Auroville is everything it is called - "The
International Township of Harmony", and more. Based on the concept of
the Mother, it is an entirely independent multi-racial community, which
works and lives in self-fashioned, wildly original homes. It consists of
50 settlements spread across 20-sq-kms.
A large modern architectural marvel - the "Matri Mandir" - houses a meditation room that holds the largest glass crystal in the world.
In French ville means city - Auro + Ville means "Aurobinda Nagari", Auroville or City of Dawn was materialised by the disciples of Shri Aurobinda and endowed with the blessings of Shri Ma. Shri Aurobinda society was its founder.
The International Township For Harmony
A universal international city has been developed by the financial help of UNESCO, under the patronage of India and with the co-operation of 126 countries on the border of Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu. In the land of red soil of Arcot district the representatives of 124 countries were gathered on 28 February 1968 and contributed a little earth of their respective country to lay the foundation of Auroville in presence of the president of India.
French architect Mr Roger Ongar was deployed to build the city. Auroville is divided into 4 zones and it is located 10-km northwest of Shri Aurobinda Ashram on Pondicherry-Chennai road. The area of Auroville is 50-sq-km. The chief aim of Auroville is not to build the city but to make 'man' in true sense. There is a plan to build 50,000 houses and what is more interesting, there is no private ownership in Auroville. It is a living workshop of international unity of man.
In other words, to live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Devine Consciousness. Funds are coming in Auroville city under a commune system through agriculture, education, development activities, computer (Aurolake), Handicrafts and technology. There is uniqueness in naming the houses - Sincerity, Shanti, Horizon. Gratitude, Fertile and others.
Establishment Of A Independent Multi-Racial Community
After death of Shri Maa in 1973, a struggle for power arose between Sri Aurobinda society and residents of Auroville who came from abroad. They blamed each other. The society demanded - the township with all its property will belong to the Sri Aurobinda Society.
On the other hand, the residents of Auroville claimed - Auroville belongs to nobody in particular, it belongs to humanity as a whole. Residents of Auroville alleged that the Society had misused the fund and the Society had not co-operated. Society in return, stopped all sorts of fund and cancelled all plans & programmes.
Residents of Auroville formed a new committee - "Auromitra". In 1976, France-German-America extended financial help to Auroville who were literally starving. In 1977 & 1978, both were engaged in conflict and in 1980, with a number of representatives a new committee was formed under the supervision of Indian Government, to decrease the tension.
Now, Auroville is performing with well keeping their separate identity from the society and their developments are at their peak. More than 1,200 foreign devouts in 33 communes run their daily routine in their own style and function. Auroville is now a multi-speaking commune of 65 of languages.
Every commune maintains separate guesthouses, they are beautifully managed with accommodation and eating facilities. One can contact Bharat Niwas if one desire's to stay at Auroville.
PRIME ATTRACTION OF AUROVILLE
The chief attraction of Auroville is the globe shaped 30m high Matri Mandir. On 28 August 1968, 124 young people, from all over the world laid the foundation stone of this temple placing little soil of their own countries in earthen pots. Dedicated to goddesses 'Mahalakshmi', 'Mahasaraswati'. 'Meheshwari' and 'Mahakali', French architect Roza Andhdra erected a unique Matri Mandir under the Banyan tree (divine tree) of 120 yrs.
Today, it is the central attraction of Auroville. A slanting pathway leads to the circular shaped Meditation Hall. Reflecting on 2 glasses, lustre of sunlight is being sparked off from the world largest crystal of 600 kg, brought from Germany. There is no electricity in the temple. The devotees sit for meditation in the hall.
Maintaining hundreds of norms, only 100 visitors are allowed to visit from 2.00pm to 5.00pm daily. No ticket system is there but it requires permission. Sri Aurobinda Ashram Aurocare starts from Cottage Complex at 2.30pm carrying 25 passengers to Auroville. Booking is available at the Ashrama gate from 8.00am to 8.45am.
Director of Tourism also arranges to visit Auroville and single visit requires permission from Matri Mandir reception. Close to it is kitchen or dinning hall. Visitors may get food there. Close to Matri Mandir is Ampitheatre Auditorium. Speeches reach to 3,000 audiences clearly without the help of mike.
At the Bharat Niwas Pavilion, entertainments of Indian classical cultural programmes are being held. It has a big library to conduct researches on Indology and languages. The Information-cum-Reception Centre of Auroville is also located at Bharat Niwas. Handicrafts are on sale at Boutiqued Auroville from 9-00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 5.30pm, except on Sunday. They are all scattered and one may join package tour, but it may not satisfy one.
HOW TO GET THERE
Road: Auroville is located 10-km northwest of Shri Aurobinda Ashram on Pondicherry-Chennai road.
WHERE TO STAY
There are 33 Guest Houses available at Auroville, which are clean, quite and add a good value for money.
Outside the Campus of Auroville, there are guesthouses under private management. At a little distance of Matri Mandir, there is Centrefield guesthouse of cottage type rooms for short duration.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Auroville Guest Programme, Visitors Centres, Auroville-605101, India, 'Boutiqued' Auroville, 12 J N St. near Sri Aurobinda Ashram, Pondicherry.