Matrimandir - Auroville
At a distance of 13 km from Pondicherry, Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. It lies on the East Coast Road and was founded by Mirra Alfassa in 1968 and was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. The word Auroville essentially means a universal town, where people can live peacefully, irrespective of nationality, colour, caste and creed. The purpose of Auroville, Pondicherry was to emphasize human unity, promoting message of the founder of Auroville, Mirra Alfassa. It is one of the best Pondicherry places to visit .
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, symbolizing 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.
The town houses the Matrimandir (Temple of the Divine Mother) at the center. It is a one hundred foot high spherical structure with the lotus bud shaped foundation. Its outer walls are decorated by gold-encased discs. The structure has an exquisite meditation chamber of white marble floor and walls. Daylight entering from the roof is directed to a huge crystal globe which illuminates mysteriously providing a focus for meditation. It has around twelve gardens, lakes and an amphitheater.
The Visitors Center provides a pass to the Matrimandir. There is also an art gallery at Visitors Center along with a video theatre (Timings: 10.30 AM, 11.30 AM, 2.30 PM, 3 PM & 3.30 PM). There is also a cafeteria and some boutiques offering shopping opportunities.
Timing for issue of passes: Weekdays: 9.30 AM to 12.30 PM and 1.45 PM to 4 PM. Sundays: 9.30 AM to 12.30 PM.