Auroville (City of Dawn) is an experimental township in Viluppuram district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, near Puducherry in India. Inspired by the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, Auroville was founded in 1968 by the Mother (Mira Alfassa) in accordance with her dream of a universal township living in harmony with itself and the wider world.
Receiving support from UNESCO and the government of India Auroville is today an endorsed ongoing experiment in human unity and transformation of consciousness, also concerned with - and practically researching into - sustainable living and the future cultural, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind
Aurovillians currently come from some 49 nations, from all age groups, from all social classes, backgrounds and cultures. The population of the township is constantly growing, but at the moment stands at around 2,400 people, of whom approximately one-third are Indian.
At the centre of the township lies the Peace Area, comprising the Matrimandir and its gardens, the amphitheatre with the Urn of Human Unity that contains the soil of 121 nations and 23 Indian states, and a lake to help create an atmosphere of calm and serenity and to serve as a groundwater recharge area. Emerging from this center are four "zones" of the City Area: the "Residential Zone", "Industrial Zone", "Cultural (& Educational) Zone" and "International Zone".
Around the City or the urban area, lies a “Green Belt” which is an environment research and resource area and includes farms and forestries, a botanical garden, seed bank, medicinal and herbal plants, water catchment bunds, and some communities. Even with much work still to do, these areas of Auroville stand as an example of a successful transformation of wasteland into a vibrant eco-system.
A vibrant community of Aurovillians, newcomers guests and volunteers are also involved in experiments in sustainable building practices and renewable energy technology and applications, land restoration, educational research, health care, community outreach, town planning, a variety of arts, music, dance and other cultural activities and community services.
Auroville's efforts towards a self-supporting township also consists of guest houses, building construction units, information technology, small and medium scale businesses, producing and re-selling items such as handmade paper for stationery items, as well as producing its well-known incense sticks. Over 5,000 people, mostly from the nearby localities, are employed in various sections and units of Auroville.
The dream of human unity and transformation of consiousness remains alive within Auroville even as progress has been slow. As a meeting point of different cultures, and as a demonstration site and testing ground for social, environmental and technological experimentation, Auroville attracts support from many different organizations, communities and individuals across the world. Auroville today is in a state of continuing evolution working to develop and sustain meaningful relationships within the community, with the villages in the surrounding bioregion, with the government, and with other communities in and outside India.
Whatever Auroville’s material achievements, however, the main aim is inner change, for the Aurovillians understand that without a radical change in consciousness no permanent change can be effected.