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After reaching Kanyakumari, the furthest tip of India to the South, we popped up to Sriananda Ashram near Madurai which turned out to be very different from what I thought it might have been.. What I mean by saying that? We met a lot of people recommending this Ashram for a range of different reasons, but I just felt it was not what I was expecting. The yoga there seemed to me to be more "military" style than regular exercising and too much singing lyrics that I had no notion about ;) But all in all, people we met and a bunch of other, compounded things made that stay there still pleasant enough for 3 days.

painting crafted within a week or so

delicious food

Right after we hasted up to Auroville, one of the most expected (at least by me) places on our rough traveling draft. First we decided to make some reconnaissance around the whole complex of Auroville so we stopped by the beach for first 3 nights and tried out a few projects first, like: Buddha Garden (for one morning), Infinity (one afternoon, building kitchen unit with mud and straw) and spoke to the owner of the Revelation project (forested patch of land mainly focusing on the proximity to nature and importance of the woods that enhance water distribution, provide us with shelter etc.)
We had a bad occurrence that happened to J., probably due to the heat-stroke.. that ended up rushing to the nearest "health-care centre". Suddenly, when we came back to our room and J., feeling very week, lied down, at the same time got a very high fever and started having muscle twitches shortly after.. His face and chest started to squeeze in and hands to twist over. That's when I went through even more horrible sensations than the victim himself, I guess. Rickshaw took us quickly to the nearest available doctor in charge and luckily after two injections and getting prescription for more allegedly sane remedies, everything more or less came back to normal. What a horror, though. I don't have to add how harsh the sun is here for us...
The decision was made - Jay was going to set off in further journey and I - stay in Sadhana Forest for the following 2 weeks. I booked my ticket Pondicherry-Calcutta for the 15.04. and so we did.

Buddha Garden
in where we helped out one morning

Infinity Project

mud kitchen facility, with thatched roof

 read 2 great books that I would recommend anyone to read as well. Very mind-shifting and opening, giving a hope for better and more sustainable future, that is actually just at hand. These are:

"The vision of Natural Farming" by Bharat Mansata ;
"The Future of the Economy" by Oliver Hetzel

So that's how I got to Sadhana, where 14 days ahead awaited me. The vegan community established over 10 years ago, who has planted some millions of trees since then, bringing back the greenery, animals, henceforth mitigating harsh microclimate and rising water table by 6 meters, highly appreciated by locally living people. The main purpose of the place that I committed myself to was, I thought, recovery of the everlasting green forest of this particular zone (reforestation) running and living in a wholesome community at the same time. Partially it's what it actually is, but probably everyone has got his/hers own insight into it.
Nevertheless, even if not everything was as I imagined, again ;), I met a bunch of very interesting, inspiring and like-minded people who were more likely to be newcomers as I, rather than long-termers, as they call themselves. All from different parts of the world (UK, Sweden, US, Israel, Belgium, Slovakia, Russia etc.). Mainly my company for the whole stay was tended by Ali, with whom I happened to have a funny story that emerged at the very beginning when we met in Sadhana. When sitting in a pizza place, one of the first evenings (when there was no dinner in the community), we talked and she had a sinking feeling that I remind her of somebody... Shortly after we discovered that 2 years ago we worked/volunteered in the same place in London – Camley Street Natural Park, probably never saw each other though, but she was sure she must have overheard me talking with sb there cause was recognizing my voice and accent now. I was reminding herself of...myself then, literally. :D The world is so tiny! That's how we started and kept together for the rest of our stay there in Auroville, hectically riding Ali's rusty mopped, having nice, ground coffees from the KofiBar, in vast majority, or chai's outside, with quite a big frequency. We went to visit Sacred Groves, not that long ago launched project building over 100 dwellings for the future Auroville community – inhabitants long/short-term volunteers, visitors, interns etc. Self-reliant buildings mainly based on their rain water collectors, grey-water system and solar panels energy supply. One of the main principles and precepts is not only to provide affordable and easy to do-it-yourself households, but also place for such concept dissemination. I think the idea and project itself are brilliant, moreover this place is still dynamic for its starting phase and many architects and architecture interns are working on it constantly. That's what makes me think of coming back, actually. But will see, how it all goes in a meantime ;)
Sadhana turned out to be slightly different than I thought, too much emphasis laid on hierarchy there and activities/behaviors that I personally find quite secondary, if not to say redundant. Too much flower-power alike, but very unnaturally performed, atmosphere based on morning hugging, sharing-circles, eating rituals etc. which didn't comply much with daily attitude of people who were actually the main ones to proceed the above mentioned. Anyways, even though, I found like-minded people with whom I stayed and hang out most of the time :) Morning sevas (volunteering shifts) were the ones I liked most – almost every single day walking out to the forest to prepare sites for planting new trees, consist mainly of: digging trenches and piling up the soil around vertical tubes into the mounds, mulching trees already planted and watering them through wick-irrigation system (it basically works on 'glass and a straw' principle, delivering percolating water through a cotton wick to the roots of a plant; so: like drinking with a straw :) ). I also planted a few of them, at the same time completing one of my points on to-do-list during this trip! ;)

planting a new tree begins :)

me and Ali at hard graft, to the elbows 

another new tree ready to spring up!

watering hard...;)

I had a few sevas fighting with termites which climb up the poles underneath the huts in the community eating up, further ahead, the wood they are made of. I also helped with cooking, preparing lovely and delicious meals in big quantity ;) and cleaning a few times, which communal sevas require. I would say that 2 weeks was a bit to long for me, especially that the knowledge I came there for, I acquired in a few first days and quickly realized that the main focus is not on things I was interested most (beyond the forest work, there's not much gardening or working with the soil directly, huts where not built by the community for its use, but workers, and renewable energy was there, but nobody to introduce people more into it). The main domain people were specialized there in was The Community and UN-schooling – as a prime and dominant method of raising children. Yet, I can't complain, at least I got to know people like Ali, Karl or Sannaan with whom I spent a very pleasant time, fruitful in various activities. Hope these, and other, contacts will successfully stand the test of time. 

Here are some of the pics from Sadhana and other rambles around Auroville :) 

main hut, common/meals space

one of the main hut entrances

our dormitory


compost toilets!

'electricity area'

Tamil's New Year
- traditional dance performance -

Venturing out!
with its nicely cool water underneath the first, warm layer ^^

crazy moppeds

trip out to the quarry

Sacred Groves Project, building with cob

mud, straw and coconut husk treading

building in progress

stomping upon the walls to compress the cob

grey water system, under construction

For Jay's review of his solitary trip up to Calcutta, on the bike, you'll have to wait a couple of days 
- will be updated soon :)


"Nati została w okolicach eko mekki Auroville, a ja mając tylko dla siebie na dwa tygodnie Enfielda wyruszylem do Kalkuty oddalonej o 1800km na północ. Zanim to nastąpiło niestety miałem skrajną przygodę natury zdrowotnej. W czasie szukania projektów odpowiednich dla mnie w Auroville i pomocy w niektórych (budda garden oraz infinity) odwodniłem sie i złapalem jakąś infekcję żywieniową. W ciągu dwóch godzin skoczyła mi temperatura prawie do 40 stopni i zesztywniały mięśnie co zaowocowało trudnościami z oddychaniem, po szybkim zapakowaniu się do tuktuka popędzilismy do szpitala. Kierowca nieomieszkal zatrzymać się po drodze i uzupelnić paliwo dolewajać z butelki po cocacoli odpowiednią ilość żeby dojechać do szpitala. Po dwóch zastrzykach odżyłem i czulem sie nie najgorzej :). Następnego dnia odwiozłem Nati do Sadana Forest i spedziłem cały dzień na odpoczywaniu oraz planowaniu następnych kilometrów. Pierwszego dnia po wczesnym starcie i bardzo przyjemnej jeździe w chłodzie poranka dotarłem do Nellore. Trasa była nudna, jedyna rozrywka to obwodnica Chenai, która dała mi znowu odczuć wielko-miejski straszny ruch indyjski bez ładu i składu, ale za to obfitujący w dużo szybkiej jazdy i wyprzedzania na milimetry (kierowcy hinduscy nie ja..) jak w filmach. Kierowcy w Indiach nie mają w ogóle wyobraźni...cały czas to mnie zaskakuje i denerwuje. Miasto zupełnie nie turystyczne i po nocy spędzonej tam udałem się dalej do Manginapudi, które było reklamowane jako plaża, którą musisz odwiedzić na wschodnim wybrzeżu Indii. Następny dzień spędzony na autostradzie prowadzacej do Kalkuty. Na szczęście dla urozmaicenia ostatnie 150km przebiegały przez lokalne małe wioski i kręte uliczki (szczęśliwie bez dużego ruchu). Po dotarciu na miejsce, które okazało się umierającym małym miasteczkiem/wsią w stylu resortu prosto z PRLu. Atrakcje: promenada na plażę rozpoczynająca się dwiema wielkimi, 3m, obeliskami-rybami, bezgłowe zniszczone syrenki, zawalony amfiteatr, latarnia morska, oraz “zagroda” na plaży dla hindusów w obrębie której się kąpali. Azyl znalazłęm w noclegowni przyswiątynnej. Następne dwa dni spędziłem na plażingu wśród czerwonych raków w wielkiej liczbie z daleka od zagrody hindusów na praktycznie dzikiej plaży kąpiąc sie w ciepłych wodach zatoki bengalskiej. Po zostawieniu za sobą PRLowskich klimatów udałem się dalej. Trasa byłą przepiękna, prowadziła przez deltę rzeki Godavari. Dużo mostów, rzeczek, zbiorników wodnych i hodowli rybnych oraz wszędzie gdzie spojrzeć pola ryżowe poprzecinane szpalerami palm. Poprostu jak z pocztówek. Kakinda również mnie odrzuciła brakiem jakichkolwiek atrakcji turystycznych oprócz “resortu” między dwoma wielkimi fabrykami zaraz przy wejściu do portu przemysłowego otoczonego znikomym zaśmieconym zagajniczkiem co nie powstrzymało ich od liczenia sobie za noc 15000rupii... Ja wybrałem jednak mniej turystyczne miejsce za 300 rupii i wcale nie czułem się z tym źle;) ale następnego dnia byłem juz w trasie do Vishakapatnam. Całe przedpołudnie na autostradzie, ale za to szybko zameldowałem się u celu tego odcinka. Po szybkim znalezieniu pokoju udałem się na zwiedzanie, miasto od razu skojarzyło się z Kalifornią. Promenada z palmami zaraz przy plaży, samo miasteczko położone wśród wzgórz, a na jednym z nich wielki napis wzorowany na Hollywood. Spedzilem tam 3 dni. Motor potrzebował serwisu po przekroczeniu 10000km od opuszczenia Delhi, który zajął niestety calutki dzień, ale za to odbył się w super wyposażonym salonie Royala. Udałem się też na jedniodniową wycieczkę w góry, do oddalonej o 70km Borra Cave. Przepiękna trasa wsród zielonych wzgórz dająca dużo radości z pokonania miliona zakrętów. Bardzo miła odmiana po autostradowych prostych. Dnia siódmego mojej samotnej podroży do Kalkuty dotarłem do Gopalpuru, małego miasteczka z malowniczą plażą oraz czerwono białą, klasyczną latarnią morską, obok której znalazłem pokój za 200 rupii. Cały dzień spędziłem na kąpielach w turkusowej i zadziwiająco chłodnej wodzie zatoki bengalskiej oraz na zwiedzaniu tego leniwego miasteczka. Niestety zachęcony możliwością promowania się przez wielkie jezioro Chilaka następnego dnia byłem dalej w trasie zmierzając do Puri (jedno z najświętszych miast Indii). Niestety z promowania nic nie wyszło, bo już jest to zakazane, ale sam widok wielkiej połaci wody gdzie nie widać widnokręgu zlewającego się zupełnie w jedną całość z chmurami był zapierający dech w piersiach. Po kontemplacji udałem się dalej w trasę, naokoło tego zbiornika (największego w Azji tego typu). Puri okazało się następnym nudnawym miastem nadmorskim. Po odwiedzeniu Sun Temple i dwóch dniach plażowania na śmierdzącej plaży miejskiej (gdzie rybacy popisywali sie odwagą wracając z połowu serfując na swoich łodziach na ogromnych falach przyboju) pojechałem dalej. Został już tylko jeden przystanek na trasie do Kalkuty, który nie jest wart wspomnienia;) Tak oto po14 dniach, 1800km autostrady, a realnie przejechanych ponad 2000km po zupełnie nie turystycznych miejscach Indii (spotkałem tylko 3 Europejczyków) przez dwa stany Andra Pradesh i Odisha, dwukrotnym w ciągu tygodnia wymienianiu dętki przebitej przez gwoździe dotarłem do Kalkuty. Bardzo pamiętny będzie to dla mnie odcinek naszej wyprawy DOOKOŁA INDII."
(brak zdjęć spowodowany brakiem urządzenia nośnego i fotografii wykonującego)


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