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Icons: Matrimandir, Auroville

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An architectural marvel, the Matrimandir in Auroville has often been referred to as ‘a place to fast forward human spiritual evolution’

How does a structure bring out the best in humanity? Well-known architect Oscar Niemeyer once said, “Architecture is an invention. And to be superior, it must generate emotion.” Invoking emotion by breaking design and religious barriers is a true mark of genius and that is exactly what Mirra Alfassa known as “The Mother” managed to achieve along with the help of architect Roger Anger in Auroville, Pondicherry.

Auroville, the “City of Dawn” in Southern India was designed by “The Mother” in 1965 to unite humanity and radiate peace. At the center of the town is the “Pavilion of Truth”, “Pavilion of Love” or “Pavilion of the Mother” known as the Matrimandir. It is referred to as “a place for trying to find one’s consciousness”, a place to fast forward human spiritual evolution. It is a vision of the ultimate source of power expressed through the playful use of forms, textures and light. It has become a living, breathing symbol of the Universal Mother according to Sri Aurobindo’s teaching.

The golden sphere of the Matrimandir is covered in 1415 discs that reflect sunlight and stands in between 12 stone clad petals with meditation rooms built inside each. The four pillars supporting the structure represent the four attributes of The Mother: wisdom, harmony, strength and perfection. The inner chamber of the sphere is pure white from the carpeting to the marble walls and completely void of imagery or religious symbolism. In the center sits the world’s largest optically perfect crystal ball permeating a single ray of sunlight that falls from the top opening of the sphere. 12 beautiful European-style gardens named Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power, Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony and Perfection surround the sphere. The center took 37 years to build and officially opened its doors in 2008.

The idea is to make visitors feel a sense of peace and serenity after they leave the Matrimandir. In many ways, the Matrimandir is the soul of Auroville, surrounded as it is by a community of artists, writers, poets and other creative practitioners, from India and around the world.

The Matrimandir is truly an architectural marvel.


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