New Delhi, India
February 24, 2007
Auroville’s many products are available at Auroville, of course; but since we didn’t have the time to do the half-hour one-way trip to Auroville, we settled for the next best alternative. We headed for La Boutique D’Auroville, the shop on Nehru Street, in the heart of the French Quarter. Once you get to Nehru Street, ask for the Auroville Boutique, and just about anybody will be able to guide you there - it’s a medium sized shop a hundred metres or so from Goubert Market, just off the main road.
Inside, there is a dizzying range of stuff to choose from. The clothing is what takes up a large portion of the boutique: there are T-shirts with the Auroville motif (and other themes); shirts, sarongs, traditional Indian salwar-kurtas, scarves and the like. Most of it is cotton, but there’s a good bit of silk around too. And if you’re looking for accessories to go with the clothing, check out the leather section - there are shoes and sandals, wallets, and handbags. The handbags, in particular, are worth buying: lovely handcrafted bags with traditional Indian designs, for only a few hundred rupees each.
The ceramic and terracotta section of the boutique is also very tempting, with beautifully Oriental teapots and cups – a minimalist’s dream come true, in shades of pale green and grey. There are plenty of vases, plates, and other crockery as well. Despite telling ourselves that we didn’t want to run the risk of something breaking, we succumbed to temptation and bought a tiny terracotta elephant. Very cute!
Among the boutique’s bestsellers are its handmade paper items. You’ll find notebooks, stationery, calendars - and what we bought - exquisite lampshades decorated with dried and pressed flowers. They’re completely collapsible and fold into a flat rectangle that we could easily stow in the bottom of a gym bag.
There’s much more to the boutique - jams and preserves (we bought ourselves a delicious papaya and ginger jam, and a bottle of lemon curd); herbal soaps; musical instruments (including the most tempting xylophones!); scented candles; potpourri; and what have you. If shopping’s high priority for you, do visit this shop. Their products are excellent quality, the staff are very helpful and polite, and it’s a pleasant, uncrowded place. Depending on what you buy, you’ll probably spend anywhere between Rs 300 – Rs 10,000. We bought a T-shirt, a kurta, two leather bags, two lampshades, a terracotta elephant and two bottles of preserves, and the bill came to a little over Rs 2,000.
From journal Pondicherry: India à la Française