Founded in 1968 by spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa, Auroville is an experimental town designed as a utopian community. It centres around the immense gold Matrimandir dome and is home to surf beaches and a botanical garden showcasing the region’s native forests.
Things to do
Discover the philosophy behind Auroville at the Savitri Bhavan, a museum dedicated to the spiritual teachings of Sri Aurobindo. Admire the “Meditations on Savitri” paintings or attend one of the regular lectures and musical presentations, then step inside to explore its extensive library and audio-visual collection.
At the heart of Auroville is the Matrimandir, which translates from Sanskrit as the “Temple of the Mother”. It serves as a monument of spiritual significance for yogis who follow the philosophy and practice of Sri Aurobindo. Its striking Geodesic dome is covered by golden discs, while inside is a meditation hall featuring white marble and an enormous crystal sphere pierced by a beam of light.
Stroll through the beautiful Auroville Botanical Gardens, which encompasses themed gardens, a nursery and botanical education centre. Admire the large variety of orchids and cacti, together with fragrant plumerias and a native tract of dry tropical evergreen forest.
Take a dip in the Bay of Bengal from the sands of Auro Beach, a short drive from Auroville’s city centre. Alternatively, head further south and learn to surf in the gentle waves at Serenity Beach, which is lined with colourful fishing boats.
Auroville is a 30-minute drive north of Pondicherry and around three hours south of Chennai International Airport. Buses and rickshaws travel to surrounding towns and villages or you can rent a bicycle or motorbike.
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