Auroville opening and closing timeTimings: Monday to Saturday: 9:30am - 12:30pm and 2:00pm - 4:30pm, Sunday: 9:30am - 12:30pm
Location: Bommayapalayam, Auroville
Approximate visiting time: 2:30 hours (Half day) plus traveling time
Auroville was conceived as a place of research into the ideal of human unity by the Mother, the spiritual collaborator of Sri Aurobindo. The idea is to build a futuristic city where people of goodwill can live together in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. Auroville came into existence in 1968. Its Charter says, "To live in Auroville one must be a willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness", and describes it as "belonging to nobody in particular, but to humanity as a whole, as a place of constant progress and as a bridge between the past and the future."Located around 8 kms north-west of Puducherry, Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. Around 2,000 people live there in settlements with names like Grace, Fraternity, Certitude and Transformation. Nearly two-thirds of the residents are non-Indians.Architecturally speaking, the buildings are a combination of modern western and traditional Indian elements, set in a rural landscape of deep red earth and widespread forestation, with narrow earth roads linking the settlements. The residents are involved in agriculture, administration, commerce and handicrafts, alternative technology, education, healthcare and development projects, the latter including Aurore Systems, an international award winning unit involved in solar photovoltaic and thermal systems.The central Matrimandir, which is not a temple but a place for individual silent concentration, is set in an area of 62 acres at the centre of the emerging township, and is seen as "a symbol of the Divine's answer to man's aspiration for perfection and as an Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive human unity."During the inauguration ceremony of Auroville on 28th February 1968, soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn and mixed to symbolize universal oneness. This urn is today sited at the centre of an Amphitheatre in the Matrimandir Gardens. The Matrimandir's 12-sided white marble Inner Chamber has a 70cms diameter optical-quality glass globe at its centre, onto which a shaft of sunlight is focused by way of a roof-mounted heliostat. The light falling on the globe acts as a focal aid to concentration. Introductory videos on the township and the Matrimandir can be seen at the Centre by request.
In gardens there are twelve gardens surrounding the structure, converging around it in the huge petal crown from which the Matrimandir arises. In 1969, when discussing the gardens, the Mother indicated that they would have to be of such quality and beauty that people visiting them would experience, physically and concretely. Garden names are Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power, Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony and Perfection.
Prior booking is required to access the Matrimandir for concentration at least a day in advance. All bookings are accepted on an individual basis and only in person; (e-mail or telephone booking are not available for first-time visitors for concentration). There are no group bookings available. Bookings are always made for the following or first free day, and are accepted only up to a week in advance. An introduction to Matrimandir is provided for all first-time visitors who book for a concentration. An explanation is given on the Matrimandir and its significance, followed by a concentration in the Inner Chamber for 10 to 15 minutes. Booking must be made in person at the Visitors Centre, any day except Tuesday between 10 am and 11 am or 2 pm and 3 pm, after seeing the 10 minute introductory video called "Matrimandir".
The Matrimandir Viewing Point, south of the Park of Unity, is a raised garden area which offers visitors a beautiful view of the Matrimandir and its surroundings.
Passes for the Matrimandir Viewing Point can be obtained for free at Auroville's Visitors' Centre, after watching a short introductory video on the Matrimandir.
Timing for issuing of Passes at the Visitors' Centre:
Passes Issued: Mon. to Sat., 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
Sunday, 9.00 a.m. - 13.00 p.m. only
Sunday Afternoons Closed
Way to the Matrimandir Viewing Point: A shaded 10-12 minute walk leads from the Visitors' Centre to the Viewing Point. A free electric shuttle service is available for those who may find it difficult to walk the approx. 1 km distance each way. Free bus service is available for the return journey from the Viewing Point to the Visitors Centre for all those who wish to avail of it. If you have some more time available for exploring other aspects of Auroville, on the way back a small diversion is possible through the International Zone, with interesting locations like Savitri Bhavan, Unity Pavilion, Bharat Nivas, Tibetan Pavilion, Inuksuk, and then back to Visitors Centre. (Duration around 2 hours)