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Auroville: Hinduism goes Star Trek

Short visit to Auroville (no time to stay longer) and the final destination in southern India: Mamallapuram

In the morning I visited Auroville – “the great project in human unity and education” – established by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I’m not going to write more about Auroville, anyway I was there only for 1 hour and what do I know? Go to Wikipedia:Auroville (heheh, sorry for this, what a lousy attitude from my side…) if you want to know more, it’s too extensive for me to wrap up :-) or ask Samo and Matel who stayed there few years ago, and I left overpriced Pondicherry for my final destination in south India – Mamallapuram.

I think that the new edition of Lonely Planet (I have edition from 2007, with totally obsolete prices) calls this place “Backpackistan” and that’s just what it is. Ethno souvenir shops, beach, bars, backpackers. And ancient UNESCO temples.

I will spend here last 3 days, before taking flight from nearby Chennai to north India, where I’m going to start in Allahabad, where I’m going to take part in Maha Kumbhmela. This is why I had to rush back to the north. I don’t want to miss this. I will write more about Maha Kumbhmela (or Great Drops of Nectar) later, but the point is this: it is the “greatest gathering of humanity on the earth”. It takes place only each 12 years, and it’s not only the biggest Hindu festival/pilgrimage, but also world’s biggest festival/pilgrimage. Hajj to Mecca looks like a small family gathering compared to Maha Kumbhmela. It lasts for 1 month, and during this month, 110 million (that’s right, 110 million!) people are expecting to come to Allahabad, to take bath in confluence of Ganga and Yamuna, the two holiest rivers of India. And the day, when I’m going, is the most important bathing day, so approximately 60-70 million people (that’s 60-70 times more than in Mecca) will take bath on that day in a city, which has normally 1,7 million citizens. Wooooohooooooooo, this is going to be BIG!

Last 3 days, I spent most of the time intensively thinking. Not that I wouldn’t have anything to do, these 3 days were the 3 “most transporting days” – the tea plantations -> Pondicherry -> Auroville -> Mamallapuram – but despite all the travel time, most of the time, I was deeply contemplating and reading Antoine de Saint Exupery and Indian spiritual literature. I don’t know if you ever spent 3 days by thinking, I mean thinking about your life, or the world, or the god, not about your work or school. I surely haven’t done it before, it’s not easy to find so much time for introspective during hustle and bustle of ordinary days. After 2 months in India, it has finally come, I’m where I wanted to be: in state of restless contemplation…

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak