Villages around Auroville
“Auroville: Areas of Strategic Planning for the Work-force”
Harini Sampathkumar, 2006
Auroville coexists with several local villages, most of which existed before Auroville's inauguration in 1968. Auroville is a microcosm of the planetary situation: as on the planet there is currently a division of humanity into a minority elite, educated and progressive and holding financial and technological power, and a vast mass of people living in exploited and impoverished conditions; so the Auroville situation - though it has changed and developed over the years. One aim in Auroville is to confront on a microcosmic scale the global problems of the relationship between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'.
The Mother on relations between Auroville and the villages
(Mother, 1969:) “A relationship that is not only cordial but friendly with the inhabitants of the neighbouring village is absolutely indispensable. For the realization of Auroville the first step is to establish a true human fraternity – any shortcoming in this regard is a grave mistake which can compromise the whole work.”
Geography and demographics
Edayanchavadi, Kottakarai/Bharatipuram and Allankuppam are within and overlapping the city center area. These villages predate Auroville. Ediyanchavadi and Kottakarai/Bharatipuram fall within the Vanur block of Villupuram District, while Allankuppam is part of the union territory of Pondicherry.
Edayanchavadi has a population of 2,760 persons with a settlement area of 52 acres. Kottakarai/Bharatipuram has a population of 1,400 persons on an area of 62.5 acres. Kottakarai West of the tar road is called "Colony" because most people living there are from the Scheduled Caste (SC). Allankuppam has about 2,000 persons on 14.3 acres.
Meaning of the village names
The following text lists the possible meaning of the names of the various villages, hamlets and colonies in the Auroville bioregion. The names and descriptions may give the reader an additional insight into the colourful Tamil culture in whose midst the Auroville township is to emerge.
Village name Meaning Kottakarai Edge of the Fort. Edayanchavadi A wayside inn (shelter) of cowherd community. Alankuppam A small, beautiful seashore village full of banyan trees. Irumbai Maakaalam (Irumbai) Shrine of Mahakaleswara, housing two 'Mothers', Kaali and young Kaali. Kuilapalayam Village of koel birds. (The koel bird is the symbol of Jeevatma, one's soul.) Thiruchitrambalam Most revered hall of consciousness. (Similar to Chidhambaram). Naavakkulam Pond surrounded by Naval trees (blue berries). Morattandi Chavadi A shelter dedicated to a particular 'siddha' - a mendicant who was known for his stubbornness and service. Vanur A village connected with the sky. (UR stands for habitat.) Akasampattu A tiny village connected with Akash, the sky. Ravuthankuppam Seashore village housing a community of caretakers of horses. Pappanchavadi Shelter place of Brahmins (or, a village named after Pappammal). Acharampattu A small village surrounded by certain plants (thorny bush Nerunjil, drumstick trees etc.). Another meaning: a place with a workshop for making axle for bullock carts. Pulichapallam (Pullisaipallam) Birds singing around the pond. Sanjeevirayan Pettai (Sanjeevi Nagar) Sanjeevi, the Lord Hanuman, protector of medicinal plants. It is the village of a chieftain named after Hanuman, Sanjeevi Rayan. Rayapettai A market place named after the Raya, the chieftain. Rayapudupakkam A new small village named after the Raya, the chieftain. (Pudu meaning new.) Ottai Village of deep well diggers. Appirampattu Community of shepherds. Nesal Derived from Neydhal, meaning a village with a particular character of seashore culture. Another meaning is water lily. A village with the character of water body. Ottampalayam A camp of earth workers or diggers. Thuruvai Sheep farm. Olinthiyanpattu A village named after a king wearing a garland, 'ulignai', to mark the victory over a strong enemy by capturing his territory. Periyamudaliyar Chavadi A shelter named after a senior Mudali, one who holds money or capital. Chinnamudaliyar Chavadi A shelter named after the younger Mudali (see above). Pillaichavady Pillai means one who is youthful. It also denotes a caste name. A shelter donated by Pillai. Bommaiyarpalayam This place was originally called Brahma Puram and later Bomma Puram. There is a spiritual center called Thirumadam, Samadhi of Balayananda Swamy. Kottakuppam The bank protecting the seashore. Mathur This comes from the old name 'matrur', meaning 'another village'. Kasipalayam This has strong Hindu connections with Varanasi. 'Kasi' means Varanasi (Benares). Manaveli Vast area of sand. Poothurai A water source with flowers. Kalapattu A fishing village, catchment area of kala, a kind of fish (sturgeon). Pudducherry (Pondicherry) 'Cherry' means community; so Pudducherry means a 'new community'. The original name of Pondicherry is Vedapuri, City of the Vedas.
Auroville has a long track record of rural development, including various projects and programs. Most village outreach programs are executed by units registered under the Auroville Village Action Trust (AVAT). Projects are in such areas as:
- Health care
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Women Empowerment
- Integral Rural Development