What do I need to know before starting my trip to India?

Do I need a Visa to visit India?
Please check with the Indian Embassy in your country or visit the site:

Are there any vaccinations needed before starting my journey to India?
Please consult your doctor or visit the site: http:

What are the Do’s and Don’ts in India?
Do exchange money only through authorized banks or moneychangers and do insist on getting an encashment certificate.

Do drink soft drinks and safe mineral water out of bottles (let them be opened in front of you!) and take well-cooked food.

Do ask your hotel or guesthouse to book a taxi or auto-rickshaw for transfers to bus and rail stations, especially after dark.

Don’t wear tight or revealing clothing. Indians adopt a very conservative standard of dress, particularly in rural areas. Western dress standards, including jeans on women, are becoming quite prevalent in cities. However, it’s still necessary to keep your legs covered. Covering your legs and shoulders is especially important when visiting temples in India.

Don’t wear your shoes inside. It’s good manners to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, and it’s a prerequisite before entering a temple or mosque. Shoes are sometimes also removed before entering a shop. If you see shoes at an entrance, it’s a good idea to take yours off as well.

Don’t eat food or pass objects with your left hand. The left hand is considered to be unclean in India as it’s used to perform matters associated with going to the bathroom. Therefore, you should avoid your left hand coming into contact with food or any objects that you pass to people.
Source: http://goindia.about.com/od/indiancultureetiquette/qt/india-donts.htm

What is the best time of the year to visit Auroville, Pondicherry?
Although the ideal period is December-February, one can also have pleasant temperatures in November and March. There are also numerous cultural activities during this period, with some of the best international and domestic artists giving free performances. Source: http://www.mustseeindia.com/Pondicherry-weather


Where is Temple Tree Retreat located?
Temple Tree Retreat is in Auroville, which is 10 km north of Pondicherry and 160 km south of Chennai. It is 1.5 km off the ECR Chennai-Cuddalore ECR road.

Which is the nearest Airport?
The Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA) is the nearest airport and is 150 km from Auroville/Pondicherry.

How does one get from the airport to Temple Tree Retreat?
The car drive is about 2-2.5 hours via the National Highway NH45/NH66 or the scenic East Coast Road – ECR.

How much does the airport transfer cost?
We can arrange the transfer service on cost basis with a reliable English-speaking driver. It is always cheaper, safer and less troublesome to order the transfer from Pondicherry than to get a car from Chennai. The present costs for one way transfer with a Tata Indigo AC car is INR 2,500.00, ora Toyota Innova AC SUV is INR 3,500.00

How far is Temple Tree Retreat from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville?
It is 1.5 km off the ECR road, 10 km from the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and downtown Pondicherry, 5 km from Matrimandir or the Visitors’ Centre in Auroville.

What is the best mode of transportation to move around Auroville/Pondicherry?
Most people use a bicycle, a scooter or a motorbike. We can make arrangements to rent one of these modes of transport. However, with chaotic traffic conditions on the ECR road and in Pondicherry we advise caution. Some guests want to hire an auto-rickshaw. We don’t advise this for safety reasons and to avoid haggling about the rates. For those not confident with the two-wheelers, we recommend a cab on a “drop or pick-up only” basis or on an hourly, half-day or full-day basis. Since there are quite a numberof cab companies in and around Temple Tree Retreat, rates are reasonable and we can make arrangements on cost basis.

How far is the sea and can one swim there?
The sea and the beach are exactly 2 km away. However, the waters in this part of the region are really not very safe and swimming is not recommended. It gets suddenly deep very close to the shoreand then there are strong undercurrents which can be a challenge even for good swimmers. The beach itself is not always very clean with many fisher-villages located one next to the other.

The Hotel

What are room rates at Temple Tree Retreat?
Please see the section: “Rates and Reservations”.

Is there a swimming pool?
Yes, there is a small swimming pool open 24 hours.

Is there any access for differently-abled people?
Yes, there is a wheelchair ramp to 2 rooms and the main Lounge and Verandah area. The rooms are large enough for easy access also to the “walk-in-bathrooms”.

How is the electricity situation in Auroville? We hear there are often power cuts.
We provide 24/7 power as we have a 24 KV back-up generator.

Do rooms have Air-Conditioning?
Although the rooms are designed to provide natural ventilation and each room has fans, we also have an AC. We believe in energy efficiency and request guests to use electric appliances with social responsibility.

Do rooms have TV?
Sorry, we don’t have TVs, as guests coming to experience the peace want to get away from TVs.

Do you have WI-FI?
Yes, we provide free Wi-Fi. At times the system is down; however, this is due to the Indian provider BSNL delivering unsteady connections.

Do you have running hot water?
Yes, each room has its own Solar Water Heater and a power back-up. Hot water is available at all times.

Is there Laundry Service?
Yes, we have Laundry Service with very reasonable rates because we charge on cost basis … without adding any surcharge.

Is smoking allowed in the rooms?
Smoking is strictly prohibited in the rooms. If during check-out, guests are found to have smoked in the room, we charge them a full day’s rate for a thorough cleaning.

Do you permit consumption of alcoholic drinks on the premises and in the room?
We do not serve alcoholic drinks. However, one can bring one’s own drinks and, as long as it is decent drinking, we do not have problems.

How many people can you accommodate in one room?
Our strict policy is to take a maximum of 2 adults per room. One child upto the age of 12 years staying with adults can be accommodated with an extra bed with extra charge. Our rooms have only king-size 2×2 m/6×6 ft beds.

What are the restaurant facilities at Temple Tree Retreat?
We provide a complimentary breakfast only. We do not serve lunch or dinner. However, there are several restaurants in the vicinity and one can order food and have this served at the Dining Lounge.

Do you have any conference/workshop/seminar facilities at Temple Tree Retreat?
If all 6 rooms are booked for a minimum of 2 nights, and subject to availability, we can make arrangements for such events. To ensure the quiet and as a matter of respect of other guests, we do not have this facility available for smaller groups.

How does one spend time while staying at the Temple Tree Retreat? (Or what activities can one undertake while staying at the Temple Tree Retreat?)
Our guests come to stay at the Temple Tree Retreat to relax and experience peace while they are in Pondicherry and Auroville. They are awed by the architectural design – of the whole concept including landscaping and the interior decoration. They spend their time rejuvenating: reading, listening to music, swimming, getting a massage, having a lively intellectual exchange or just lazing about and enjoying the beauty of Nature. One can participate in more than one of the multiple activities offered in and around Auroville. Or just go on a discovery trail to Pondicherry and visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, or explore French surroundings, or experience Incredible India. It is always our pleasure to guide you and make your stay a memorable experience.

Are any tours available in South India?
We can recommend and also arrange individual tours for you depending on your budget and time available. This service is at cost price and we do not charge any extras.

Auroville and Pondicherry

What restaurants are in Auroville and in the vicinity?
When you are staying with us, we are happy to recommend places to suit your taste. Within a radius of 2 km one can find several small Indian, Tibetan, Italian eateries and,of course,there are several places serving organic, vegetarian cuisine in Auroville.

  • Bread & Chocolate – a top organic, vegetarian restaurant serving breads and chocolates, sandwiches and fusion salads
  • Naturellement – a vegetarian garden restaurant serving home grown organic pastas, salads and sandwiches
  • Tanto – one of the best Italian Pizza places in town
  • Roma’s Kitchen – a multi-cuisine Indian-Continental garden restaurant with open BBQ
  • Mango Hill – another multi-cuisine Indian-Continental Restaurant
  • Aurelec – for Indian-Western lunch buffet

What about restaurants in Pondicherry?
Pondicherry, with its French background, offers multiple restaurants serving a variety of cuisines. We can recommend several places during your stay to suit your appetite.

Where can I get more information on Pondicherry, Auroville and activities?

If you have any specific enquiries, we are happy to give you more information.

Contact us now!

Contact +91 93611 85955 to book directly or for advice