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Auroville City is considered to be a ‘City of Dawn’ that is situated around 8 km from the main town of Pondicherry. It lies on the East Coast Road and was founded by Mirra Richard in 1968. This city was designed by the French architect Roger Anger with the purpose of achieving human unity. The word Auroville essentially means a universal town, where people can live peacefully, irrespective of nationality, colour, caste and creed.
Auroville was officially inaugurated on 28th February, 1968 and was endorsed by UNESCO and the Government of India. During its inauguration, soil from over 124 countries was placed and mixed inside a lotus shaped urn, symbolising universal oneness. Auroville was built to welcome people from all over the world to live together and explore scientific, educational, cultural and spiritual pursuits as per the Auroville charter.
Tourists can visit the Auroville Information Centre and Matrimandir (meditation hall with one of the biggest man-made crystal balls in the world). Matrimandir has a unique architectural shape, which was conceived by Alfassa, resembling ‘a symbol of universal mother’. It has around twelve gardens, future lakes, banyan tree, twelve petals and an amphitheatre.
The residents of Auroville are engaged in administration, handicrafts, agriculture, commerce, education, healthcare, alternative technology and development projects. There is a visitor centre located near Bharat Niwas, which is the Indian National Pavilion in Auroville’s International Zone. It has a permanent exhibition on philosophy and the history of the project.
This information centre offers brochures, books and leaflets about Auroville. The centre also has three boutiques, a cafeteria and a bookshop inside the attraction. Presently, Auroville covers an area of about 2 square miles, resided by over 1,900 members from 40 different countries.
Timing: 10 am – 6 pm.