The Auroville Ashram is an experimental township that is designed as 'Universal Town'.
The Auroville Ashram is an experimental township that is designed as 'Universal Town'. the idea is to create a city where people from across the world of all cultures and traditions come and live together in peace.
It is founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and a disciple of Shri Aurobindo, French Lady known as 'Maa' or 'The Mother'. The project was supported by the Govt. of India, and the UNESCO passed a resolution in 1966. The town was officially inaugurated in 1968. The city is planned in a circle of radius 1.25kms, and the center of the city is the famous Matrimandir along with the gardens surrounding it. Just outside this are the industrial zone, the cultural zone, the peace zone, and the residential zone. The entire city is surrounded by a 'green belt'.
The main attraction here is the "Matrimandir" which is an architectural masterpiece with a 30m high globe with a lotus-shaped foundation. You can watch an introductory video about the concept of the city, and sit here in silence to concentrate. The entry is free of costs, and you can only buy the tickets in person at the venue, not online. The walk from the entry gates to the center takes around 10-12 minutes.
The Matrimandir is called soul of the city and is situated in a large open space called Peace. Matrimandir does not belong to any particular religion or section.
It is in the form of a huge sphere surrounded by twelve petals. The Geodesic dome is covered by golden discs and reflects sunlight, which gives radiance. There is a meditation hall known as the inner chamber inside this central dome. This contains the largest optically-perfect glass globe in the world.
The four main pillars that support the structure of Matrimandir, and carry the Inner Chamber, have been set at the four main directions of the compass. These four pillars are symbolic of the four aspects of the mother as described by Sri Aurobindo, and are named after these four aspects. These aspects are Maheshwari (south pillar), Mahakali (north pillar), Mahalakshmi (east pillar) and Mahasaraswati (west pillar). South of the Park of Unity, is a raised garden area which offers visitors a beautiful view of the Matrimandir and its surroundings. It is the Viewing Point of Matrimandir. Visits to Matrimandir are free of cost. Bookings for passes to Matrimandir cannot be done by agents, guides or tour operators.
General information on the Matrimandir can be obtained every day at the Information Desk at the Visitors Centre, 9.00 am-1.00 pm and 1.30 pm–5.00 pm. This includes an introductory video on the Matrimandir offered in various languages. Booking must be made in person at the Visitors Centre, any day except Tuesday between 10 and 11 am or 2 and 3 pm, after seeing the 10 minute introductory video called 'Matrimandir'.
The other aspects of Auroville can be explored on the way back a small diversion through the International Zone, with interesting locations like Savitri Bhavan, Unity Pavilion, Bharat Nivas, Tibetan Pavilion, Inuksuk, and then back to Visitors Centre.