Weather :

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : Free

Timings : General timings- 4:30 AM - 11:00 PM, Visitor's timings- 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry Overview

Located in the White Town of Pondicherry, Aurobindo Ashram has been named after its creator- Sri Aurobindo Ghosh. The foundation of this ashram was laid on 24th November in the year 1926 when he was surrounded by his disciples all over after he retired from politics and settled in Pondicherry. This ashram was set up with the aim of helping people attain moksha and inner peace. Thousands of tourists from all over the country visit the ashram to experience and achieve spiritual knowledge. The ashram is by far one of the wealthiest ashrams in the world. Also, the ashram does not have any branches and solely exists in Pondicherry.

The day this ashram was set up is known as the founding day of the ashram which has been described by Sri Aurobindo in his writings as "less been created than grown around me as its centre". Mirra Alfassa who was one of Aurobindo's followers played a vital role in the establishment of the ashram. Soon after Sri Aurobindo Ghosh's death in 1950, she took care of the Aurobindo Ashram and was known as the 'Mother' of the ashram. At present, the Ashram has over five hundred devotees, five hundred students involved in the democratic progress school and thirteen hundred patients. All these people live in the Ashram's main building which comprises of a block of houses which are connected with each other. These houses are located nearby the ashram at walking distance. 

Some of the facilities offered by the Ashram including the library and the main building can be accessed only after receiving a gate pass from the Bureau Central or guest houses of the Ashram. In addition to this, the ashram also has a spiritual centre which consists of four houses which were inhabited by the Mother and Sri Aurobindo for different intervals of time. There exists a samadhi as well in the courtyard under the frangipani tree where the bodies of Mother and Sri Aurobindo were buried. People come to pay their respect every day by laying flowers on it.

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Facilities at Aurobindo Ashram

1. Collective meditations at Ashram- 7:25 PM - 7:50 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday (no pass required)
Collective meditation at playground- 7:45 PM - 8:15 PM on Thursday and Sunday (accessible to Ashramites and people residing in the guest houses only)

2. Meals in the dining hall
Breakfast- 6:30 AM - 8:00 AM
Lunch- 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Dinner- 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
(Can be accessed after obtaining a pass from Bureau Central)

3. Exhibition and Video programs at Bureau Central - An exhibition is organised as an introduction to the life of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother using their writings. It also gives an insight into the Ashram and the daily tasks undertaken within. Except for Sunday, a video presentation takes place on all the other days which depicts the life and literary works of Sri Aurobindo as well as the Mother, flowers and their significance, the Ashram and much more.

4. Tours - Two tours are provided every week by Autocare Services at 8:15 AM to witness the Ashram as well as other departments related to the Ashram. At 2:00 PM, Auroville is visited. The Auroville trip does not wait for the meditation (i.e. from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM) at the Matrimandir because first-time visitors are not allowed.

Best Time To Visit Aurobindo Ashram

The best time to visit the Aurobindo Ashram is during the winter months when the climate is pleasant and not sticky. The time between November and March is the most favourable. In addition to this, 15th August which is the birthday of Sri Aurobindo is another very busy time of the year for visiting the ashram.

Tips For Visiting Aurobindo Ashram

1. Cameras cannot be carried inside and the bags should be kept outside only. 2. Children below 3 years are not allowed inside the Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Detailed History of Aurobindo Ashram

Sri Aurobindo Ghosh was a philosopher and poet who was born in Kolkata in 1872 and began practising yoga in 1905. Most of his time went in writing and meditation. He moved to Pondicherry after 5 years where he was followed by three or four very young men who believed in his ideals. These men lived with him and looked after the house. A French writer Paul Richard along with 'The Mother' met Aurobindo in 1914 and proposed a monthly review to him. However, after World War I, they had to leave India, and he had to take care of the review all by himself with a little help from the men staying with him. The Mother came back to Pondicherry in April 1920 when the community started turning into an Ashram because the 'Sadhaks' entrusted their inner and outer lives to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. After being established in 1926, the ashram witnessed a rapid growth from the headcount rising from 24 in 1927 to 150 in 1934.

All those years, the Ashram followed a routine wherein at 6:00 in the morning, the Mother would appear on the balcony of the ashram to begin the day with her blessings. Sadhaks had to wake up very early and complete a part of the day's work along with meditation and then assemble under the balcony to receive her blessings. As the ashram kept on growing new departments kept on getting added including the library, dining room, printing, workshops, offices, sports playground, nursing homes, farms etc. which were all looked after by the Sadhaks as a part of their Sadhana. Heads of the various departments met the Mother in the morning and took her blessings as well as her orders. She addressed the Sadhaks on an individual level at 10:00 AM and at 5:00 PM, she would conduct meditation and meet the Sadhaks again. Also, Sri Aurobindo, as well as the Mother, would go out and give public Darshan to all the devotees gathered so as to receive their blessings four times a year.

How To Reach Aurobindo Ashram

The Aurobindo Ashram is situated next to the Bay of Bengal in the eastern Pondicherry. It lies at a distance of 160 km in Southern Madras. One can easily hire a cab or take a local transport which moves to and fro at short intervals and reach the ashram.

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Nikhilesh Dwivedi 1 year ago
Nice place with very calm atmosphere. Good place to understand Aurobindo's philosophy.

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