Auroville in Puducherry
Auroville better known “City of Dawn” is a universal township situated north-west of Pondicherry on the East Coast Road. It was founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa also known as ‘The Mother’; the spiritual follower of Sri Aurobindo. Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger.
Purpose of Auroville
Auroville is a universal township where people from of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all nationalities, creed, and politics. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity and transformation of consciousness among the people that will bestow the spiritual, cultural, environmental and social needs to the mankind. This "universal township" is believed to contribute extensively in the "progress of humanity towards its splendid future by bringing together people of goodwill and aspiration for a better world."
The most important aspect of this township is that various countries have constructed permanent pavilions, which reflects the customs, beliefs and culture of their countries. In fact a universal town, people speaks different kinds of languages. This is a place where people with different nationalities, beliefs and culture live in harmony, a multinational, multilingual and multicultural population residing in peace and harmony.
The Auroville handbook is the official guide to Auroville. It can be bought from the Visitors' Centre, the local bookshops or on Auroville's website. A map of the town can be bought in Pondicherry at the Boutique de Auroville and at the visitor’s center in Auroville.
Matrimandir in Auroville
The Government of India and UNESCO have endorsed the project. In the middle of the township, is the Matrimandir, a golden metallic sphere which has been acclaimed as "a marvelous and unique architectural feat. Matrimandir’s concept was conceived by Mirra Alfassa as "a representation of Universal Mother". During the inaugural ceremony of Auroville on 28 February 1968, soil from 124 countries was placed in a lotus-shaped urn and was mixed to signify universal oneness. Matrimandir - Meaning "Temple of the Mother" in Sanskrit, is the geographical and spiritual heart of Auroville. The outside is plated with gold, while the inside is stark white with a gigantic crystal in the center. Bags, cell phones and cameras are not allowed in the temple.
While it was initially planned to accommodate e 50,000 people from all over the world, the actual population today is 2,000, coming from different countries. The community is divided up into neighborhoods with English, French, Sanskrit, and Tamil names. It is advisable for visitors who come with a deeper interest and in fact want to visit one of Auroville's projects, to make an appointment with the concerned place through the Information Desk at the Visitors Centre.
Matrimandir Information Kiosk:
Phone (0413) 262-2373
The residents are involved in agriculture, administration, commerce and handicrafts, education, healthcare and development projects. AuroRE Systems, is an international award winning unit involved in solar photovoltaic and thermal systems. Auroville has various activities including several schools, research institute and other establishments. The research institute conducts research on energy, agriculture and many other areas. Casual visitors are encouraged to go first to the Visitors Centre, which is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm and offers information, exhibitions, a video viewing facility, a cafeteria and shopping facilities.
Accommodation in Auroville
Guest accommodations are available in various settlements around the township area. The charges vary between Rs 150 and Rs 1000 per person per night depending on the type of accommodation and facilities provided. Advance booking is advised, and can be done either through the Auroville Guest Service, located upstairs at the Solar Kitchen (firstname.lastname@example.org), or by contacting one of the guest houses directly.
There are more than 450 beds in different guesthouses in Auroville,
and many more in the other hotels near the township, which are generally
less expensive. The best way is to go to the visitors' center in
Auroville and browse through their book in which you can see the rooms
and get details about them. Prices generally range from Rs 150-4100 per
person per day.
Some well known guest houses include Aspiration
with delicious food, Shranga, Verite, Youth Camp, and Gratitude.
Overnight guests in Auroville's guest houses are expected to pay a daily
contribution of Rs 100 (30 for students), which is often included in
the guesthouse rate. For this contribution you receive a Guest Card
which allows you to use the services of Auroville, like the Solar
Kitchen, classes and some shops. December through February is the
busiest time in Auroville. Visitors are advised to plan the trip in
Each guest has to contribute financially towards the maintenance and development of the township and its infrastructure (water, roads, electricity, farms, education etc.). At present, visitors are requested to contribute Rs 60 per day per adult, Rs 30 per day per teenager, for children below the age of 12 no payment is required. There is also a student rate of Rs 30 per day.
The guest contribution is reduced to Rs 50 if the stay is for one month or longer. This contribution is not included in the guesthouse price. After payment of this contribution, guest passes and cards are issued by some of the major guesthouses, by the Financial Service near Aspiration and the Guest Service at Solar Kitchen. This pass will enable visitor to move more freely through the township as they are for certain facilities and services. A bicycle rental is around Rs 20 per day and motor bike rental is around Rs 100 per day.
Visitors can buy hand woven hammocks; hand carved stone sculptures, and cool clothing, LED headlights, and books about Auroville.
Restaurants in Auroville
A meal at the Solar Kitchen costs Rs 60, a card is required. The Solar Kitchen is the most popular place to eat, the food is delicious. La Terrace cafe serves coffees, salads, sandwiches and different international dishes. Try the delicious mushroom pasta with egg and the wonderful ice-cream. They do not accept cash: visitors must apply for a guest card at the visitor's centre, fill it with credit, and pay using that account. Both, La Terrace and the Solar Kitchen use organic products. Ganesha Bakery is very popular, serving full meals and baked goods. Visitor Centre has a superb cafe with daily specials and a wide range of Indian and European food including great vegetarian food, drinks and desserts. Le Morgan at the Town Hall is a French restaurant is open for lunch and dinners. It is open to people staying in Auroville and is closed on Mondays and opens till 5 on other days. New Creation Corner serves great vegetarian dishes, and has a great atmosphere. Paradise Pizza is an amazing pizza restaurant where the pizzas are cooked on a clay oven and taste delicious. They also offer some daily specials of pasta. Kofibar a sweet little cafe near the Auroville Bakery and serves some delicious food.