Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Aurovilla - The utopian city

Auroville was concieved as a utopian city . It started off as a dream project for MIRA RICHARDS (MOTHER) and who took over the responsibilites of the ashram and was the follower of sri aurobindo .

“…a place that no nation could claim as its sole property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world, obeying one single authority, that of the supreme Truth; a place of peace, concord, harmony, where all the fighting instincts of man would be used exclusively to conquer the causes of his suffering and misery, to surmount his weakness and ignorance, to triumph over his limitations and incapacities; a place where the needs of the spirit and the care for progress would get precedence over the satisfaction of desires and passions, the seeking for pleasures and material enjoyments.”

Aurovilla is situated in the state of pondicherry in south India . Its 160 kms from chennai .

Its master plan – strikingly empty for the moment – consisted of a formal expression of Mira’s vision – that of four arms radiating from a center marking off four zones of activity – residential, cultural, international and industrial.

By 1965 , the construction of the city started and it came to be called AUROVILLA from the french Aurore – for Dawn – and Ville - for the city . The French architect, Roger Anger, became Mira’s chief consultant for the project.

Matri mandri ( The temple for mother ) is situated in the centre of the city .

The Matrimandir is in the form of a huge spherical structure surrounded by twelve pedestals. The central dome is covered by golden discs and reflects sunlight, which give Matrimandir its characteristic radiance. Inside the central dome is the central meditation hall known as the inner chamber.

From the entrance, two helical ramps serve as entry and as access to the inner chamber, in the centre of which is placed a crystal globe, illuminated by a single ray of (sun) light from the heliostat mounted on the roof.

The site immediately around the Matri Mandir is landscaped in three ways: the first is an existing banyan tree on the site; the second is an urn containing soil from different countries (as a symbol to the internationalism of Auroville); and finally there are the Matri Mandir gardens and associated landscaping. The symbolism of the structure is in flux: but at least one powerful association is that of the primeval egg (here representing developed human consciousness) breaking free from Matter (here represented by the earth/ground).

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