A Hitchhiker’s Guide To India And Nepal – Part 3

Alright so we’re back! I started my hitchhiking journey by getting to Tiruvannamalai and then to actually being in Tiruvannamalai. And now my journey brings me to Auroville.

In case you’re not aware, Auroville is an “experimental community” around 30 minutes away from Pondicherry. Now everything I’m going to say is entirely based on my experiences, so please don’t take my impression of Auroville too seriously. I generally heard that it’s a community that focuses on supporting each other, helping one another grow, exploring one’s spiritual side and what not. So I was pretty surprised that 10 minutes into entering the community we had a woman scream at our driver asking him if he even has a license, when she was the one who was literally walking in the middle of the road… Yeah…

Upasana, Japanese styled architecture in Auroville

But it’s alright I quickly forgot about that rude woman because we ended up meeting a lovely French woman who let me borrow her scooter to go to a nearby restaurant to buy food for everyone. The Auroville staff is also very friendly. If you do ever find yourself there ask for “Babu” and his friends. They’ll make your stay there a lot more enjoyable, we ended our last day there having a few drinks with them and dancing around a bonfire. I know I didn’t say much about Auroville but honestly that’s because I don’t feel like I had an overall positive experience; and no, it’s not because of the rude woman. I don’t feel like I explored it as much as I would have liked to. Maybe one day I’ll go back and really see Auroville for what it is.

Banyan tree in Auroville

What I wanted to talk about in this article though is that when you’re hitchhiking or travelling in general, listen to advice offered by locals, because I didn’t. Nothing happened but yeah, don’t risk it. So we had to leave our huts in Auroville because it was getting a bit too expensive to stay there – you need to pay a fee everyday to help support the community.

We ended up moving to a hostel in one of the nearby villages, which is a bit closer to the beach. My friends and I thought it would be a good idea to go the beach late at night, I really don’t know why. However, one of residents in the hostel told me that it wouldn’t be the best idea especially considering that I was going with two women. But of course we’re dumb teenagers who don’t really think too far ahead and we decided to go there anyway.

Beach in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu

We were there for 2 hours and while we were laying there a man walked up to us stood about 10 feet away, stared at us and walked away. I got a bit nervous and made sure to keep track of where he was going and about 10 minutes later I saw him coming back with 3 other guys. We immediately got up and left the place. It was only later when I spoke to the same resident who told me not to go that I found out that beach is notorious for alcoholics. In fact the resident himself got into a really dicey situation when he went to the beach with his girlfriend a few years ago.

The bottom line is, listen to the locals. Sometimes people can get overly paranoid but I think when you’re somewhere you’ve never been, you don’t know how things work. Aside from your gut feeling you don’t know what’s safe and what’s not. And most of the time there will be some truth in any advice someone gives you. Honestly though if that guy just told me the story before we went to the beach while he was advising me not to go I probably wouldn’t have. But I’m glad it all turned out alright.

That’s it for this segment, I’ll see you guys next time!

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