Auroville / Matri Mandir
Auroville is an experimental township which was founded by Mirra Alfassa (known as ‘The Mother’ by her followers). She was one of the disciples of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and was instrumental in setting up Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry / Pondicherry. After his death in 1950, Mirra Alfassa used to run the ashram. In 1968, she envisioned a township where men and women of all countries can live in peace and harmony. In her words: “Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity.”
The name ‘Auroville’ translates to ‘City of Dawn’ and is derived from two French words: Aurore which means ‘Dawn’ and Ville that means ‘City’. In addition, the name ‘Auro’ also refers to Mirra Alfassa (The Mother)’s spiritual guru, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh.
The township lies partially in the state of Tamil Nadu, and other part in the Union Territory of Puducherry/Pondicherry. The 62 acre place was chosen as it was barren. The inauguration ceremony of the township had representatives from 124 countries who had brought some soil from their homeland. The soil from all the nations was mixed in a lotus-shaped marble vessel, now sited at the focal point of the Amphitheatre. Today, Auroville is home to about 2500 people with about 700-800 from India.
At the center of the township lies Matri Mandir, which is a globe shaped building that is 30m high and is covered by golden colored concave discs. This mandir is used for meditation by the people who reside at Auroville. Many visitors come to this place thinking this as a popular “tourist” spot. To such visitors, a “Matrimandir Viewing Point” is a dedicated place from where they can view the Matrimandir from a distance. For others, who come here for meditation and spirituality, a pass can be availed for free at the Visitor Center and a 10-15 minute walk will take you to Matrimandir.
Where to stay?
Pondicherry / Puducherry
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