Timings : Mon-Sat : 9.30AM to 5PM, Sun 9.30AM to 1.30PM only
Time Required : Around 1 day
Entry Fee : Free
Conceived as the 'Universal Town', the Auroville Ashram is an experimental township - the idea is to create a city where people from across the world of all cultures and traditions come and live together in peace. Founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo and a disciple of Shri Aurobindo, French Lady known as 'Maa' or 'The Mother', the Aurobindo Ashram is a place where you can relax and calm your inner being. The project was supported by the Govt. of India, and the UNESCO passed a resolution in 1966 commending this as "a project of importance to the future of humanity". The town was officially inaugurated in 1968.
The architecture of the city is as interesting as the concept. The city is planned in a circle of radius 1.25kms, and the center of the city is the famous Matrimandir along with the gardens surrounding it. Just outside this are the industrial zone, the cultural zone, the peace zone, and the residential zone. Outside this, the entire city is surrounded by a "green belt" - this is supposed to act as a barrier against urban encroachment, a wildlife habitat, and sources of food/timber/etc. This entire area was created out of a wasteland, demonstrating the ability to conserve nature while developing a town.
The main attraction here is the "Matrimandir" - you can watch an introductory video about the concept of the city, and sit here in silence to concentrate. With water pooling in from different sides, the sound of the water and cool breeze which always flows, provides a perfect atmosphere for meditation. The mandir is an architectural masterpiece with a 30m high globe with a lotus-shaped foundation urn. The entry is free of costs, and you can only buy the tickets in person at the venue, not online. The walk from the entry gates to the center takes around 10-12 minutes.
The best way to experience Auroville ashram is to actually just sit in one of the cafes, and talk to some of the residents here about their experience of living in the city - you would be surprised to find out how much the people living here love the concept and the life.
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