable trust formed by the Mother in the year 1955. The trust is managed by a board of five trustees. The Ashram has over 80 departments which has farms, gardens, hospitals, guest houses and many more.
Most of the departments have formed spontaneously; sometimes these departments are formed to attend to the demand and supply, or because of a need for a particular product or service which wasn't available.
The Mother encouraged a person to pursue his love for art, which resulted in the formation of the Art Gallery, also known as The Studio.
The art gallery at the Ashram was opened in the year 1963 and was named "The Studio" by the Mother. The Mother, herself was a painter with a keen interest in Art and Beauty.
She trained and provided guidance to people of all age groups from the young to the old who wanted to pursue art and increase their spiritual growth.
The art gallery preserves and exhibits a collection of paintings and photographs known as the Mother's collection. This collection has 2500 odd paintings which were painted by the artists at the Ashram and as well as others.
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The Ashram Library
The library was started in the year 1954, in a large French colonial building which has humongous halls and quiet corners along with a small garden right at its front.
The library hosts a collection of 80,000 odd books in 25 different languages along with a large number of periodicals. The place also has a large collection of Indian and Western classical records.
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The photo section came into existence in the year 1950 at the main building a few days after the demise of Sri Aurobindo.
The people who would visit the place and take part in the activities at the ashram, asked for photographs of Aurobindo and The Mother, before they left.
Hence, these were then sold only during the darshan days. On demand a stall was set up from where visitors could purchase photographs, books, etc.
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How To Reach
By Air: The Chennai International Airport is the nearest airport which is at a distance of 135 km from Pondicherry. The airport is well connected to all the major cities in the country as well as to the other foreign destinations.
By Train: The major railhead is Pondicherry Station, which is well connected to different parts of the country. There are regular trains available from Bengaluru and from other major towns and cities in the country.
By Road: Pondicherry is well connected by roads. The total driving distance from Bengaluru to Pondicherry is approximately 311 km.
There are plenty of buses which ply regularly from Bengaluru to Pondicherry as well as from other major cities.
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