Most associate Auroville with the dazzling exterior of Matrimandir that looks like a giant Ferrero Rocher. The landmark barely scratches the surface, as photographer Abhishek Hajela discovered during his month-long stay in the region.
He witnessed flora and fauna grow as wild as nature intended, clear skies as far as the eyes could see and paths so clean that he would tread them barefoot. It is said that school children in Auroville are encouraged to walk and cycle without footwear to teach them to remain grounded. Another draw is the region’s organic produce that is as rich as it is delicious. Think locally grown vegetables, sourdough breads, single source organic chocolates, fresh varieties of handmade cheeses and gelato. Once you’ve had your fill of the food, activities such as salsa dancing, sound baths and yoga at Pitanga—a centre built under a 500-year-old banyan tree—keep you occupied.
Just as Hajela was getting used to the all that Auroville had to offer, it was time for him to leave. He returned with a slice of bucolic life as captured in this digital photo essay.
Abhishek Hajela is the recipient of the prestigious International Nikon Award. He curates and leads experiential photography workshops globally, and also works closely with the semi-nomadic tribes of Rajasthan.