When we touched in India, the group was filled with fatigue as it did not yet only knowing a little bit about Auroville and the country as a whole. Auroville is an international community seeking to live in peace and unity following the Dream and the teachings from Mother.
As we left the airport, many of us had to use the toilet and had our first experience with the squatting/wash technique. It immediately became a learning environment for us all to put judgment aside and simply get used to a new way of using the restroom.
Immediately we were greeted my Shanthi our guide and translator for the duration of our trip. Tamil is the local language of the Tamil Nadu region. India is a huge subcontinent that is often thought of as north India and south India. The country is comprised of over 29 states with their own special autonomy. India also has a huge population being the second most populated country in the world.
This was clear when leaving the airport in Chennai. There was a constant bustle of people walking around and heading to their destinations. The city was busy with a high concentration of people everywhere you looked.
We had more travels with a long bus ride from Chennai to a hotel for breakfast and from there to the Auroville area. This breakfast was our first traditional Indian meal of the region. One many of us tried dosa, which is a crepe like item. It is often accompanied with an array of chutneys to dip into.
But first we made a quick stop to look at a famous historical site; Mamallapuram. This site is very close to the beach. Just off of Tamil Nadu coast, Mamallpuram dates back from the early 7th and 8th centuries. The hill is open from 6am to 6pm as we arrived around 9am. One highlight from the visit was seeing Krishna’s Butterball, which is a huge boulder that remains immoveable.
Much further South is Raya Gopura, which is a huge tower. This Hindu monument dates back from the 16th century. As the hill continues just close by is Varaha Mandapa composed of lions on top of columns, finely carves out of stone. We walked around the hill, basking in the great work of the stone. Animals were a big part of these monuments including elephants, and lions.
Of course what brings the hill together is the Hindu trinity: Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma called the Trimurti Cave Temple, this of course, has elephants on that back flanked by the guardians.