Auroville is an experimental township in the making for a population of more than 50,000 odd people from around the globe. Auroville is mere 10 Km from Pondicherry(now Puducherry) and falls 160 Km south of Chennai. There is regular bus service from Ooty, Bangalore, Madras, Madurai etc. that ply at a regular basis on the route. The best mode of transport is to hire a bicycle from Pondicherry and peddle down to Auroville.
The word “Auroville” means ‘The City of Dawn.” Auroville was founded by the Mother of Shri Aurobindo in February 1968. The Mother’s vision was to see all humans living together united irrespective of any caste, colour, creed, and nationality. In the inaugural ceremony, boys and girls from 121 nations and 23 states of India placed a handful of earth in a lotus-shaped urn meant as their part of the world. It was meant to signify the creation of a city devoted to international understanding, peace and a brighter future of mankind in the future.
“Matri Mandir” also known as ‘The Soul of Auroville’ is situated in the centre of the city. The building which is a flattened sphere has in it the ‘Inner Room’ as envisaged by the Mother. The room is meant to practice the concentration of the mind to unlock the ‘real self’ or attain the higher level of consciousness. The hall has the largest single crystal globe in the world, and everything else is white.
There is no music, incense or flowers of any sort because the Mother did not believe in fallacies and neither is the room meant to represent any temple where idol worship is practiced. Everyone is free to sit anywhere in the room observing complete silence for a quiet meditation. Visitors have to obtain a pass to have access to the room which of course is free of cost but available only for a certain time per day.
Matri Mandir is the major attraction of Auroville. It is surrounded by four zones namely:
Industrial Unit : Auroville is a self-sustaining city. Industrial Unit has many food processing and similar units for products like pickle, jam, bakery etc. It also has ready made garments manufacturing unit, electronic components assembling and similar kind of industrial units.
Cultural Unit : The cultural unit is a mix of educational, cultural, and sports activities which consist of schools, a youth centre, and a sports complex.
International Unit : An International unit is the one that coordinates all kind of events and meetings for participants.
Residential Unit : The residential unit consists of individual houses, apartments as well as huts but no individual owns any house. All of the structures belong to Auroville.
There is a central community kitchen for citizens of Auroville, although there are some separate community kitchens too.
Everyone is welcome to visit Auroville free of charge. There is no entry fee to Auroville and Matri Mandir. The international visitors have to apply for a visa which is usually granted for a month.
It is advisable for both national and international visitors to find a place to stay as per their need and budget beforehand. For this purpose, one can also avail the Accommodation service provided by Auroville.
Since the months of December and February are booked heavily due to dry and cool weather, the visitors should ensure their stay by booking early in the year.
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