Ten-Second Takeaway

Auroville, tucked away in a corner of south India, can give you a full experience of what it’s like to work on a forest farm as a volunteer and live your life in the wilderness, even if it’s only for a while.

Real Life Jungle Book

travel simple living suroville tamilnadu volunteer work forest

Stay at Auroville. Image courtesy: Chandni Doulatramani

Looking to take a break from your fast paced life, or simply want to switch off and literally go back to the basics, then volunteering at Auroville could turn out be an experience that you might have been looking for. Dotted with a hoard of forest communities, Auroville offers a milieu of options to stay in, in exchange for voluntary services. Some places offer lunch as well, which would include the absolutely delicious organic homegrown produce. But if you’re looking to work for your stay, then pick the Evergreen community. They don’t really have a volunteering system in place, but accommodate volunteers now and then. There’s no real essential requirement on work hours or how you spend your day, but surely you’re smart enough to know you should. You will most likely be staying in a wooden treehouse, and it’s a great time to get used to the sound of nature. Welcome to the jungle!

The Simple Life

Evergreen is full of passion fruit, spinach, cashew, mint, and other plantations, so you can help out in cultivating these. Or work at the Tamarind Bakery, which is a part of the community. For this you will have to have basic baking skills. Content writing, designing and carpentry are other departments you can pitch in at, but that not at Evergreen. Once you’re finished helping the community, feel free to explore the Mowgli in you and try climbing various trees around. You will also be tempted to pluck all the wild dates, berries and pitanga fruits that are all over the place. Make sure to jump straight into the pool with myriad fish, and perhaps even the resident dogs, who will want to make you one of their own.

travel simple living suroville tamilnadu volunteer work forest

Cakes baked at Tamarind Bakery as part of volunteering. Image courtesy: Chandni Doulatramani

In And Around

Some of the other things you could do in Auroville are visit Sadhana Forest, which deals with water conservation and afforestation {they also accept volunteers}, visit the Matri Mandir for inner concentration/meditation, for which you will have to make a booking in advance {in person only}. Tanto is a total must-visit for those who love their pizzas. Bread and Chocolate, Well Cafe and La Terrace are other great options for European and Indian fusion cuisines. For shopping, the multiple stores at the Visitor’s Centre offer an array of stylish clothes, furniture, decor and toiletries. All are organic, hence slightly steep.

Staying Active

Outside of your voluntary work, there is a lot to explore in Auroville. The library is fantastically well-stocked with books across genres in English, French, Dutch, German and Tamil among others. On a deposit of INR 1,000, you can borrow three books at a time, and at the time of giving back your membership, you will get all your money back, so technically there’s no cost incurred. There are numerous spas to give your inner peace a treasured twist. Don’t you already feel closer to Nirvana?


Get an Auroville guest card, which works like a cash card, to avail all the facilities, since many places here don’t accept cash.

Driving distance from Bangalore: 6.5 hours

Closest airport: Chennai

Find out more about Auroville here.

Featured image of Matri Mandir via: Auroville

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