Auroville is a township located in south India, mostly in the State of Tamil Nadu (some parts are in the State of Puducherry), a few kilometres inland from the Coromandel Coast, approx 150 kms south of Chennai (previously Madras) and 10 kms north of the town of Puducherry. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa (known as “the Mother”, the mystic spiritual collaborator of illumined master, Sri Aurobindo .Sri Aurobindo and Mother together worked for the evolution of mankind and the entire Universe. Auroville is one of their “projects” to achieve this evolutionary progress of mankind. The concept of Auroville – an ideal township devoted to an experiment in human unity – came to the Mother as early as the 1930s. In the mid 1960s the concept was developed and put before the Govt. of India, who gave their backing and took it to the General Assembly of UNESCO. In 1966 UNESCO passed a unanimous resolution commending it as a project of importance to the future of humanity, thereby giving their full encouragement.
The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity. Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. It is a universal township in the making for a population of up to 50,000 people from around the world.
On 28th February 1968 some 5,000 people assembled near the banyan tree at the centre of the future township for an inauguration ceremony attended by representatives of 124 nations, including all the States of India. The representatives brought with them some soil from their homeland, to be mixed in a white marble- clad, lotus-shaped urn, now sited at the focal point of the Amphitheatre. The population of the township is constantly growing, but currently stands at around 2,500 people, of whom approx one-third are Indian.
Auroville has 6 zones as per below:
- Peace Area: At the centre of the township lies the Peace Area, comprising the Matrimandir and its gardens, the amphitheatre with the Urn of Human Unity that contains the soil of 121 nations and 23 Indian states, and the project of a lake to help create an atmosphere of calm and serenity and to serve as a groundwater recharge area.
- Industrial Zone: A 109-hectare area to the north of the Peace Area, the Industrial Zone, a zone for “green” industries, is focused on Auroville’s efforts towards a self-supporting township. It will contain small and medium-scale industries, training centres, arts and crafts, and the city’s administration.
- Residential Zone: The largest of the four city zones, comprising of 189 hectares, the Residential Zone is bordered by parks on the north, south and west. This zone wants to provide a well-adjusted habitat between individual and collective living. 55% of the area will be green and only 45% built surface, thereby creating an urban density balanced by nature.
- International Zone: The International Zone, a zone of 74 hectares to the west of the Peace Area, will host national and cultural pavilions, grouped by continents. Its central focus is to create a living demonstration of human unity in diversity through the expression of the genius and contribution of each nation to humanity.
- Cultural Zone: Planned on a 93-hectare area, situated to the east of the Peace Area, the Cultural Zone will be a site for applied research in education and artistic expression. Facilities for cultural, educational, art and sports activities will be located in this zone.
- Green Belt:The city area with a radius of 1.25 km exists as a zone for organic farms, dairies, orchards, forests, and wildlife areas. This belt will act as a barrier against urban encroachment, provide a variety of habitats for wildlife, and serve as a source for food, timber, medicines etc. and as a place for recreation. Presently an area of 405 hectares, the Green Belt – though incomplete – stands as an example of successful transformation of wasteland into a vibrant ecosystem. Its further planned extension with an additional 800 hectares will make it into a remarkable demonstration site for soil and water conservation, ground water recharge, and environmental restoration. As lungs for the entire township, it will complete the healing process that Auroville started several decades ago.
You can visit Auroville as guest and spend some days there. It is a life changing experience. You can choose to be part of any of the above 6 belts mentioned above and offer your service there. The spiritual atmosphere of the township and the vibrant population will forever change your perspective towards the world for the better. You can do organic farming, gardening, meditation, learn/play music, create songs, make gift articles, teach people, attend or conduct various workshops. You can choose to stay there with your spouse and children. Auroville uses its own currency and one has to use transport provided by Auroville. People from all over the world keep on contributing to enrich the culture and spirit of this place through their service to the Divine. Last, but not the least, do visit the Samadhi (final resting place of mortal bodies) of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in the nearby Sri Aurobindo Ashram. You will certainly feel a soothing, uplifting energy there which will keep connected with throughout your life.
For more information and details of Auroville visit www.auroville.org