The building of the Matrimandir
The Matrimandir, is often referred to as the soul of Auroville. The globe, as it is called by many visitors, is an astounding architectural feat.
In June 1965 the Mother spoke with several disciples about her plan for a new town called Auroville. She described that at its center there would be a beautiful park with a pavilion. This pavilion would be the pavilion of the Mother, clarifying that it was not in reference to herself but “the true Mother, the principle of the Mother”. Later on she gave it the Sanskrit name, Matrimandir, the Mother’s shrine.
“Let the Matrimandir be the living symbol of Auroville’s aspiration for the Divine.” – The Mother
January 1st, 1970 the Mother asked Roger Anger to start working on the Matrimandir, saying that she had repeated visions of its Inner Chamber.
January 3rd, 1970 the Mother described her vision of the Inner Chamber. Based on this some drawings were sketched and shared with her.
In March 1970, Roger Anger showed the Mother a cut-out model of the Inner Chamber along with five models of the outer structure. She rejected the four pyramidal models and finally opted for the fifth model – a slightly flattened golden sphere – and asked Roger to work further.
On August 14, 1970 a dedication ceremony for the Matrimandir took place around a small pond near the banyan tree. For this occasion the Mother gave her first message on the Matrimandir:
“The Matrimandir wants to be the symbol of the Divine’s answer to man’s aspiration for perfection. Union with the Divine manifesting in a progressive harmony.”
On November 15, 1970 Mother gave another message: ‘The Matrimandir will be the soul of Auroville.’
In February 1971, under the direction of Roger Anger a rosewood model of the Matrimandir with its twelve petals and gardens was made.
On February 21, 1971 the Matrimandir Foundation Stone was laid. A simple fire in the early morning was lit as a symbol of human aspiration after which a stone was buried close to the banyan tree.
March 14, 1971: The excavation work started. For over eight months this work was done by Aurovilians and Ashramites. Then in November, 400 local laborers were hired to dig the crater.
In the early morning of February 21, 1972 a ceremony for the beginning of the construction was held. All who attended were invited to place a pebble in the cement mixer at the site. Hundreds of people came forward to contribute a pebble. During the ceremony a piece of fossilized wood was placed at the base of the first pillar to be constructed. On this piece the Mother inscribed the OM symbol, then wrote the date and blessings and her signature. For this occasion the Mother gave the following message:
‘Let Auroville be the symbol of a progressive Unity. And the best way to realize this is a unity towards the Divine Perfection in work and in feeling, in a consecration of the entire life.’
In early 1972, the Mother named the four directional (north, south, east, west) pillars of the Matrimandir as Mahakali, Maheshwari, Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati, as well as the twelve meditation rooms after her virtues.
In May of 1972, the slab connecting the four pillars was casted. In June the preparations for casting the footings of the four pillars were started.
On November 17, the last of the triangular tips of the four pillars was concreted. This marked the completion of the pillars. The work ended at 7:25 in the evening, the exact time when the Mother left her body.
On February 21, 2008 after 36 years of construction, the Matrimandir, its twelve large petals with the twelve meditation rooms within them, its twelve small petals and all the main pathways were completed. All this was accomplished with the labor of love and dedication by Aurovilians, some Ashram volunteers and local labors without the involvement of any contactors.
The work now focuses on the completion of the surrounding gardens and the lake.
Today the Matrimandir is used daily by Aurovilians for concentration. It is open to the public by appointment only. One can get a token in the upstairs office next to the ‘Integral Yoga’ exhibition in the Visitor Center. Please be aware that these tokens can only be booked personally at least a day in advance. The Matrimandir can be seen from far from the visitor platform which is easily accessible to everyone.