I have always imagined of a place where people irrespective of their backgrounds could live together harmoniously and probably without having to compete too hard to fit into the modern society.
I didn’t think such a place existed at all, until I bumped into Auroville on the internet. Excited about this new discovery, I hereby share with you about the utopian village in India’s Pondicherry.
According to information on Auroville’s website, there are about 2, 500 people living in the international, intentional community.
“They come from some 49 nations, from all age groups (from infancy to over eighty, averaging around 30), from all social classes, backgrounds and cultures, representing humanity as a whole,” the article reads. The majority of the inhabitants (1/3) are from India and its environs.
Auroville is a concept based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and his compatriot, Mirra Alfassa.
Auroville was officially founded in 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, a French woman known locally as “the Mother.”
On 28th February, 5,000 people assembled to inaugurate the village. Today, it is a destination for about 5,000 visitors, and self-selected exiles from more than 100 countries.
“The representatives brought with them some soil from their homeland, to be mixed in a white marble- clad, lotus-shaped urn, now sited at the focal point of the Amphitheatre.”
The city is divided into six strategic zones namely: peace, industrial, international, cultural, residential and green belt.
The peace zone is located at the very centre of the township comprising the Matrimandir- a large meditation centre built from gold –plated leaves. It has beautiful gardens, and an amphitheatre with the Urn of Human Unity that contains the soil of 121 nations and 23 Indian states.
The cultural zone is on a 93-hectare area situated to the east of the Peace Area. It is dedicated to research in education and the arts.
The entire city is surrounded by a green belt of 1.25 kilometers in width. To date, up to 405 hectares are under the green belt plan. A number of projects such organic farming, dairies, orchards, forests and wildlife areas are undertaken all around the belt which also acts as a barrier against urban encroachment. It serves as an example of successful transformation of wasteland into a vibrant eco-system.
The rest of the zones contribute greatly to the sustenance of Auroville’s ecosystem with the international area set to host national and cultural pavilions, grouped by continents. Residential zone is on a 189 hectare area to provide a well-adjusted habitat between individual and collective living. A 109-hectare area to the north of the Peace Area is the Industrial Zone. It is a zone for "green" industries, focused on Auroville's efforts towards a self-supporting township.
Matrimandir is a large meditation centre