The Experiential Township of Auroville
In 1968, a disciple of Shri Aurobindo Ghosh, Mirra Alfassa, came up with the idea of an experiential township. She envisaged a city where people from all countries can come and live in peace and progressive harmony, with no caste, no creed, and no nationality. This city was called Auroville- the City of Dawn. Aurore, the French word for 'dawn' and Ville for 'city.' The purpose of this town will be to realize the unity of women.
So, barren land of 62 acres was chosen to make this city, half of which lay in the state of Tamil Nadu and the other in the Union Territory of Pondicherry. Representatives of 124 countries came to attend the inaugural ceremony and brought soil from their homeland and put it in a lotus-shaped vessel to symbolize human unity. This vessel is placed at the focal point of the amphitheater in the Matri Mandir in Auroville. Today, 2500 people live here with 700-800 people from India.
In the center of Auroville lies the Matri Mandir, a temple made by Alfassa, popularly called 'The Mother.' The foundation of Matri Mandir was laid at the sunrise on 21st February 1971, the 93rd birthday of The Mother. The project was completed in May 2008. It is in the form of a huge sphere surrounded by twelve petals. The Matri Mandir is a golden building covered by concave discs that reflect sunlight making it radiant. The huge sphere is surrounded by twelve petals. People of Auroville go there to meditate. It is not a tourist place. Tourists who wish to join may go to the tourist viewing point to get a view of the temple. Only the people who want to meditate and experience spirituality can enter the Matri Mandir. The central dome is empty, having nothing but a meditation hall known as the inner chamber that contains the largest optically-perfect glass globe in the world. There are four pillars that support the structure of the dome and face the cardinal directions. These pillars represent the four aspects of The Mother.
As fancy and mysterious Auroville and Matri Mandir sound, the lifestyle of the people is extremely plain and simple. Visit Auroville to see the famed utopian community of India.