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At the time of Auroville’s inauguration ceremony, in 1968, there was no Amphitheatre as yet; a shape had been dug in the ground and, at its focus, a white Urn in the shape of a lotus bud had been placed on top of a small mound which was clad with bricks.  The construction of the Amphitheatre started towards the end of 1972 and it took approximately one year; but it was only in the nineties that it was finally clad with red sandstone (‘Agra’ stones from Rajasthan).

The Auroville Charter, handwritten by the Mother, along with handfuls of soil from all over India and the world, are sealed inside the Urn.

The Amphitheatre and its Urn seen from the top of the Matrimandir

 

The Amphitheatre’s inner diameter is 75 m and its outer diameter is 98 m (including its outer slope).  (The area is 4,400m² and 7,500 m² with slopes).  It is 2.2m deep and its steps form a family of circles whose centres are evenly spaced along a line which includes the Urn.  (This line is thus the Amphitheatre’s symmetrical axis).  Rainwater is evacuated by gravity towards the northwest by an underground pipeline.

Three times a year a large bonfire is lit at dawn in the middle of the Amphitheatre and Aurovilians and well-wishers gather for a collective meditation. The dates are:

 
Text Box: Feu de joie à l’aube  January 1st: New Year,
February 28th: Auroville’s Birthday,
August 15th: Sri Aurobindo’s Birthday.

 
Recorded devotional music is played every Thursday evening.
Cultural performances rarely take place at the Amphitheatre because their nature has to be in harmony with the setting.

 

 

 

 

 

(a presentation by Gilles G., March 2007)

 

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