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Auroville

     Located around 8 km north-west of Puduchery, Auroville – or ‘City of Dawn’ – was conceived as a place of research into the ideal of human unity by the Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo.  The idea was to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill can live together in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.  Auroville came into existence in 1968.

Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger.  Around 2,000 people live there in settlements with names like Grace, Fraternity, Fertile, Certitude and Transformation.  Nearly two-third of the residents is non-Indians.

Architecturally speaking, the buildings are a combination of modern western and traditional Indian elements, set in a rural landscape of deep red earth and widespread forestation, with narrow earth roads linking the settlements.  The residents are involved in agriculture, administration, commerce and handcrafts, alternative technology, education healthcare and development projects, the latter including AuroRE Systems, and international award winning unit involved in solar photovoltaic and thermal systems.

The central Matrimandir, which is not a temple but a place for individual silent concentration, is set in an area of 62 acres at the centre of the emerging township, and is seen as ‘a symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection.   Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive human unity.”

During the inauguration ceremony of Auroville on 28th February 1968, soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn and mixed to symbolize universal oneness.  This urn is today kept at the centre of an Amphitheatre in the Matrimandir Gardens.  The Matrimandir’s 12 sided white marble inner Chamber has a 70 cm diameter optical-quality glass globe at its centre, onto which a shaft of sunlight is focused by way of a roof-mounted heliostat.  The light falling on the globe acts as a focal aid to concentration.

The Auroville Visitors Centre is located near Bharat Nivas, the Indian National Pavilion in Auroville’s International Zone, and is open from 09.30 to 17.30 hrs every day.  This centre has a permanent exhibition on the history and philosophy6 of the project, Information Service offering books, brochures and leaflets on various aspects of Auroville, three boutiques, a bookshop, and a cafeteria providing refreshments and international cuisine.  Introductory videos on the township and the Matrimandir can be seen at the Centre on request.

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