Home Buddhist space Travels Auroville – A universal city in the making in South India

Auroville – A universal city in the making in South India




Auroville is a place in south India where, for 40 years now, an increasing number of people from all over the world have been quietly and painstakingly working on the construction of a new township, a new way of living, a new way of being. Something is being attempted here for the benefit of all.

“Man is a transitional being, he is not final. Evolution is not finished; reason is not the last word nor the reasoning animal the supreme figure of Nature,” observes Sri Aurobindo. “There is something that he is not yet which he has to be; he is reaching always towards the something yet unrealised; his whole life and nature is a preparation, an endeavour of Nature towards what is beyond him.”

Auroville is to be a major vehicle of this evolutionary thrust and, eventually, a platform for transformation.

Getting established

This wide and vast objective of the township has attracted people from its inauguration in 1968 onwards. Today, the Auroville project is quite well established, having found ways of collaborating with the villages in its bioregion, with the Indian authorities, with many non-governmental organisations and world bodies worldwide.

Holding the vision

The present around 2000 residents from some 40 nations living in Auroville are aware that they may not yet be able to live up to the project’s high aims. While holding the vision in their heads, hearts and meditations, they turn for the time being their energies to those aspects of the experiment upon which they can actively work.


These aspects are all the challenges of daily life which are being faced by so many individuals on earth who attempt to do things in a new way, to approach life in a more conscious manner.

In Auroville particularly, there are the enormous challenges of how to
– shape, plan and build a city for an ideal society of the future
– let the indigenous population of Auroville’s bioregion co-evolve
along with it
– educate our young in a way that their deeper identity is allowed to remain at the forefront
– organise a collective life without authoritarian structures
– manifest beauty in all facets of living
– consciously, wisely and justly manage the wide variety
of resources available
– heal, and to evoke healing energies
– relate to the earth in a truly appropriate manner
– artistically express newly found realities within

The main challenge

Underlying all this is the main challenge of living an actual human unity.
By their very choice of being here, the Aurovilians commit themselves to be instrumental in the creation of “a universal township where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities”. They are aware that “the purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity” so that, eventually, our species may progress.

City of the Future

In terms of physical development, Auroville aims at becoming a model of the ‘city of the future’ or ‘the city the earth needs’. It wants to show the world that future realisations in all fields of work will allow us to build beautiful cities where people sincerely looking towards a more harmonious future will want to live.

But, what should be the “City of the Future”?

The Mother gave us clear parameters for a number of things, while for other things she gave a free hand to Roger Anger, the French architect she had appointed to oversee the township’s physical development.

Presently, almost 36 years after her demise, and after a lot of changes in Auroville, India and the world, where are we now?

In some respects, we think we know what this ‘city of the future’ should be; in other respects we only know what it shouldn’t be; and again, in other respects, we simply don’t know at all. We know that, on a conceptual level, the city has been ‘seen’ and exists as such; we are learning to be receptive in order to make it come down.

Galaxy – Evolution of the urban form

galaxy_auroville.gif 1965 Mother’s sketch

In her 1965 sketch of Auroville, the Mother laid down the basic concept for the town. This sketch delineated all the important activity areas that would fulfill the vision of making it a universal township. The concept was as much practical as it was visionary and the way in which it is fitting in with today’s international, national and local way of seeing things is quite striking.
In this conversation Mother speaks about this as a first concept and indicates that she has no illusions that the original purity of the idea will be kept. Much has changed since then. As the land for the construction of Bharat Nivas, the Pavilion of India, could not be bought, Mother approved of the shifting of the zones.

The international zone was relocated towards the west, the residential zone to the south, the cultural zone to the east and the industrial zone moved to the north. Mother also approved the creation of the Auromodèle and Aspiration communities near the village of Kuilapalayam. Around them other communities came into existence. They not only became residential areas, but also came to house small handicrafts units. Thus, a kind of double city gradually developed. One part, located around Kuilapalayam, is now separated from the main city by a large area of village owned land. Some units that settled around Kuilapalayam eventually moved to the Industrial Zone, but many have chosen to stay, a development which has led to two or even three industrial, or rather, economic zones.

Auroville Charter

Auroville belongs to nobody in particular.

Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole.

But to live in Auroville, one must be the willing servitor of the Divine Consciousness.

Auroville will be the place of an unending education,
of constant progress, and a youth that never ages.

Auroville wants to be the bridge between the past and the future. Taking advantage of all discoveries from without and from within, Auroville will boldly spring towards future realisations.

Auroville will be a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity.


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