Home > The City > Planning the Township > City Study Circle > Report - Nov 23, 2001

City Study Circle

Forum for town planning

November 23, 2001

On the 23rd of November 11 people attended the session at the SAWCHU building.


Longtime Aurovilians Shraddhavan (U.K.) and Gilles Guigan (France) came to the Study Circle and spoke about the research they have made on what the Mother said on the Form and Life of the City. They gave an account of Auroville´s history as the concept evolved in its early stages. Most of us are familiar with this history but it can be rewarding to return to it and sense the early spirit that sought to manifest in various ways at different times.


As a project of the Sri Aurobindo Society, the idea of a township was first presented in 1964 at a conference devoted to Human Unity and Spiritual Values. However, the idea goes actually further back in time.


  • In the very first version, Sri Aurobindo would live with his disciples by a hill and a river, at a site near Hyderabad since in the 1930s land had been offered to the Mother in that area.

  • The second, much later version saw a Housing Society near the Lake Estate, adjacent to Pondicherry. It was the young ashramite Huta who inspired the Mother to remember a dream of hers around the beginning of the century. This caused the Mother to take up the plans of the project again. At that time the project area stretched from the lake to the seaside, and the residential area was to be next to the lake. For some time, the project was also planned to be located on the Madras road and land was purchased in this area.

  • However, the site was changed and eventually the Banyan tree became identified as the centre of the town.

The four petals / zones

In the late sixties, the Mother was presented with three conceptual forms of the city: one was rectangular, two were circular - the nebula and the galaxy. She felt that the rectangular shape was not appropriate for Auroville, and drew the basic concept based on four flower petals in two known versions. The four petals represent the four aspects of the Mother. The buildings to come in each of the four sections were to be made in different geometrical shapes and colours. The sections were International in the south, Residential in the west, Cultural in the north and Industrial in the east. The Industrial section was to expand towards the coast with heavy industries outside the circular town area. Between the sections were intermediate zones with among other things a post office, shops, railway station and an aerodrome.

Matrimandir area

During the meeting of today, a part of the session was devoted to the Peace area and the history of Matrimandir from its early concept - inspired by the Golden Temple in Kyoto - to the later versions. The Peace Area in the early version of the Mother's vision, including the lake around Matrimandir and the parks, seems to have been very large. The area was to be heavily surrounded with woods to maintain the area's complete serenity.

Unchanging aim and purpose of Auroville

Finally Shraddhavan read a letter from the Mother addressed to the workers of the Ashram at the occasion of a violent strike in 1954. This was the first version of a paper that she later would write, now known as 'The Dream'. This letter reminded us of the unchanging aim and purpose of Auroville: the creation of a city devoted to finding the conditions -outer and inner- for a living embodiment of Human Unity.


for the Study Circle team

Home > The City > Planning the Township > City Study Circle > Report - Nov 23, 2001