Auroville: The City of Dawn

Auroville a city/community in Pondicherry where there ain’t no possessions and people of all nationalities live in harmony.

Auroville is an experimental township founded in 1968 in the Union territory of Puducherry(Pondicherry). Auroville belongs to nobody in particular but to humanity as a whole and its doors are open to one and all regardless of age, nationality, financial status or religious views. Founded upon the visions of the late yogi Shri Aurobindo, Auroville strives for peace, harmony, knowledge and upliftment. The total number of permanent residents in the commune are about 2800 that have come to settle here from 54 nationalities, and what all of these different people have in common is the drive for individual growth and spiritual development. Located on the eastern coastline 150 kms south of Chennai, Auroville along with neighboring Pondicherry is flocked with travelers from all over the world that come here to get a taste of the laid-back beach life, tropical climate, French colonial culture, artsy Mediterranean cafes and the alternative spiritual lifestyle. So if you’re fresh outta college or in a mid-life crisis, Auroville may just be the place for you to find some answers for yourself and have some fun with your self-exploration.

Whats In It?

Auroville has a lot thats its got going inside. Its much like a mini-verse or a sentient entity that looks after itself. So heres a brief summary of what you otta know and all the things that make up Auroville:

The History

Auroville was born on 28 Feb 1968. During the inauguration youths from 124 different nationalities deposited a handful of their native soil into the Urn, a marble clad structure in the form of a lotus bud in the center of the Auroville amphitheater. It was at this time that the Auroville charter, handwritten in French by the founder know as the Mother(Mirra Alfassa) was signed.

Charter handwritten in French. the Auroville Charter handwritten in French.

The Matrimandir

Auroville is built around the Matrimandir (Sanskrit for temple of the mother). It is a meditation hall in the form of a large sphere surrounded by 12 petals and contains the largest optically-perfected glass globe in the world.

under the Matrimandir image courtesy: picstoc.com

It took 37 years to build, from laying the foundation at sunrise on 21st Feb 1971 – to its completion in 2008. The Matrimandir does not belong to any particular religion or sect and is open to public by appointment.

image credits: modernica.net

Volunteer/intern@Auroville

There are a myriad of volunteering opportunities at Auroville. The areas of work include: alternative healthcare, ecological practices, building maintenance, renewable energy, primary and secondary education, village outreach, architecture, organic farming, etc. Short and long term volunteering opportunities are offered here and is a great way for someone to test the waters for someone considering to move here.

volunteers working in the buddha garden in Auroville

Study@Auroville

Auroville’s 5 week Swadharma programme is a transformative learning adventure with the goal of self discovery. Best suited for ages 18 through 28, the programme is based on helping the youth figure out their calling and realizing their potential.
Short term programmes and workshops are also offered here.

learning is fun in Auroville image credits: earth-auroville.com

Architecture Of Auroville

Auroville is a constantly growing city. Architects from all over the world contributed to the vision since its conception over 50 years ago. Auroville has been the hub of experimentation in architecture with various aspects including:building technology, building materials and Eco-friendly architecture the successfully harmonizes with the surrounding environment and proves to be cost effective. Pioneering construction and building technology used here have won numerous design awards and grants for architectural research and innovation. The Auroville Earth Institute is now working in over 35 nations to transfer and promote knowledge of Earthen and sustainable architecture.

contemporary architecture of an Auroville school

Environmentally consious activities 

A vast number of projects are ongoing in and around the area. Water harvesting, forestation, waste management, organic farming, ecological and rural development, renewable energy, to name a few.

water conserving toilets at Auroville.
Image courtesy: internationalhouseauroville.com

Education 

Auroville has a population of over 600 children and an approach to education that’s quite interesting. Here structured schooling is provided till the age of 14 and higher too, the education system is recognized by national and intentional bodies.

student diversity in the ‘Auroville-future school’
image courtesy: auroville.org

There are many kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. Whats make education really fascinating here is the fact that teachers of kindergarten are from France, Germany, Italy and India whereas children could be native of Russia, South Africa or maybe even Peru, though the medium of education is English. Cultural and anthropological diversity ensures that the child is raised with a greater perspective and global exposure.

awareness through the body therapy at Auroville kindergarten
image credits: awarenessthroughthebody.wordpress.com

Art&Culture

Art enjoys a very revered stature in the Aurovillian society, and much of the community consists of artists and creative people. Auroville is home to a great platform to showcase and celebrate various different art forms.

a jazz concert in Auroville

Art centers for showcasing a myriad of performing arts is widely prevalent here. Some of the art form admired here are dance, classical music, poetry, filmography, to name a few. There are a lot of group art projects and initiatives running here, which makes Auroville a great place for artist to find asylum.

one of the Auroville chiors
image courtesy: aurovilleradio.org

Healthcare System

The healthcare scene in Auroville is quite intriguing too. There is a lot of focus of health and well being, through holistic treatment. Martuvam Healing Forest is a 7 acre medicinal forest in Auroville propagating Siddha form of medical treatment utilizing natural medicinal herbs. Homeopathy, Ayurveda and other forms of holistic healing modalities are also popular here.

the auroville ambulance
image credits: auroville.org

To sum up, Auroville has a lot of offer as a travel destination. While here, it is best to get involved in some of the activities, there’s so much that goes on!

How To Reach Here

Auroville is 30 mins drive from Pondicherry and 3 hour drive from Chennai.
To take a half day introductory tour of Auroville .
Make reservations well in advance if you plan to visit November through March, it’s the busiest season.
there’s no automobiles inside Auroville, people get around just fine on cycles and mopeds, easily available on rent.

References : Curlytales , Wikipedia , Auroville.org

4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *