Maps, Sri Aurobindo’s places; old photos
Maps, satellite views
4 April 1910 the ship Dupleix arrived Pondicherry from Calcutta. Sri Aurobindo was met by two workers of publish house India.
Shanker Chetty House
39, Comty Chetty Street
From April 1910 till October 1910 Sri Aurobindo, Nag Bijoy Kumar, Suresh Chakravati (Moni), Nolini Kanta Gupta, and Saurin Bose stayed at house of Shanker Chetti, sympathise businessman, in absolute privacy. Lived in a small way. Some money was sent by friends from Baroda and Madras (casual). Sri Aurobindo did not accept abode with him as his pupils (sadhakas) but taught them Greek, Latin and French. Latter they became famous Bengal writers but at Pondicherry were well-known more as footballers.
House of Sunder Chetty
40, Rue de la Pavillon (now Rue Suffren)
Sri Aurobindo lived here from October 1910 till April 1911.
Raghay Chetty House
10, Rue Saint Louis
Sri Aurobindo lived at Raghavan house from April 1911 till April 1913
House on Mission Street
(Rue de Misssion Etrangere)
In Rue des Missions Etrangeres (= Mission Street) close to the Dupleix Street (= Jawaharlal Nehru Street) there was a house with its front facing west. It extended from the Mission Street backward down to the Rue de la Cantine on the East. It consisted of three courtyards. Each courtyard had four verandas around it; Sri Aurobindo's room was in the third block. The front block was occupied by Nolini, Sourin, Bejoy; Moni was in the second block. Sri Aurobindo lived here from April till October 1913.
Rue Law de Lauriston / Rue Francois Martin
Numeration is floating: now No 33,formerly No 37, and before — No 41. Here Sri Aurobindo lived from October 1913 till September 1922.
The house was rented at Rs. 15/- per month. It was a big self-sufficient house with two entrances — one on the north and the other on the west. This well-built structure stood at the junction of two streets. Rue Francois Martin ran from north to south whereas Rue Law de Lauriston from east to west. The western gate faced Rue Francois Martin. This was evidently the postern gate, the northern indeed was the main entrance; but as it remained always locked, the western became the main gate. Entering by this gate one would come across an open space which could be termed a courtyard. The northern gate led straight to the staircase; it was later on closed up and the entrance converted into a room, as you see at present. The house being tenantless so long, grass had grown thick at certain places along its walls. There was only one tap for the whole house and that too in the open courtyard, against a wall near the back staircase. Sole towel for all.
In the interior of the house, at one end of the verandah there was a wide staircase leading to the first floor. Each of the steps had its rim strengthened, almost decorated, by a wooden plank. The back staircase had no protection from sun and rain. It was constructed for the passage of cooks, servants, the menials.
The upper storey held spacious rooms and a spacious verandah. The east and the west ends had both an open terrace facing south. On the west, at the corner there was a wide room, adjoining which was another room and then the open terrace. Both the terraces had seats under the parapets. Inhabitants used to sit there, including Sri Aurobindo, and chat for long hours at night. The big room, the front room and the terrace — the three together being considered the best part of the house — were set apart for Sri Aurobindo. Such a big house but without electric lights.
Soap — one time during four days. Sometimes Sri Aurobindo was compelled to walk without shoes. Deficiency in clothes. Food simple and often bad-cooked. Sri Aurobindo ate all. On complaint, for example, that it will be good to add salt at meat, answered, "Yes, there is not salt", and continued to eat. Diets were not interest to him. He ate meat, smoked and drank wine that was cheap and sold throughout. Only later he become vegetarian and gave up vine, smoking and tea. Mainly he kept his house but attended to supporting of the body: at a brisk pace he walked at rooms till ten hours per day and stamped a wide trail at a feet in breadth and two inches in depth. One of his duties was feeding cats (by fish). Afterward this house used for visitors and named as "Guest House".
9, Rue de la Marine
(south-west part of today Ashram). Here Sri Aurobindo and the Mother lived from September-October 1922 till February 1927. Sri Aurobindo’s room was on the first floor, on the south-east corner. The Mother’s room was on the same floor and looked to north. For more information and photos see here
Rue Francois Martin / Rue Saint Gilles
From 7 February 1927 Sri Aurobindo and the Mother stayed here for all life. At three rooms of this house Sri Aurobindo lived in absolute privacy many years. For more information and photos see here
Old photographs of Pondicherry