Auroville, an international township, sits between rural villages in the Villipuram district of Tamil Nadu, along the scenic Coromandel Coast of southern India, some 150 km south of Chennai (Madras) and about 10 km north of Pondicherry town, capital of Puducherry Union Territory.
How to get there
The nearest international and domestic airport is Chennai International Airport. If you are already in India and would prefer travelling leisurely by rail, Chennai Central Railway Station connects to all the major cities in India with its reliable express trains such as Tamil Nadu Express and Rajdhani Express (fully air-conditioned).
Book taxi before you reach: The journey from Chennai to Auroville takes about three hours by taxi. For the international traveller this is the safest, most convenient mode of transport. You can get a taxi at the airport but for the best low-stress experience, pre-book an Auroville Taxi to meet you at the airport as Auroville drivers are cognisant of Chennai roads and highways as well as the inside maps of Auroville. A Chennai-airport taxi driver may not know how to find your destination in Auroville especially if you arrive at night. Your guesthouse can also organise the Auroville Taxi booking for you.
Auroville Taxi Services
- Auroville Transport Service (New Creation)
Ph. 0413-2622183 or 2622400
- Auro Cabs, Travels & Tours (Kuilapalayam)
Ph. 0413-2623200 or 201, mobile 96264-81620 or 98437-34825, 9787508301
- Maha Travels (AV main road, near Purple Hotel)
Ph. 0413-2622915 or 102, mobile 9943881067
- Unity Transport Service (AV main road)
Ph. 0413-2623586 or 87, mobile 9047015801
We strongly advise you to use Auroville taxi companies: Most of Auroville's well trained drivers speak some English, have considerable experience with people from other cultures, and can point out where it's safe for you to enjoy a cup of coffee or meal at road side restaurants along the way. Note that when you stop for a drink, it is polite to pay for the driver as well. You could also request the driver to buy bottled water or juice from a reliable vendor.
All tolls and parking ticket, are included in the fare. Auroville taxis charge you at a rate fixed by Auroville, the receipt supplied on the spot.
Buses from Chennai to Pondicherry are frequent, and the fares range from Rs 70 - 300 one way. As no direct bus goes from Chennai to Auroville, you have to take the bus to Pondicherry bus station and from there catch a taxi or auto-rickshaw. Best to take a Chennai-Pondicherry Bypass bus that travels fast via the East Coast Road (ECR) and get the driver to drop you at the entrance of the well-known road that leads up to Auroville, just 8 kms before Pondicherry. Another landmark that is a few kilometres before the Auroville bus stop is Pondicherry University in Kalapet.
At the Auroville bus stop a cluster of motorised rickshaws are stationed, eager to carry you up the 30 metres above-sea-level plateau which hosts Auroville. These vehicles are not organised by Auroville and you will need to bargain the price to about Rs 100.
International community in country-side ambiance
Auroville has a country-side ambiance and consists of some 190 different settlements/communities spread out over 20 sq km. Distances between the outlying settlements can be several kilometres. Within the Auroville area there are several villages, local shops, and still a lot of village-owned land.
Tropical climate: humid with year-end monsoon
The climate in Auroville is tropical. From December to March the day-time temperature range is 24 to 30°C (74 - 85ºF) . From April onwards, the temperature rises and can reach a peak of about 40°C (105°F) in May-June; occasional rainfall from July starts to bring the temperature down. The main monsoon period usually starts around mid October and continues to mid December. Nights are generally about 5°C cooler than the days.
A forest zone in the sub-humid tropics
- longitude 79°E 48' 38.18", latitude 12°N 0' 25.20"
- included in the sub-humid tropics, situated on a plateau region with its maximum elevation of 32 mt above sea level located in the Matrimandir area.
- annual rainfall average 1.200 mm mainly from the SW monsoon (June to Sept.) and NE monsoon (Nov to Dec) with a dry period of approx 6 months.
- average maximum temperature is 37.2° C (89.96°F), average minimum 20° C (68 °F).