Stationery, Bakery & Decor Shopping: Here's Your Guide To Buying & Seeing The Best In Auroville

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What Makes It Awesome

Who said Auroville is only a peaceful spot? It is. But one can also shop in peace too!

The ultimate mission as per the Auroville Charter is to put forth a new vision of power and promise for people choosing another way of life. As per the Charter, Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole. But, to live in Auroville, one must be a willing servitor of the divine consciousness. While I am a big fan of the communal living ideology, I must admit that my trips to Auroville are more for slightly material pleasures.

I’m going to save you some time so you can have a focussed shopping dash when you’re at Auroville next.

For tableware - A Wooden Mortar and Pestle: This works really well with dry spices. Looks neat too. Grab this for INR 1065. Brass Oval Plates. Comes in 4 different sizes. Hammered to perfection by local artisans, these almost sheet like plates are very useful for snacks or keeping your fruits. Get this these for INR 270 – 810.

For decor - Fridge Magnets. Don’t ask me why, but I end up buying magnets and postcards every time I travel. It’s some weird pseudo-traveler thing to do I guess. I liked this one a lot! It’s only INR 50.

For musical instruments - At the store, they have a wide range of handmade musical instruments. While apart from the usual chimes and flutes, I was fascinated by the local instruments made from dried seeds. My favourite of the lot is Jungle Soundscapes. Makes a really authentic sound! A little bit expensive but this handmade set of three instruments is great fun! Buy it here.

For stationary - Auroville Papers makes handmade notebooks and photo frames. The notebooks are great for everyday use and come in neat sizes. I picked up this tie-dye set of notebooks for INR 320.

What else is there in Auroville? {apart from the famous Matri Mandir}

1. Remember to stop by at The Auroville Bakery - Located by Douceur on the Auroville Main Road, opposite Farm Fresh, near Kuilapalayam village. Based on what time you visit the bakery, here’s what you should keep in mind. Mornings – straight out of the oven hot croissants from 7am, plus buns, baguettes, biscuits, pizza, quiche, vegetable tarts, pies, and rolls. Afternoons – bread, pastries, and cakes. They have the most delicious fresh cinnamon rolls. If you’re there when a fresh batch comes in, just eat it fresh at the bakery. Take home some fresh bread for a snack with olives and fresh cheese. You can find that in Pondicherry main town without much hassle.

The last couple of times I went to the bakery, just near the road outside, an oldish man and his son come and park their cycles that double up as fresh honey processing unit! They come with a huge beehive and give you fresh honey in a plastic bottle for 20 bucks. One litre honey for 20 bucks. It’s really good honey. Tried and tested.

2. Eat at The Naturellement Garden Cafe - After you buy their delicious jams and squashes from the Auroville Store, head to their Garden Cafe. Nestled on the Naturellement premises, their beautiful café has a courtyard, garden and roof terrace. With its relaxed atmosphere, a variety of good magazines, free Wi-Fi and a children’s area, the Garden Café is perfect whether you are on your own, having a working lunch or a family outing.

Also, take a look at the jams they sell.

3. Visit a Pottery Studio - There are a few pottery studios located in and around Auroville but they don’t all allow visitors. Some of them worth calling before hand are: Mandala Pottery, Mantra Pottery, Forest Pottery and Golden Bridge Pottery.

Handy tip: Rather than getting offended if they don’t entertain you, call up beforehand and ask if you can visit the studio. Last time I tried to visit one or two pottery studios but my timing was bad. Give it a shot – it’s worth the time spent. You can also pick up a few pieces if they have stock.

What's My Pro Tip?

Remember Auroville is not just Matri Mandir, the cafe, and the shops. The whole area surrounding it is also technically Auroville. If the weather is pleasant, rent a cycle for the day and roam about.

There are lots of tiny but great cafes, bakeries dotted along the road and if you ask around people will be more than happy to help. Autos are a bit of a rip-off, so unless you are ok to walk or cycle, skip the autos.

Anything Else?

Most women {men too?) will probably not admit it, but Pondicherry=Auroville=SHOPPING!