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Auroville, India: The City That Belongs to No One

by Matt Rimer

Apr 24, 2015

The Golden Temple of Auroville in Tamil Nadu, India © Polina Ryazantseva | Dreamstime

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The scenic Coromandel Coast of southern India is home to a city called Auroville. Mirra Alfassa, or “The Mother” as the people of Auroville call her, founded this experimental society in 1968. Alfassa sought to build a society that was sustainable, while also promoting human unity.


The Matrimandir Banyan Tree of Auroville in Tamil Nadu, India © Ylutzky | Dreamstime 46632260 crop

The Matrimandir Banyan Tree © Ylutzky | Dreamstime


Currently Auroville, or the “City of Dawn,” is home to 2,345 residents from 49 nations all around the world — some young as infants, and others old and wise. Each resident plays a part in the thriving ecosystem of the city.


The city is constructed with a number of different zones: industrial, international, residential, cultural, and green — each wrapping around the centermost zone known as “the peace area.” This section is made up of an enormous amphitheater (which holds a great billowing bonfire come nightfall), numerous gardens, a lake and the beautiful Matrimandir. The Matrimandir is an enormous golden sphere that emerges from the soil in the center of the open area. Aurovillians come here to achieve tranquility.


Auroville Statue Park in Tamil Nadu, India © Stuart Atkinson | Dreamstime 47923093

Auroville Statue Park © Stuart Atkinson | Dreamstime


Although joining the community is their main goal, the people of Auroville openly accept visitors. They even provide a few different tours, 12 unique eateries and a variety of guest-house accommodations — from simple roofless huts, to comfortable townhouse lodging complete with kitchen areas.



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