Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India near Puducherry in South India. "Auroville is a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, politics and nationalities. The purpose of Auroville was to realize human unity, runs the message of the founder of Auroville, Mirra Alfassa, known universally as the Mother. Auroville has developed the activities of an emerging universal township, besides reaching out to the wider bioregion with many programmes and projects related to education, rural development, health care, vocational training etc. Auroville - General Information
Auroville was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, known as The Mother. She was a collaborator of Sri Aurobindo, who believed that "man is a transitional being". The Mother expected that this experimental universal township would contribute significantly in the progress of humanity towards its splendid future by bringing together people of goodwill and aspiration for a better world. Auroville - History
There was nothing on the ground at the beginning but in the minds and hearts of the pioneers was the dream, a broad, comprehensive and luminous vision of future elaborated by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. "Auroville: at last a place where one will be able to think only of the future. At last a place where one will be able to think only of progressing and transcending oneself..." runs a message of the Mother.
"Auroville is the ideal place for those who want to know the joy and liberation of no longer having any personal possessions" runs another message. The Mother also believed that such a universal township will contribute decisively to the Indian renaissance. The Government of India endorsed the township, and in 1966, UNESCO also endorsed it inviting the member-states to participate in the development of Auroville.
Auroville is composed of a cluster of properties 12kms north of Pondicherry and can be reached via the East Coast Road (ECR) which connects Chennai and Pondicherry. The visitor centre and Matrimandir can be reached by travelling eight kilometres westwards from the signposted turnoff at the ECR. Turning east leads directly to Auroville Beach. Auroville - Location
In the middle of the town is the Matrimandir, which has been acclaimed as "an outstanding and original architectural achievement". It was conceived by The Mother as "a symbol of the Divine's answer to man's inspiration for perfection". Silence is maintained inside the Matrimandir to ensure the tranquility of the space and entire area surrounding the Matrimandir is called Peace area. The Matrimandir has twelve gardens, twelve petals and future lakes, the Amphitheater and the Banyan Tree.
Inside the Matrimandir, a spiraling ramp leads upwards to chamber of polished white marble. "A place to find one's consciousness". At its centre, a 70 cms crystal ball in a gold mount glows in a ringle ray of sunlight that is catched and directed on the globe from the top of structure. According to the Mother is "a symbol of future realisation." When there is no sun or after the sunset, the sunray on the globe is replaced by beam from a solar powered light. Matrimandir has a solar power plant and is surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens.
The dream of building a new city for the future on a clean slate, with the purpose of promoting research and experimentation alongside integral development, has been attracting architects and students of architecture from all over the world ever since Auroville´s inception in 1968. Not having pre-defined by-laws or being bound by the conventions of human society has allowed a multitude of expressions to manifest in the course of Auroville´s development, as natural extensions of the quest for the new. Some public drinking fountains feature "dynamised" water, which has been "made healthier" by having the water listen to Bach and Mozart. Classes are held at the "Future School" in the shade of a tree. Auroville - Architecture, Technology and Education
Paper and coin currency is not used in Auroville. Instead, residents use electronic cards which connect to their central account. Visitors, however, are allowed to pay in cash. According to Auroville Today, one has to be "able to save a substantial amount required – of the order of Rs 15 lakhs upwards – to start a life in Auroville." Auroville - Economy
Residents of Auroville are expected to pay a monthly contribution, and are asked to help the community whenever possible, by work, money or kind. "Guest contribution", or a daily fee payable by the visitors of Auroville, constitutes a part of Auroville's budget. There is a system of "maintenance", whereby those Aurovilians who are needy, can receive from the community a monthly maintenance which could cover simple basic needs of life. Auroville's economy as its overall life are of evolving nature and there are ongoing experiments to reach closer to the vision.
Auroville finances itself mainly by receiving donations, and by its commercial units which contribute 33% of their profits to Auroville's Central Fund. There are guest houses, building construction units, information technology, small and medium scale businesses, producing and re-selling items such as handmade paper for stationery items, as well as producing its well-known incense sticks, which can be bought in Auroville's own shop in Pondicherry, or are sold around India and abroad. Each of these units contributes a considerable part of their profits to the township.
The Auroville website accesses journals and newsletters providing open as well as restricted forums for various projects, interests, organizations and outreach which make up the life of the community. Auroville - Communication and Mediay
Auroville has a small but dedicated 'Outreach Media' team which regulates visits of journalists and film/video makers. Their particular aim is to ensure that all journalists and filmmakers get the official, up-to-date information or relevant/representative footage from the correct sources so that generally their visit is a fruitful and constructive one.