Auroville - A to Z
Note: In the text which follows Auroville is sometimes abbreviated to AV. Whatever we cover here, there are sure to be dozens of other questions people will ask. Such questions can best be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, but meanwhile here are some general facts to be getting on with. (Headings are in alphabetical order; AV = Auroville; Chennai is new name for Madras.)
You can read a Tamil version here
Each commercial, research and service unit is responsible for keeping accounts and preparing its own annual balance sheet, which is then audited by a certified chartered account. All accounts and balance sheets are checked by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, and an audited balance sheet of all units under the Auroville Foundation (see separate note) is annually prepared for submission to India’s Parliament.
Act of Parliament
See “Auroville Foundation”.
Auroville is well served by a variety of international and national carriers operating into Chennai airport. Pondicherry has a small airport with few commercial flights at present.
The consumption of alcohol is strongly discouraged in Auroville. It cannot be purchased anywhere in the township.
Alternative energy systems
Auroville has the highest concentration of alternative and appropriate energy systems in India, including solar, wind and biogas generating systems. Of particular interest are the huge 15-metre diameter solar collector installed on the roof of the Solar Kitchen, designed to generate enough steam to cook over 1,000 meals a day, and the Matrimandir Solar Power Plant, believed to be the largest stand-alone system in India, comprising 484 photovoltaic modules with total capacity of 36.3 KW. Some 750 homes and/or offices operate entirely or mostly on solar power. See also “Wind energy generators”.
An Auroville ambulance is normally available on 24-hour standby at the Sante' Clinic for Aurovilians, Newcomers and registered guests of Auroville (ph.94422-24680). A charge is made for usage according to distance covered and user status.
Sited near the Matrimandir and banyan tree at the centre of Auroville, with a white, marble-clad, bud-shaped urn at its focal point containing soil from the 124 nations and all India’s States that participated in Auroville’s inauguration ceremony on 28th February 1968, the Amphitheatre has been the traditional site of a pre-dawn bonfire and silent gathering on Auroville’s and Sri Aurobindo’s birth dates (February 28th and August 15th respectively). It is also used occasionally for other types of gathering and events conducive to “inner” awareness and concentration.
A dedicated team of Aurovilians seeks to improve the health of locally owned animals, specially dogs and cats, by providing anti-rabies inoculation and other forms of treatment. They also try to control the number of semi-feral uncared for dogs and cats in the villages by offering free sterilization wherever required.
Appropriate Technology (AT)
Auroville has several business units dealing in alternative technology, including one specialising in windmills, and another in the design and installation of solar-powered lighting systems, pumps and water heaters. The latter unit works with local NGO partners all over India, providing them with design / consultancy and supply and installation of such systems for drinking water and rural village electrification.
See “Conflict resolution”.
Excavations in the Auroville area have revealed a number of ancient sites, some dating back 2,000 years, from which a variety of artifacts have been removed for safe keeping. These are now preserved in a small Museum of Archaeology at Bharat Nivas (see “Cultural Pavilions”).
Auroville, which is home to more than 40 practicing architects, is well known for its diverse and innovative approach to architecture. Of special interest is the widespread use of Compressed Stabilised Earth Block (CSEB) technology and ferrocement components (for roofing, etc) in building construction.
The Auroville Archives, located at Archives building in the Town Hall area, preserves all available important papers, letters, photos and audio/visual material relating to Auroville’s founding and subsequent development.
The total planned area of the township plus surrounding Green Belt is 3,930 acres (1,620 hectares, or approx 20 sq.kms), of which the city area will occupy approx 1,150 acres and the Green Belt approx 2,780 acres.
Arrival in Auroville
Everyone staying in Auroville, whether Indian or foreign, is required to complete an ‘Arrival Form’ at their guest house, the AV Guest Service or an AV Financial Service office as soon as possible after their arrival. The same applies to Aurovilians returning from abroad (done at the Residents Service office). See also “Guest registration” and “Residential Permit”.
The Auroville township project should not be confused with the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, which is an entirely separate entity. The relationship between Auroville and the Ashram, however, is close, not least because of a shared aspiration to realize the goals of integral yoga, and there is good regular interaction between the residents of both organisations.
All matters relating to Auroville‘s land, buildings and other fixed assets are overseen by a ‘Funds & Assets Management Committee’.
There are a number of competent astrologers living in Auroville, some of whom are willing to help with preparation and interpretation of birth charts. For names and contact information it is best to make enquiries around the township.
ATM (Automated Teller Machine) cash dispensers
Two local bank branches – State Bank of India and ICICI Bank (see “Banks”) – have ATMs outside their premises for dispensing cash to account holders.
The plastic Aurocard provides an alternative to cash payment throughout Auroville. All major guest houses, restaurants and shopping places have an electronic ‘reader’ to enable financial transfers to be done electronically. The card is normally issued by the guest house where the guest is staying, but may also be issued by the Financial Service offices. Most registered guest houses will issue one against Rs.500 deposit, even for a day-or-two stay if desired, but all other cash payments into the Aurocard account must be credited at one of the Financial Service offices. The card is also needed – or useful – for paying for bus trips to Pondicherry, borrowing books from the main Auroville library, entry to various Auroville facilities, and for classes in hatha yoga, dance, martial arts, etc. Essentially, it gives access to most of the facilities enjoyed by Aurovilians, and should be carried by guests at all times as it serves as a card of personal identification as well.
Auronet is a community network which facilitates electronic communication, mostly among Aurovilians. A password is needed for access, but the opening page, accessible to all, offers a daily schedule of events in Auroville, specially useful for guests.
People only become ‘Aurovilian’ after going through an ‘entry’ process overseen by the Entry Service group, usually lasting 15 months, in course of which they change from being a Guest to a Newcomer before becoming an Aurovilian.
In 33 countries around the world groups of people interested in Auroville have come together to form Auroville International Centres or Liaison Offices. These Centres and Offices actively support the development of the township by way of donations and other help, and provide information on Auroville in their own country.
Auroville has received a number of national and international awards in recognition of exemplary work carried out by its residents, specially in the fields of renewable energy, appropriate building technology, design and construction. Examples are the Hassan Fathi International Award for Architecture for the Poor; Best Building Centre award from India’s Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation; and not long ago an Ashden Award for Enterprise in the field of Sustainable Energy.
The Auroville Foundation is a statutory body created by an Act of Parliament in 1988, in which all the assets of Auroville are vested in trust for humanity as a whole. It comprises three bodies – a Governing Board with Secretary living and working in Auroville, which has responsibility for the development of the township in collaboration with Auroville’s residents; an International Advisory Council; and a Residents Assembly. The Foundation offices are located in a separate building close to the Town Hall. (See individual entries for each of the Foundation’s three component bodies.)
There are three bakeries in Auroville – the main one near Douceur settlement, the other in Kottakarai – providing bread, biscuits, pizza, cakes, etc. The third one is named Bread & Chocolate in Kuilapalyam. All three also have additional space for cafes.
There are two banks with branches in or close to Kuilapalayam village main street, offering the full range of normal banking services. State Bank of India (reference code 03160; Swift Code SBININBB474) located on the main street opens Mon-Fri 9am-3pm, and Sat 9-12am. ICICI Bank, located by the road from Kuilapalayam to Bommaiyapalayam (reference code 1631; Swift Code ICICINBBXXX) opens Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-2pm. Both have ATM machines. 2nd and 4th Saturdays closed. See also “Financial Service”.
See “Cultural Pavilions”.
There are four Auroville bookshops – the Freeland Bookshop beside the road between Edayanchavadi and the Visitors Centre, the Auroville Papers Bookshop inside the Visitors Centre, the OASIS Auroville Boutique in Kuilapalayam Main Street, and the Janaki Outpost on the East Coast Road.
An approximately 50-acre plot of land in the southern half of Auroville’s Green Belt is being developed into a major botanical garden, with an Environmental Education Centre on site. More than 250 tree species have been planted in the 25-acre arboretum; 5,500 specimens have been planted in its 10-acre conservation forest; and a Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) plant nursery has been created, able to produce 50,000 seedlings a year to promote reintroduction of the indigenous flora of the region.
See "Budget Coordination Committee (BCC)"
Buildings / building construction
Nowadays virtually all Auroville buildings are constructed using fired bricks (bought locally outside Auroville) or compressed stabilised earth blocks (made in Auroville). Roofing is usually done with tiles or rows of arched ferrocement channels, though a few people still use palm leaf thatch (keet). There is no established building ‘code of practice’, nor is there any ‘Aurovilian’ style of building. As there are a number of competent qualified architects living and working in Auroville, there are many different design approaches. Permission to build has to be obtained from L’Avenir d’Auroville, a body which oversees the planning and development of Auroville. Building construction is mostly done by Auroville-run units.
See “Commercial / business units”.
Business premises / parks
The nearest thing to a miniature business park in the Auroville area is the Aurelec compound near Kuilapalayam village, which houses a variety of Auroville commercial units and services, plus a 7-days-a-week cafeteria. Eventually, the Industrial Zone of the township (Auroshilpam) is likely to resemble a more typical business park in its size and scope, but this won’t be for many years.
Car hire (self drive)
This is not possible in Auroville, but there are plenty of taxis available (see list under ‘Useful telephone numbers’ at the end).
Auroville’s four-point Charter was given by the Mother at the time of Auroville’s inauguration on 28th February 1968, and read out in many languages at the inauguration ceremony.
Auroville has its own midwife team, capable of delivering children in all normal circumstances. More complex cases are taken to hospitals in Pondicherry, or to PIMS hospital 15kms away.
Auroville provides resident parents with a special ‘maintenance’ allowance to help them care for their children, if needed. Crèches, followed by kindergartens, are available for young children.
Auroville has four choirs, two adult, one youth and one children’s choir. Performances are usually given two or three times a year.
See “Film shows”.
There are many opportunities to participate in regular classes – in acting, aerobics, dance, hatha yoga, ikebana, martial arts, pilates, healing, languages (specially Tamil, Sanskrit, English, French), etc. Details are posted on notice boards at class venues and around Auroville, or published in the weekly News & Notes or via Auronet. Guests attending such classes are normally expected to pay a ‘guest contribution’ towards maintenance of the premises and facilities.
The climate of Auroville is tropical, with high humidity and temperatures sometimes reaching 40 degrees C (104oF) or more in May/June. Night time temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees C (68oF), even in winter, and can be as high as 30 degrees C (86oF) in summer. The most comfortable season is mid December to mid March. Average annual rainfall, as recorded by Auroville met stations and rain gauges spread around the area, is 125 cms, most of it falling in the main monsoon season of October-December. See also “Meteorological data”.
Commercial / business units
There are around 180 commercial units operating in Auroville, falling under the following broad categories: Architecture & Construction, Clothing & Fashion, Electronics & Engineering, Food Processing, Restaurants, Handicrafts, Shops & Boutiques, Travel, Hospitality, and others. Currently all Auroville businesses are required to operate under the Auroville Foundation. Permission to start a new unit has to be given by the AV Board of Commerce, the Working Committee and the Funds & Assets Management Committee (including the Secretary to the AV Foundation).
See separate headings for E-mail, Intranet, Messenger Service, Mobile phones, Post Offices and Telephones.
Computer usage / facilities / servicing
Computers are used widely throughout Auroville and in the schools. Visitors/guests can make use of Auroville systems or use their own portable computers at Auroville browsing centres for reading/sending e-mail and accessing the Internet. They can also purchase software and hardware and benefit from servicing facilities in the township.
Conferences, Seminars & Workshops
A considerable number of internal conferences, seminars and workshops are held in Auroville, including ones occasionally sponsored internationally or by the Government of India.
Differences arising in Auroville are normally settled by sub-groups of the AV Council or by mediation Koodam, involving fellow Aurovilians skilled in conflict resolution, though arbitration may be resorted to if both the above approaches fail. Matters affecting the villages are handled by an AV Village Liaison Group or by SEWA (Small Employers Welfare Administration).
Everyone is invited to contribute to the development of Auroville in cash, kind or work. Guests are requested to pay a financial contribution towards the ongoing maintenance of the township. The same applies to Aurovilians and Newcomers, who pay a monthly contribution to ‘City Services’. See also “Donations”.
In addition to a pre-crèche for Auroville children aged 11 months to 2½ years near Transition School, there are two other crèches – Kindergarten Crèche and Nandanam Crèche – for slightly older children, located in the area of Centre Field. There are also crèches for children from the local villages run with Auroville’s help at Isaiambalam (Kottakarai), and in Kuilapalayam, Sanjeevi Nagar and Bommaiyapalayam villages.
Credit Card payment
Presently credit card payment is possible at Auroville’s Financial Service, the two Boutiques d’Auroville (Visitors Centre and Pondicherry), Mira Boutique (Visitors Centre), Kalki Boutique (Visitors Centre and Pondicherry), Inside India, The Travel Shop, Yatra Nova Travels, and the Visitors Centre cafeteria.
See “Entertainment” and “Festivals & Celebrations”.
Most major guest houses in Auroville have cycles available for their guests, or for hire by other guests at certain times of the year. Short-term hire is possible from the Kiosk at the Visitors Centre; a longer-term purchase-and-buyback scheme is available at Aurovelo, Reve. Otherwise ask at the cycle maintenance kiosk at Solar Kitchen.
A steadily expanding network of cycle paths exists in Auroville, mostly running through shaded areas beside the roads, which cyclists are advised to use whenever possible. A map showing their approximate routes is available from the Visitors Centre Information Desk.
There are a number of small dairies supplying milk in the township, though many Aurovilians also buy milk from the villages or packaged milk from shops.
See “Entertainment” and “Classes”.
A ‘Farewell Service Group’ facilitates the cremation or burial of deceased residents on Auroville land set aside for this purpose, according to the wishes of the departed (if known) or those closest to them.
In all Auroville meetings, whether involving only a small group or the wider Residents Assembly, after everyone has been given a chance to speak and the subject under discussion has been thoroughly examined, the preferred mode of decision making is by consensus, though vote counting is also sometimes used.
Two main clinics operate in Auroville, one at Protection settlement (primarily for Aurovilians, but also accessible to guests), the other at the Health Centre (for local villagers). Another 10 sub-clinics – all staffed and maintained by Auroville – are located in the villages around the township.
Desk Top Publishing (DTP) work
A service, which includes text checking & editing, is provided by Prisma in the Aurelec compound. Other DTP providers are Auroville Press near Aspiration settlement, and the AV Design Service (Graphics Section) at the Town Hall.
See “Laundry facilities”.
Digital camera downloading
A service is provided by PRISMA, located in the Aurelec compound near Kuilapalayam village, and by the Graphics Section in the Multimedia Centre.
See “Health facilities”.
Financial donations to Auroville can be made by cheque, demand draft or money order issued in favour of “Auroville Unity Fund” and sent by registered post to Auroville Unity Fund, ACUR, Auroville 605101, India. Specified donations for a particular purpose should be indicated on an accompanying note. See also “Taxes / tax exemption”.
Dress / clothing
Noting that Indian women generally dress very modestly, Western and other non-Indian women are encouraged to also dress in a modest fashion, so as not to send out the wrong message and attract unwanted attention. This also applies at the beach, where one-piece swimming costumes are recommended. As regards men, they usually gain more respect in India dressed in full length trousers than in shorts, though the latter are widely worn throughout Auroville, specially in summer. Cotton fabrics are generally cooler and more comfortable than synthetics, and light colours cooler than dark colours. During the rainy season a good raincoat/cape/poncho, or at least an umbrella, is essential.
As possession or use of any type of narcotic drug is banned under Indian law, in no circumstances are they permitted in Auroville.
The eventual aim of Auroville’s economy is to reach a state of no monetary exchange within the township, specially between the residents, and experiments towards this end continue to be conducted (see, for example, “Prosperity Pour Tous”). The other overall aim of the Auroville economy is to reach a state of self-sufficiency.
Editing / text checking
See “Desk Top Publishing”.
There are no exams in most Auroville schools, and no certificates are given (though AV’s ‘Future School’ offers the possibility to those wanting to go on to a university to prepare for external entrance exams). The New Era Secondary School also follows a CBSE national curriculum. Education is generally seen as a means of developing each child’s full potential, and of giving each the freedom and opportunity to pursue his/her own individual path of growth and progress. The same applies to education for adults, Auroville being seen as “the place of an unending education” (see Charter). See also “Schools” and “Classes”.
While a substantial number of Auroville residences and other buildings use solar-power-generated electricity, still a majority of buildings are connected to the main grid. The latter supply can be erratic, however, with frequent power cuts, specially in summer. Voltage is officially set at 220v but often falls below that level; it can also occasionally surge higher. All Auroville’s main electricity supply needs and maintenance requirements are monitored and coordinated by the AV Electrical Service (AVES). The Auroville Solar Service and units like Sunlit Future look after the needs of those not on the main grid. Currently, the necessary electricity, even if through the main grid, is subsidized based on rate of usage/consumption of residential units.
Internet facilities exist at the Town Hall and at Arka settlement (open Mon-Sat 9am-7pm), both with wireless access (payment by Aurocard). Wireless access is offered for free in most Guest Houses, eateries, etc... A comprehensive e-mail directory listing Auroville subscribers is included in the Auroville Telephone Directory.
A service unit named ‘Connections’ – working from the Human Resource Team office at the Multimedia Centre – provides information on work opportunities in the township for Aurovilians and Newcomers with the aim of helping them find their right place in Auroville, and to help services and units find the staff they need. Work opportunities in Auroville for people from the local villages and surrounding area are handled by ‘Small Employers Welfare Administration’ (SEWA). Visitors and guests interested in working in Auroville are advised to contact Savi Volunteer Service (study@ auroville.org.in) the Guest Service office at the Solar Kitchen email@example.com, which maintains a list of volunteer opportunities, or visit the website https://guestservice.auroville.org .
Students interested in work as part of their studies can contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
There are regular film shows, plus occasional theatre, music, dance and choir performances, exhibitions, powerpoint presentations, lectures, etc. Announcements appear in the weekly News & Notes, on Auronet, and on notice boards around the township.
Auroville is strongly oriented towards environmental protection and sustainable development. All development plans are scrutinized from the viewpoint of environmental impact, and waste disposal in particular is carefully monitored. See also “Waste treatment / sewage / recycling”.
Equality of the sexes
Auroville aspires to attain complete equality of the sexes. In practice this seems to be happening, with many women heading commercial units or services, and playing other leading roles in the administration and functioning of the township. Similarly in the villages, Auroville is playing a constructive role via its Village Action Group in encouraging the full empowerment of women.
Widespread use of earth embankments/bunds throughout the Auroville area, plus a number of check-dams in canyons and gullies, seeks to prevent water run-off and allow water to reach the aquifers from which the township and local villages draw their supplies.
Facilities/space for ongoing or fairly regular exhibitions exist at Aurelec Cafeteria, Bharat Nivas’ Sri Aurobindo Auditorium foyer and ‘Gallery Square Circle’, Citadines, Pitanga, Savitri Bhavan, the Town Hall, the Pavilion of Tibetan Culture, and Auroville Visitors Centre.
There are some 15 Auroville farms producing rice, eggs, vegetables, fruit and dairy products for the community using organic methods, though not yet in sufficient quantity to make Auroville self-sufficient in its food requirements (most food is still purchased in Pondicherry market). There is also a small ‘research farm’ experimenting with “energy plants”, with the aim of identifying suitable species to act as fossil fuel substitutes for diesel engines.
Festivals & Celebrations
Cultural festivals and celebrations recognised in Auroville, often involving a holiday, fall into 4 categories: strictly Auroville-related (e.g. Sri Aurobindo’s, Mother’s and Auroville’s birthdays); Indian/Tamil cultural (e.g. Diwali, Pongal, Tamil New Year); Indian Government (National Holidays); and international (Christmas, May Day, etc). There is also a biennial Film Festival now organized at Auroville, which includes international contributors.
Films are regularly shown at a number of sites around Auroville, the main ones being the Bharat Nivas Auditorium, the Visitors Centre and the ‘Cinema Paradiso’ facility at the Multimedia Centre, Town Hall.
Filming in Auroville
Visitors/guests are free to film for private purposes, but require Govt. of India permission to film anything in Auroville for later public viewing (in every case, would-be filmers should seek a written “OK” from any individual, group or unit they want to film before proceeding). For more info contact email@example.com or visit their office in the Archives building. There are a number of Aurovilians and Auroville units involved in video film making in the township.
Contributions to the development of Auroville have come, and continue to come, from a number of sources, including the Government of India, Indian and foreign NGOs and funding agencies, Auroville International Centres, private donors in India and abroad, the profits of Auroville’s commercial units (normally one-third), and the personal funds of Aurovilians.
Via its main office in the Town Hall and branch office adjacent to the PT Purchasing Service facility near Aspiration (both open Mon-Sat 9am-12.30pm and 3-4.30pm), Auroville’s computerised Financial Service issues Aurocards against appropriate cash deposits, handles the opening and closing of accounts, operates a ‘foreign currency exchange’ service, encashes traveller cheques, arranges internal transfers / payments (including via Credit Card) and handles Western Union transfers from abroad, though the latter two services are only possible at the main Town Hall office.
Footwear and flashlights
People are advised not to walk barefoot outside buildings, specially after dark, and to always carry a flashlight/torch at night to avoid snakes or scorpions. Footwear is normally left outside all residential buildings; others vary. Most common footwear is leather, rubber or synthetic “chappals” (open flip-flops or sandals), worn without socks.
See “Financial Service” or “Banks”.
A Forest Group looks after Auroville’s forested land, deciding what to plant where, protecting the forested areas, and overseeing occasional harvesting of timber. The reforestation of the Auroville area, which previously was in a state of “advanced desertification”, has been one of Auroville’s major achievements to date, with an estimated 2 million trees now planted on Auroville land, and another 2 million or more on village land in collaboration with the local people.
See “Auroville Foundation”.
Free for all
As a general policy, Auroville tries to provide as much as possible free of charge to its residents in return for their work and monthly contributions to the ‘City Services’ fund. This includes cultural events, basic health care, sports facilities, education, classes in yoga, dance, etc. Aurovilians without any remaining financial resources of their own are taken care of by the community, and maternity, bridging and disability assistance is provided where needed. A ‘Free Store’ provides secondhand (and new) clothing free for anyone in need.
Friends of Auroville
While it is fair to say that Auroville has thousands of “friends” around the world, the term ‘Friend of Auroville’ is used by Auroville’s Entry Service to officially identify a small number of people well known to the township’s residents who have been – and continue to be – regular visitors to Auroville; have shown themselves to be committed to helping the project grow and develop; make regular financial contributions to the AV City Services Fund in the same way that full-time residents do; and have paid for the construction of a residence in Auroville which – during their absence in their home town or country – they are happy to place in the hands of the Housing Service for allocation to people residing full-time in Auroville, on the understanding that the residence will be made available to them whenever they visit.
There is no ongoing professional programme of general fundraising in support of Auroville, though various ad hoc efforts have been and continue to be made in support of land purchase, the Matrimandir, city development, education, various environmental projects, rural development programmes, and other requirements and development needs related to creating a township for 50,000 inhabitants.
An Auroville (LPG) Gas Bottle Service operates from a godown/depot by the tarmac road adjacent to the BSNL Telephone Exchange near Certitude settlement.
Getting around Auroville
The best way for guests and visitors to get around and see Auroville is independently by cycle or moped/motorcycle, both of which can usually be arranged with their guest house or hired locally. Taxis can also be hired, but cost more and are less flexible, in that they can’t always go where two-wheelers can.
Getting to Auroville
From Chennai there are trains to Pondicherry, but best is to take a bus or taxi (taxis ordered from Auroville or Pondicherry will be cheaper than those taken from Chennai, and in the former case have the advantage of knowing their way around Auroville). From Pondicherry, bus services to the Auroville area are only occasional, so it is best to take a taxi or autorickshaw.
The precise GIS coordinates for the Matrimandir at the centre of Auroville are: longitude 79 degrees 48 minutes 38.18 seconds east, by latitude 12 degrees 0 minutes 25.2 seconds north.
Despite its name, the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation – composed largely of eminent Indians from various walks of life, plus two ex-officio Government officers, with its Secretary resident in Auroville – is not expected to involve itself in the day-to-day functioning of the township, which is left to the residents, but instead has overall responsibility for ensuring that Auroville is properly managed, stays true to its Charter, and continues to develop along the lines envisaged by the Mother and in keeping with its Government-approved Master Plan. The Board normally meets twice a year in Auroville.
A protective Green Belt consisting mostly of farms, forest land and nature sanctuaries extending out approx 1.25 kms beyond the 2.5 kms diameter of the inner township, making a total diameter of 5 kms for the combined area, is planned to eventually surround the inner township.
Guest Card See “Aurocard”.
All guests staying in Auroville are expected to pay a Rs.150 ‘guest contribution’ per day of intended stay. In the case of people staying in Auroville registered guest houses this sum is included in the overall price charged; others need to go to a Financial Service office to make their payment.
There are many registered Auroville guest houses. Prices vary according to the facilities, services and degree of comfort provided. Booking in advance is advised, specially for the peak season of December to March. For more info and bookings visit the Guest Accommodation Service at the Visitors Centre, see http://guesthouses.auroville.org/
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
See also “Guest Services”.
Note: In addition to Aurovlle’s registered guest houses, there are other guest houses offering accommodation locally which have no connection to the Auroville project. Anyone choosing to use such facilities should be aware that they may have difficulty obtaining an Aurocard or accessing AV facilities or events, which are normally reserved for people staying in official AV guest facilities.
As required by the Indian authorities, all guests – both Indian and foreign – must immediately register their arrival in Auroville (within 24 hours) via an Arrival Report form to be completed at the guest house, or – if staying with an Aurovilian – at one of the Financial Service offices.
The Auroville Guest Services operate from two locations. Upstairs at the Visitors Centre (VC) is a Guest Accommodation Service open daily which specializes in helping would-be guests to find suitable accommodation in Auroville guest houses (e-mail email@example.com; website http://guesthouses.auroville.org/), while upstairs at the Solar Kitchen (SK) is a Guest Service office focused primarily on providing information on active guest participation programmes around Auroville, together with information on events, classes and activities open to guests (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; website https://guestservice.auroville.org ). Opening times at the VC are 9.30am-12.30pm and 2-5.30pm on weekdays (also usually on Sundays during the peak guest. season), and at SK 9.30am to 12.45pm Mon-Sat and 2-5pm except Saturday afternoon. Closed Sunday.
Gurus / teachers
While most residents seek spiritual guidance from the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Aurovilians are free to seek guidance from any guru or master who may be able to help them on their personal path. However, they cannot use Auroville as a base for propagating the teachings of any such guru or master, or to recruit followers for such individuals, their Ashrams, or organisations connected with them.
A gymnasium complex, with weights and body-building equipment, plus floor space upstairs for martial arts, aerobics, dance, pilates, body awareness and similar activities, exists at New Creation, adjacent to La Piscine swimming pool.
Auroville has a main Health Centre located on the edge of Aspiration settlement staffed by allopathic and homeopathic doctors (the latter not every day), which opens Mon-Sat 8am-1pm and Mon-Fri 2-5pm for treatment of Aurovilians, Newcomers, guests and locals from the wider Auroville bioregion.
An integral health institute, Santé, located near the Auroville Solar Kitchen receives Aurovilians, Newcomers and registered guests from Mon-Sat 8:45 - 12:30 and 2:00-4:30pm. Closed on Tuesday afternoons. In Santé, doctors work beside therapists to guide patients in an integral healing process. For more information, visit: sante.auroville.org.in
A homeopathic ‘Inner Health’ clinic at Prayatna receives mostly Aurovilians and Newcomers who have made an appointment Mon-Sat at various times. Additionally, a wide variety of alternative health therapies and forms of bodywork/massage are available at Quiet Healing Centre, located off the East Coast Road on the way to Pondicherry (open most of the year Mon-Sat mornings 8-12.30 and afternoons 1.30-5; Sundays 10am-4pm), and there is a holistic centre at Arka which aims to foster health, growth and progress on all levels as the key to remaining young regardless of age. It specially focuses on meeting the needs of the elder population in Auroville, though the services provided are open to all, with an emphasis on enabling people to grow and contribute indefinitely. For more serious health problems there are major hospitals in and near Pondicherry and in Chennai, and two eye hospitals (Aravind Eye Hospital on the road to Cuddalore, and Vasan Eye Care clinic in Pondicherry). See also “Pharmacy”.
Auroville operates an internal health insurance scheme, known as the Health Fund, to which all residents are required to subscribe to avoid unexpected financial crises stemming from health problems.
This is possible by arrangement at the Red Earth Riding School (ph: 0413- 2336495) and other communities that have horses available.
There is presently a shortage of residential accommodation in Auroville. Allocation of houses is handled by the Housing Service, which also sees to the maintenance of many residential properties. All Auroville residential property belongs to the Auroville Foundation, not to the residents, though anyone financing or in long term occupation of a residential unit is accorded ‘right of occupation’, together with any children involved, so long as he/she/they continue to be Aurovilian.
The achievement of an actual human unity in diversity is the prime purpose and aim of Auroville (see 4th point of Charter). It is with this in mind that Auroville plans to start a major ‘Centre for International Research in Human Unity’ (CIRHU) in the near future.
Although ID cards are not required by Aurovilians and Newcomers, it is a good habit to obtain one and carry it. Laminated cards with photo, name & address, signature, nationality, blood group and “medical alert” details are obtainable from the Foundation offices in Town Hall area, for those on the Master List of residents.
There are four main sources of verbal or printed information on Auroville: the Visitors Centre Information Service (which also sells books, brochures, leaflets, and DVDs/CDs on the township and its activities); the Matrimandir Information Hall at the Visitors Centre; and the 2 Guest Service offices. Other comprehensive sources of information are the Auroville website (see “Websites”) and <email@example.com>.
Inoculations / vaccination
Foreigners are advised to seek professional medical advice in their country of origin on what inoculations, if any, they should receive before coming to India.
Inspiration for Auroville
See “Mother & Sri Aurobindo”.
International Advisory Council
The IAC normally comprises a 5-member multi-national team of globally respected individuals who have the task under the Auroville Foundation Act of advising the Governing Board and Residents Assembly on matters relating to development of the township, as and when required. The Council normally meets twice a year in Auroville.
International recognition & participation
Auroville is recognised as the only internationally endorsed (by UNESCO) ongoing experiment in human unity. As such it receives donations and support from a wide variety of individuals, support groups, and government and non-government organisations within India and abroad. See also “Finance”.
Facilities are the same as listed under “E-mail”.
Internship & volunteering
In addition to being able to do voluntary work in AV on a day to day basis (see “Guest Services”), longer term volunteers and interns are also welcomed by SAVI (meaning “key” in Tamil; e-m firstname.lastname@example.org), an AV service that receives a large number of applications annually from individual students, universities and other organizations around the world wanting to learn about, work in and contribute to the township by way of cooperative work over an extended period.
Auroville has its own internal electronic networking facility for sharing of information and provision of a discussion forum, known as Auronet.
Introduction to Auroville – tours, seminars, etc
A one-day short introductory tour of various features of the township starts from the Visitors Centre 9.30am every Thursday. More comprehensive ‘Guest Introduction Weeks’ are normally held on a fairly regular basis during the peak guest/visitor season of December-March. Otherwise, more comprehensive introductions, including seminars for groups of people, can be arranged with AV’s Inside India unit. Details can be obtained from the Guest Service.
The Canadian Pavilion Group has erected an Inuksuk, a large traditional Inuit stone sculpture, at the site of their planned national pavilion in the International Zone, as a symbolic metaphor for humanity’s search towards a new consciousness.
An Open-Source service and research centre by the Town Hall tests, modifies and develops software before it goes into use for AV units and individuals, and also provides training in various applications.
The process of joining Auroville and becoming an Aurovilian is administered by the Entry Service, and presently takes 15 months. See also “Aurovilian status” and “Newcomers”.
Auroville has two laboratories, one conducting medical tests at the main Health Centre, the other an Environmental Monitoring Laboratory carrying out food, water and soil tests for purity and content at Aurobrindavan settlement.
Auroville consciously tries to maintain good working relations with the 6-7,000 people it employs from the local area, and avoids the use of child labour. Auroville units make an effort to provide a decent working environment, good salaries, bonuses, health insurance, and other benefits such as pension schemes. The occasional dispute or problem arising is handled by an Aurovilian Village Liaison Group.
Land ownership, purchase & management
Presently Auroville owns (through the Auroville Foundation) only around half the total land needed to make up the combined city area and surrounding Green Belt. A dedicated Auroville group formulates land purchasing policy, deals with land purchase and all land-related issues affecting the township, and oversees the raising of funds in India and abroad for purchasing the remaining land (for details of how to donate see “Donations”).
Auroville is aware of the ongoing need to landscape the township and Green Belt areas, both on a macro and micro level, to minimize erosion, maximise water retention, and facilitate recharging of the aquifers. At the same time, there is an aspiration to beautify the area by way of parks, gardens, catchment ponds and other features in landscapes ranging from forested/woodland areas to open spaces, while also encouraging maximum bio-diversity.
Although English is the common spoken and written language of Auroville, as elsewhere in India, many people also communicate in Tamil, French and other major European languages. Classes in English, French, Tamil, Sanskrit and Hindi are ongoing, many provided by the Language Laboratory (the first four languages are also taught in the schools). See also “Translations”.
As yet there is no collective laundry service (“dhobi” in India). Most guest houses, units and individual houses either have washing machines or employ someone to do their washing manually, plus ironing. Each guest house has its own laundry arrangement.
Auroville residents are subject to the laws of India and required to abide by them, just like all Indian citizens and visitors to India. See also “Rules & Regulations”.
Auroville has a main library of nearly 35,000 books in 8 languages located beside the Crown Road near the Solar Kitchen, open Mon-Sat 9-12.30 and 2-4.30, from which books can be signed out by Aurovilians, Newcomers and valid Aurocard holders. Several other smaller libraries exist around Auroville, mostly of a more specialised nature. See also “Music” and “Video Lending Library”.
Management of Auroville
A detailed 4-colour map of the Auroville area is available from the AV Visitors Centre and from Boutique d’Auroville in Pondicherry, showing roads & tracks, local villages, canyons and major water bodies, plus Auroville settlements, major guest houses and other key buildings.
An ‘Auroville Marathon’, a trail marathon event for several thousand runners, is now held annually on the second Sunday in February, with participants able to choose between running a full, half or quarter marathon, or in the case of children, beginners and seniors, if they wish, a distance of just 5 or 2 kms for the pleasure of participation. http://www.marathon.auroville.com/
Marriage in Auroville
While it is still relatively common for Indian Aurovilians to marry, following prevailing local custom and in response to family pressure, it is more rare for non-Indians to do so. This follows the Mother’s specific guidance on the subject.
The Auroville Master List, maintained by the Residents Service, is a complete list of Aurovilians and Newcomers aged 18 or over who comprise the Residents Assembly under the Auroville Foundation Act.
A Perspective Auroville Township Master Plan 2000-2025 was approved by the Government of India in February 2001, and is in process of being gradually implemented.
Literally in Sanskrit ‘Temple of the Mother’ (though it is not in fact a temple), the Matrimandir (MM) is the “Soul of Auroville” and symbol of Auroville’s aspiration for the Divine. It is a huge gold-disc-clad slightly flattened globe 29m high x 36m wide, supported on four double-pillars facing approx N,E,S&W named after the four aspects/personalities of the Supreme Mother, located close to the Banyan Tree and Amphitheatre at the centre of the township. Its all-white 12-sided marble-clad Inner Chamber – where a shaft of sunlight, or artificial light at night, focuses down onto a 70 cms diameter optical-quality glass sphere surrounded by 12 white columns – is a place for silent concentration. The Chamber is normally open to Aurovilians and Newcomers at fixed times in the morning and late afternoon/evening. Guests and visitors wanting to make a first-time visit are required to first go to the Visitors Centre, where they can see an introductory video on the MM and obtain a Pass to see the outer structure, Banyan Tree and Amphitheatre from a Viewing Point overlooking the Gardens. Following that, they can make a booking any day except Tuesdays at the Visitors Centre 10-11am or 2-3pm if they want the experience of silent concentration inside. Meanwhile, it should be noted that arrangements may change at any time without prior notice. All visits are subject to weather conditions (there is no access to the MM or Gardens in the event of rain), the number of people wishing to enter, and the availability of attendants. Surrounding the central globe are 12 sloping stone-clad structures called Petals, each containing a meditation room lit/designed to convey atmospheres representative of the 12 virtues/qualities of the Universal Mother. Beyond the Petals, 12 beautiful gardens named sequentially after the 12 powers of the Universal Mother, forming the Park of Unity, will radiate outwards, with a water body/lake at their outer perimeter containing the whole Park area.
A Matrimandir Information Hall at the Visitors Centre provides basic information relating to the Matrimandir structure and gardens, plus viewing and/or access arrangements. The Hall is open daily 9.45am-12.30pm and 1.45-5pm for viewing of a 10-minute introductory film and exhibition panels on the Matrimandir, plus issuing of Passes (Mon-Sat 9.45am-12.30pm & 1.45-4.30pm; Sundays 9.45am-12.30pm only) to see the outer structure and Amphitheatre from a Viewing Point overlooking the Gardens.
See “Health facilities”.
See “Spiritual life”.
Meetings are a part of Auroville everyday life, and range in size from groups of people involved in a working group, service, commercial unit, zone or settlement, to full-scale General or Residents Assembly Meetings which all Aurovilians & Newcomers are encouraged to attend. See also “Decision making”.
An internal Auroville service located by the Multimedia Centre delivers written messages around the township area on a daily basis (though not all settlements are visited daily), and also delivers the weekly ‘News & Notes’ each weekend.
For those wanting SIM cards for mobile phones, these need to be obtained from BSNL or other providers such as Vodaphone and Airtel in Pondicherry or via local specialist shops in places like Kuilapalayam village. It can be a long, bureaucratic and stressful exercise for non-tamil speakers.
See “Financial Service” and “Bank”.
Moped / motorcycle hire See “Transport”.
Mother & Sri Aurobindo
The inspiration for Auroville, together with spiritual guidance given for its realization, comes from Sri Aurobindo (Indian) and his spiritual collaborator the Mother (French, born as Mirra Alfassa in Paris), who joined Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry in 1920. The published collected works of both can be purchased via SABDA bookshop in Pondicherry.
This is a multi-volume record of conversations between the Mother and her disciple Satprem regarding her evolutionary experiences, which also contains a lot of comments and other important material relating to Auroville.
Multimedia Centre (MMC)
The MMC is a media/communications/admin centre adjacent to the Town Hall, which houses an air-conditioned auditorium (also called the ‘Cinema Paradiso’) for 110 people, plus offices/space for Auro-Traductions, Entry Service, AV Design, Human Resource Team, Intranet and website administration, News & Notes, OutreachMedia, Residents Service, a photocopying facility and the Audio and Video/DVD Libraries.
There is a small museum collection of excavated artifacts from the Auroville area at Bharat Nivas, which can be seen by arrangement, and also a collection of over 350 different local plant, shrub and tree seeds – together with a collection of now-rarely-seen agricultural and village artefacts – at Pitchandikulam Bio-Resource Centre.
Regular performances are given by Aurovilians and visiting artists. Classes are also offered to students on a variety of instruments. A ‘Music Library’ lends out CDs subject to a small refundable financial deposit.
National / Cultural Pavilions
Auroville’s International Zone will be the site of Cultural Pavilions representing all the major nations and cultures of the world. The Pavilion of Tibetan Culture is already completed and was inaugurated by H.H. The Dalai Lama in 2009. India’s Bharat Nivas is well advanced, but has yet to be completed. Other pavilions for which foundation stones have been laid or which are under study by their respective pavilion group are the African, British, Canadian, French, German, Italian, Kazakh, Korean, Russian, Scandinavian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swiss and USA-American. Meanwhile, a number of the pavilion groups, most of which are closely involved with the Auroville International group in their country, have already taken the initiative to present a range of cultural activities in Auroville. See also “Unity Pavilion”.
Presently around 55 nationalities are represented in the population of Auroville.
All those in process of joining Auroville are known as Newcomers after their initial 3-month Guest Period, subject to interview and acceptance as such by the Entry Service, until they have completed a probationary period normally lasting for one year and been approved as Aurovilians by the community at large.
There is no daily Auroville newspaper, only the weekly ‘News & Notes’ sent out to residents in English, French or Tamil each weekend and available online on this website. Many people, however, maintain orders for Indian national newspapers by private arrangement, receive European weekly papers like the Guardian Weekly Review by mail, or read European and other daily papers via the Internet. See also “Publications”.
There are a number of plant nurseries in Auroville supplying tree saplings, shrubs and other plants, including a specialist nursery for medicinal plants in Pitchandikulam.
Auroville tries to grow all its food organically. It also encourages the same practice among local farmers, strongly discouraging the use of chemical pesticides, specially on cashew crops.
As much as possible Auroville tries to avoid any clearly defined hierarchical structure in the internal organisation of the township; all are essentially equal, though individuals do play management roles in units and services they are responsible for. Basically, the day to day running of the community is handled by a number of working groups covering areas like land management, forestry, finance, farms, health, education, joining Auroville, outreach/public relations, and general community coordination, who operate with considerable autonomy. Major community decisions are usually taken at, or endorsed by, meetings open to all residents, wherein the preferred mode of decision making is by consensus or consent. The Residents Assembly (see separate note) selects a body – the Auroville Council (usually comprising 9 people) – from its members to look after the day-to-day affairs of the community, and a 7-member body, the Working Committee, to handle Auroville’s external liaison needs and work with the Governing Board of the Auroville Foundation, as required under the Auroville Foundation Act.
All immovable assets of Auroville such as land and buildings are owned by the Auroville Foundation. Aurovilians have no right of ownership, only the right to be steward of an area of land or a residence they have constructed or occupy in Auroville, so long as they continue to live in the township and retain their Aurovilian status.
Parks & gardens
The Master Plan for Auroville incorporates a number of parks, some reaching in from the periphery to the central Matrimandir Gardens, which provide wildlife corridors across the city area. Most communal buildings and residences have surrounding gardens, though these are generally limited by availability of water and space.
Although the boutiques, bookshops, guest houses and some restaurants and other facilities accept cash, there are others – including places such as the Solar Kitchen, La Terrace Café, City Centre / Le Morgan Café, Internet facilities, and the PT Purchasing Service store – where it is only possible to pay by Aurocard or via a Financial Service account. Guests are therefore strongly advised to obtain an Aurocard on arrival. See also “Credit Card payment”.
Auroville is the site of Asia’s ‘Peace Table’, one of 5 magnificent tables – one for each continent – created using 300-year-old Eastern Black Walnut wood as symbols for humanity’s aspiration for peace by the internationally renowned American woodworker George Nakashima. The table is presently housed in Auroville’s Unity Pavilion in the International Zone.
There are no pension schemes for Aurovilians. The community takes responsibility for all its residents, and looks after their needs as best it can according to the means available. Pensions for employed workers are handled by SEWA, and for the staff of work and service units via the Provident Fund scheme.
Petrol / Diesel
There are no petrol stations – alias ‘bunks’ – in Auroville. Nearest are just to the north-east of Auroville on the East Coast Road; in the nearby village of Alankuppam; or in Pondicherry.
Although pets are generally discouraged, many people have dogs, and some have cats. All pet owners have to be conscious of the risk of rabies, which is endemic in the area, and have their pets regularly vaccinated. See also “Animal care” and “Veterinary service”. Holding of wild creatures such as birds as pets is generally banned under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
A small but well stocked pharmacy providing allopathic, homeopathic and ayurvedic medicines exists at the main Health Centre. There is also a small Dispensary in the settlement of New Creation.
Facilities for Auroville presently exist at the Multimedia Centre. A more public facility is located close to Kuilapalayam main street.
Still photography is generally acceptable throughout Auroville, with the specific exception of inside schools, of people meditating or in meetings, or the interior of the Matrimandir, its surrounding Petals, and the gardens forming the Park of Unity, though it is best to obtain permission from individuals, groups or those concerned with a particular building or activity before shooting to ensure that there is no objection. See also “Digital camera downloading” and “Filming in Auroville”.
Physical education / pursuits
There are wide-ranging opportunities for all age groups to participate in sports and other physical activities in Auroville, whether at school or via classes, groups or individual arrangement. These already include badminton, basketball, cycling, football, gymnastics, running/jogging, swimming, tennis, surfing, table tennis, volleyball, aerobics, aikido, cricket, dance, hatha yoga, kabbadi, kalaripayyat, karate, kung fu, t’ai chi, ultimate frisbee and rock climbing.
Places to visit
For details of places to visit, and authorisation in some cases, guests and visitors are requested to contact the Guest Service, or the Information Service desk at the Visitors Centre. People are specially asked not to visit schools, work units or offices casually, as it can be very disruptive to the work.
See “Town planning”.
The Mother indicated that there should be no police in Auroville. Security on the roads, and as required in other occasional circumstances, is provided night and day by an Auroville Guard currently made up of security professionals. Matters requiring the involvement of the Indian Police are handled by an appointed Security group, to do the necessary liaison work.
No political activities or political affiliations are permitted in the township or outside by Auroville’s residents, who are expected to live a life free of all forms of party or local politics.
See “Laboratories”, “Organic agriculture”, “Waste treatment / sewage” and “Water” for various references relating to this topic.
Auroville’s population up to now has been constantly growing (normally at 3-5% a year), and currently stands at around
2750 people from 55 countries. Usually there are a few more males than females (approx. 51.6% to 48.4%). Ages vary from infancy up to the nineties, with average age around 30. Children/minors (aged under 18) comprise around 23% of the total.
There are two Post Offices in Auroville, the main one at Bharat Nivas, from which mail is distributed (pin code 605101, open mornings 9-1.30 and afternoons 2-4.30), and a sub Post Office near the PT Purchasing Service complex on the edge of Kuilapalayam village (open 10am-12.30pm and 1.30-2.30pm).
PR and media relations
A small team of Aurovilians facilitates the visits of journalists and film makers, maintains various press contacts, and sends out occasional press releases as and when needed. For more info contact <email@example.com>.
Depending on the material, type of printing required, quantities and time constraints, services are available from Auroville Press, Auroville Printers, Lumiere, Papyrus and via PRISMA in the Aurelec compound.
See “Conflict resolution”.
Projects & proposals
A Project Coordination Group co-ordinates all grant proposals for Auroville projects to ensure maximum effectiveness and non-duplication of approach to potential donors. The group is Auroville’s officially recognised channel to Auroville International Centres, to the Foundation for World Education and to Stichting de Zaaier on all fundraising matters, and for generally endorsing proposals for fundraising outside Auroville.
PT Distribution Centre (PTDC)
This service started in 2006 as an attempt to return to the original spirit in which the Mother gave the name “For All - Pour Tous”, namely to provide in kind – without exchange of money – food and sundry items to Aurovilians and Newcomers as per their individual needs. (Note: in “A Dream”, quoted on the back cover, the Mother wrote: “the bodily needs of each one would be equally provided for.”) Though ideally this service should provide for the needs of all and be centrally funded, it is initially being financed by the participants themselves each contributing the same amount from their ‘maintenance’ or personal money every month. See also “PT Purchasing Service”.
PT Purchasing Service (PTPS)
PTPS is Auroville’s original centralised purchasing and distribution service, located near Aspiration settlement, which provides food and a wide variety of dry goods for account and Aurocard holders. Also at the site is a branch of the Financial Service.
See “Desk Top Publishing”.
In addition to a free weekly news & information bulletin (News & Notes) and a monthly journal available by subscription (Auroville Today), there are a number of other ongoing publications – ranging from weekly to bi-annually – produced in Auroville, most of them printed by Auroville Press. Various books, brochures and leaflets giving information on the township, plus a map, can be purchased at the Visitors Centre, either from the Information Service desk or (excepting the map) from the Auroville Papers Bookshop. See also “Shops & Boutiques”.
Rabies is not uncommon among village dogs, but rare in Auroville dogs thanks to the community’s insistence on regular vaccination. All animal bites are considered potentially rabid unless the history of the animal is fully known. Medication is kept available at all times at the main AV Health Centre.
Radio and TV
AurovilleRadio broadcasts news, live cultural events, open meetings and other programmes 24/7 in a variety of languages – including English, French, German, Spanish and Tamil – via the internet, and in 2008 began experimenting with TV coverage in a similar way, thereby providing monthly global coverage on Auroville to more than 10,000 people from over 100 countries. For more info see www.aurovilleradio.org or www.aurovilletv.org
Auroville accepts people of all nations as potential Aurovilians, without discrimination and with equal respect regardless of their background, culture, race, ethnicity, caste, age, creed, wealth or social class.
See “Waste treatment / sewage”.
There is no propagation of religion in Auroville. While religions in general are respected as chosen paths to the Divine for most people, they are seen as a source of division within humanity as a whole, therefore not conducive to the achievement of Auroville’s prime aim, an actual human unity in diversity. Aurovilians are instead expected to lead a “spiritual” life.
In addition to being “a site of material and spiritual researches for a living embodiment of an actual Human Unity” (4th point of the AV Charter), Auroville is also a place of constant ongoing research into practical aspects of life, plus the cultural, educational, environmental, social and spiritual needs of mankind for a globally-sustainable future lifestyle.
Non-Indians planning to stay in Auroville for more than 6 months need to come to India with an Entry Visa (Tourist Visas cannot be converted, and normally expire after 6 months). All non-Indians wishing to stay permanently in Auroville must register with the Immigration authorities, a procedure which is part-coordinated and assisted by Auroville’s Residents Service. This leads to issue of a Residential Permit, which has to be renewed on a regular basis. See also “Guest registration”.
The Residents Assembly, which is one of the three bodies comprising the Auroville Foundation (the other two are the Governing Board and International Advisory Council), is made up of all Aurovilian and Newcomer residents aged 18 or over. For important issues or decisions affecting the township and its residents a Residents Assembly meeting is called.
Restaurants, cafés, etc
In addition to the possibility of taking meals at a guest house or at the Solar Kitchen (lunch 1.15 for Aurovilians or 12.45 for guests, dinner 6.00-7.30pm, both meals subject to booking the day before for groups, or before 11.00am on the day for individuals or couples), there are many opportunities to take snacks, cool drinks and meals in and around Auroville. They include Afsanah Guest House (Kottakarai), G.P.Restaurant (nr. CSR), Aurelec Cafeteria, Center Guest House (Centre Field), the Dreamers Café (Visitors Centre), Farm Fresh Café (Kuilapalayam), Ganesh Bakery (Kottakarai), Garden Café (Naturellement), Indus Valley Restaurant (Bharat Nivas), La Terrace Café (Solar Kitchen), Le Morgan Café (Town Hall), Roma’s Kitchen (Auromodele), Satchitananda Raw Food Restaurant (Kottakarai), Solitude Organic Restaurant, Sunlit Path Kiosk (Kottakarai), Tanto Pizzeria (Kuilapalayam road), The Teastop (AV Bakery, Douceur), Visitors Centre Cafeteria, and Well Café (Sve Dame). Note: (a) people eating/snacking at restaurants or cafés in the township area are expected to pay by Aurocard or Financial Service account, (b) not all venues are open full day or 7 days a week, and some require advance booking.
Apart from a narrow tarmac road running up from the coast and passing through the southern fringe of the township, and a few stretches of block-paved road, all the roads, tracks and cycle paths throughout Auroville are dirt, so can be quite rough. They are dusty in summer and often muddy in winter. The main roads can also be full of reckless or erratic riders and drivers, and it pays to be careful. Specially busy times for 2-wheelers are around 8.00am and 4.30pm, when local employees arrive for work or go home respectively. Cyclists are advised to use the specially created system of cycle paths beside the roads. Riding/driving in India is on the left. All road users need to watch out for speedbreakers, which are commonly used in and around the township area.
Rules & regulations
As per the guidance of the Mother, Auroville has consciously tried to avoid establishing fixed rules and regulations for the township and its inhabitants, though occasional guidelines are formulated to facilitate the functioning of the community. The laws of India, meanwhile, apply to all residents, both Indian and foreign, just as elsewhere in India.
Non-Indian Aurovilians are not permitted to earn a “salary” in Auroville by current Indian Government regulations relating to the issue of their visa/Residential Permit. Instead most receive a “maintenance” from the unit or service they work for, sufficient to meet their most basic needs. Many Aurovilians take no remuneration at all from the community, maintaining themselves – while continuing to work like everyone else – out of their own funds as a contribution towards the township, though like everyone else they still contribute monthly to the central ‘City Services’ fund.
There are plans to incorporate wildlife sanctuaries in the Green Belt surrounding the township. The first such area to be identified lies to the south of the township in the area of Success settlement.
Savitri Bhavan is an important research and educational centre near Bharat Nivas which houses all kinds of materials and activities relating to Sri Aurobindo’s revelatory epic poem ‘Savitri’, plus other teachings and writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. It offers a reading room with books and journals to be read on the spot, a Digital Library which offers individual computer access to films, audio recordings and all kinds of texts and documents relating to Savitri, the lives, work and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and the aims and ideals of Auroville. There is also a gallery displaying Savitri paintings plus space for other works of art, an office and archive facility, an open-air amphitheatre, and classrooms for workshops, daily talks and classes, all of which are open to the general public 9am-5pm Monday to Saturday. The House of Mother’s Agenda as well as Sri Aurobindo’s statue (donated to Auroville by the Auroville Foundation in 2008) are also located there.
There are a number of schools (plus kindergartens) providing education in Auroville up to pre-college level, some for Aurovilian children and some for local children. Most fall under an organization known as SAIIER (Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research), which acts as a funding channel and coordinating body. See also “Education”.
Although Auroville is generally a peaceful and safe place, theft is not uncommon, and there have been occasional incidents on the roads over the years. Cash, passports, air tickets and other important papers, plus cameras and electronic equipment, should be locked away out of sight, and women are specially advised not to walk or cycle alone anywhere after dark (an Escort Service is provided for anyone requesting it). More info on security here.
See also “Police”.
This is Auroville’s eventual aim, but the township is still far from achieving it. Today Auroville still depends heavily on external donations and support for its growth and development, and for the provision of basic material needs such as food (only around 15% of Auroville’s food needs are met by its own farms, the rest being purchased in Pondicherry).
See “Conferences, Seminars & Workshops”.
Shops & Boutiques
Auroville’s main shopping facility, the PT Purchasing Service outlet near Aspiration settlement, provides a wide range of fresh fruit, vegetables and other foodstuffs together with dry goods (payment via Aurocard or Financial Service account only; no cash). A smaller store (H.E.R.S.) at Kottakarai sells a reduced range of foodstuffs and some dry goods (payment by Financial Service account or cash). More externally-oriented shops in and around Auroville are the Auroville Boutique, Kalki Boutique, Mira Boutique, Auroville Papers Bookshop and the ‘Kiosk’ located at the Visitors Centre (the first two with branches in Pondicherry), Farm Fresh near Kuilapalayam, the Freeland Bookshop (by the road between Edayanchavadi village and the Visitors Centre), and The Outpost / Janaki Boutique on the ECR, all taking cash. A number of other Auroville-owned or related shops are situated on the approach roads to Auroville and in Pondicherry or Chennai. (Note: there are a few outlets in the Pondicherry and Auroville area which use the “Auro” prefix to their name but are not connected with Auroville.)
There are over 25 species of snakes in the Auroville area, but only four of them are dangerously venomous. Snakes generally avoid humans whenever possible, and meanwhile are protected alongside other life forms within the township. They are specially appreciated for the important role they play in rodent control. See also “Wildlife / insects”.
Solar energy usage
See “Alternative energy systems”.
Special Guests, VIPs and VVIPs
Auroville receives a constant flow of Special Guests, VIPs and VVIPs wanting to learn about the project or see/visit the Matrimandir. Subject to making arrangements in advance, most are received first at the Visitors Centre by a longtime Aurovilian, though occasionally by prior agreement they go direct to the Matrimandir for reception there.
Spiritual life / practices
All Aurovilians are expected to live a spiritually based and motivated life, though this doesn’t mean that they put it into practice in any overt or obvious way e.g. collective meditations, etc. It is an inner discipline, pursued by each individual according to his/her personal understanding, capacity and commitment. Most Aurovilians do their work in a spirit of Karma Yoga (Yoga of Work), taking guidance on this and other aspects of their individual and collective life largely from the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. See also “Religion”.
There is a wide range of sports facilities spread around Auroville, some connected with the schools (all of which have active sports programmes), and some of a more open/generally accessible nature. See also “Gymnasium”, “Physical education / pursuits” and “Swimming”.
See “Mother & Sri Aurobindo”.
Sri Aurobindo Ashram See “Ashram”.
Various organisations around the world have occasional exchange programmes with Auroville for study and/or experiential purposes. Individual students also sometimes arrange internships relating to their own field of activity with Auroville’s support and assistance (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Westerners and other light skinned people are advised not to under-estimate the strength of the Indian sun. Anyone not used to it should minimise exposure, use sun-block creams, and wear a hat or cap, meanwhile drinking plenty of water (bottled water is widely available).
The search for sustainable development, one of the aims of Auroville, is reflected in much of the research, forestry, farming and other work currently being done in and around the township.
There is a multi-lane 25m pool at New Creation (La Piscine) accessible to guests as well as Aurovilians, and two smaller ‘lap pools’ elsewhere, the latter accessible to Auroville residents only. Access times need to be checked and booked directly.
Auroville’s symbol, given by the Mother on 16.8.71, and protected under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1950, was explained by the Mother as follows: “The dot at the centre represents Unity, the Supreme; the inner circle represents the creation, the conception of the City; the petals represent the power of expression, realisation.”
These are available to Aurovilians and Newcomers via Auroville’s Free Store and Nandini unit. Tailors can also be found in the local villages.
Being located in the State of Tamil Nadu, Auroville is naturally supportive of Tamil culture, and is in process of establishing a ‘Tamil Heritage Centre’ in the Bharat Nivas compound for workshops, symposia and special meetings and events designed to preserve Tamil language, history, culture and heritage. Auroville has also overseen the establishment of three other centres, the Kuilapalayam Cultural Centre in Kuilapalayam, the Mohanam Cultural Centre in Sanjeevi Nagar, and the Thamarai Cultural Centre in Edayanchavadi, plus a smaller venture at Aranya settlement. At these centres Tamil festivals are celebrated and classes conducted on heritage subjects. Tamil is taught in all Auroville schools, and classes are also available to adults interested to learn the language.
Although Auroville is required to pay House Tax and other taxes to the local ‘Panchayat’ or Indian Government, and the residents to pay Income Tax where relevant, there is no internal “taxation” in the township, only a system by which income for collective purposes is raised through monthly contributions from the residents (see “Contributions”).
At the time of publishing, the following tax exemptions are in existence:
(1) 100% tax exemption for scientific research under section 35(1)(ii) of the Income Tax Act (ITA), which enables Indian donors to deduct from their taxable income any donation to the Auroville Foundation given for scientific research.
(2) 100% tax exemption for social research under section 35(1)(iii) of the ITA. This exemption enables Indian donors to deduct from their taxable income any donation to the Auroville Foundation given for social research, including donations to SAIIER and for securing Land for Auroville.
(3) Donations to Auroville Foundation are 50% exempted under section 80G of the ITA.
Auroville has no internal ‘Exchange’, and is entirely dependent on the BSNL Exchange located between Edayanchavadi village and Certitude settlement for all its external connections.
Around 1,200 landline numbers are now operating in Auroville, listed in a comprehensive Auroville Telephone Directory together with e-mail addresses. Most foreign telecom equipment is compatible, so people coming to Auroville and wanting to use externally-purchased phones, etc, can usually do so, though specific advice should be sought from the AV Telephone Service (AVTS). Meanwhile, there is an Auroville-managed Public Call Office facility with ISD and STD for the the convenience of visitors & guests at the Visitors Centre, and a cheap-rate international call facility (via the Internet) at Arka, both open every day. Local calls can also be made at the Solar Kitchen internet facility (payment by Aurocard or Financial Service account). See also “Mobile phones”.
Various theatre groups put on plays (usually 2 or 3 a year) at the Visitors Centre, the Sri Aurobindo Auditorium (Bharat Nivas), the Centre for Research In Performing Arts (CRIPA) and Kalabhumi from time to time, and also conduct classes in acting.
See “Health facilities”.
Tips & gratuities
These are not required or expected within Auroville, specially where Aurovilians are concerned, but anyone wishing to express appreciation of employed staff in this way is welcome to do so. In the case of guest houses, it is best to give something to the Guest House Manager, who will put it in a communal box for sharing out later.
Auroville toilets easily accessible to the public are at the Visitors Centre, Bharat Nivas, Solar Kitchen and PT Purchasing Service. Public toilet facilities have also been provided by Auroville adjacent to the tarmac road in Kuilapalayam and Edayanchavadi village, and further afield in another dozen or more villages under the Palmyra Project.
Tours & tourism
See “Introduction to Auroville – tours, seminars, etc”, “Travel agents” and “Visitors & Guests”.
The Auroville Town Hall (officially the Auroville Centre for Urban Research, or ACUR), sited just north of the Matrimandir, houses a variety of service units and facilities related to Auroville’s administration and development, such as L’Avenir d’Auroville town planning unit, Land Consolidation Committee, Housing Service, Auroma Accounting Service, offices for the Auroville Council and Working Committee, the Financial Service and Unity Fund office, AurovilleRadio and Auroville Security.
Development of the Auroville township according to its Government-approved Perspective Master Plan is coordinated by L’Avenir d’Auroville, located at the Town Hall.
As is to be expected in an ‘international’ township project, many cross-language translation possibilities exist. Professional services are provided by ‘Avitra’ and ‘Auro-Traductions’ (the latter located at Multimedia Centre).
The most common form of personal transport used by Aurovilians is a cycle, moped or motorcycle, though a few people now have cars (generally discouraged). The ACT (Auroville Community Transport) Bus Service runs 35-seater bus trips to Pondicherry daily against payment on the bus (timings and pick-up / drop points can be obtained from the weekly News & Notes), plus a once-weekly trip to Sadhana Forest for viewing environmental films, both trips being open to guests as well as Auroville residents. Cycle and moped/scooter/motorcycle hire is possible for ease of transportation around Auroville, and taxis can be ordered when required from within Auroville or from Pondicherry for getting around locally or for trips to Pondicherry or further afield. For details of taxi services available in the Auroville area see “Useful telephone numbers” at the end of this booklet.
Auroville has two travel agents: The Travel Shop, an IATA-approved agency near the main Health Centre which opens Mon-Fri 9-12.30 & 1.30-5pm and Sat 9-12.30, and Yatra Nova on the edge of Kuilapalayam village, open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm. Both accept Credit Card payment.
There are currently some 33 trusts operating under the Auroville Foundation.
International support for Auroville has been forthcoming via UNESCO by way of four unanimous resolutions of its General Assembly, in 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1983, and an Executive Board resolution in 2007/8. UNESCO has also sponsored several Auroville projects in the fields of education and cultural heritage, including an international seminar on “Youth & Human Unity” attended by representatives of over 50 countries as part of the International Youth Year celebrations in 1984. A further UNESCO sponsored event was the internationally attended “Humanity at the Crossroads” conference, which coincided with Auroville’s 25th anniversary in 1993. More recently, in April 2003 Auroville’s 35th anniversary was celebrated with a 5-day event at UNESCO headquarters in Paris; in February 2005, they co-sponsored the conference “Youth for Human Unity – explorations for new values through inter-cultural and inter-religious values;” and in 2008 they marked Auroville’s 40th anniversary with an exhibition and other events, also in Paris.
The Unity Pavilion, located in the International Zone next to Savitri Bhavan, acts as a coordination centre for overall development of the zone, and is meanwhile seen as a transitional space, focal point and experimental ground for the emergence of the individual cultural pavilions of the various nations. Presently it hosts a range of activities related to the IZ and research on Human Unity and Unity in Diversity; provides office space for the IZ Development Group, the African, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Scandinavian and Swiss Pavilions, plus the Auroville International Association; and hosts various collective meetings and events – such as book launches – on a regular basis. It also houses the Asian Peace Table (see “Peace Table”).
Vehicle Service (AVS)
AVS works from an office located in a small building close to the Multimedia Centre, facilitating the acquisition of Indian and International Driving Licenses; their renewal and/or change of address details; transfer of ownership for all types of vehicle; Fitness Certificates; purchase of new vehicles, 2- and 4-wheeler; buying and selling of secondhand vehicles; vehicle and other forms of insurance; vehicle registration, including renewal; and export of vehicles to Europe or elsewhere.
4-wheeler hire is not possible in Auroville. 2-wheelers can sometimes be hired from an AV guest house; otherwise from local providers in the nearby villages or in Pondicherry.
Auroville has a fully qualified vet living and working in the community. There is also a small group of Aurovilians who arrange sterilization programmes for dogs and cats in the villages, while at the same time endeavouring to take care of and vaccinate sick or untended animals (see “Animal care”).
For a small deposit/charge, DVDs can be taken out by Aurovilians and Guests for one week for home viewing from a library located at the Multimedia Centre, open Mon, Wed, Fri & Sat 10am-1pm and Tues, Thurs & Sat 3-6pm.
The Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG), which is active in some 75 villages, helps locally with the empowerment of women, community organisation in the villages, and improving educational opportunities for village children. AVAG also handles Auroville-village liaison work when needed. Other village-related work is done by Palmyra, Pitchandikulam Bio-Resource Centre, Tamil Ulagam, Auroville Water Harvest, AV Clean, Upasana Design and Wellpaper.
See “Special Guests…”
Visas (for non-Indians)
As visa requirements vary by nationality, non-Indians need to check in their country of origin well before coming to India. Normally a Tourist Visa is issued and remains valid for 6 months. Anyone thinking of coming to Auroville for a longer period needs an Entry Visa. Advice of a general nature on visa requirements for non-Indians can be obtained in Auroville from the Residents’ Service at the Multimedia Centre.
Visitors and guests newly arrived in Auroville are strongly advised to go first to the Visitors Centre, where there is an Information Service with adjacent exhibition and literature (normally open 9.30am-1pm and 1.30-5.30pm), a video viewing facility, a bookshop, a Matrimandir Information Hall, three boutiques displaying and selling Auroville products, a restaurant and separate café-cum-coffee shop, a cool drinks kiosk with STD/ISD facility, outdoor exhibitions on the International Zone and environmental issues, and a number of alternative energy installations.
Visitors & Guests
Auroville, which “belongs to humanity as a whole”, has always welcomed outsiders interested in the project, and tries to help them – by way of individual contact and via its Visitors Centre – to understand the aims and ideals of the township, its physical reality, and its way of functioning, though at the same time it does not wish to be perceived or treated as a sightseeing ‘tourist’ site.
Waste treatment / sewage recycling
There is no single collective drainage or sewage system in Auroville. All waste from toilets is treated either via septic tanks or root zone systems. Other waste water, from showers and basins, is either fed into the ground via a soak pit (usually one per building) or is treated for further use (in gardens, but not for drinking/domestic purposes) in water treatment plants using aquatic plants to remove toxins and other chemicals. Solid waste is mostly collected in each settlement by way of a set of barrels for glass, plastic, metal, paper, etc, all of which (except medical waste, which is incinerated) is then collected for ongoing disposal or recycling by the Auroville Eco Service. Meanwhile, several commercial projects specialize in re-use/recycling of “waste” material (including Upasana Design and Wellpaper). Garden and kitchen waste is mostly used for composting. Batteries and CFL bulbs are collected separately and disposed of via the Eco Service. Visitors to Auroville are specially asked not to drop waste along the roads, or anywhere else in the township area.
See “Internship and volunteering”. .
All water is pumped up from aquifers at six levels below ground. It mostly comes up pure and clear, but once it gets into the local tanks and distribution systems it can become unsafe for drinking, so people are advised only to drink filtered or bottled water. All Auroville settlements have their own overhead tank and water distribution system, some using a shared communal tank, others using individual house tanks. Auroville has a ‘Water Maintenance Service’ which maintains wells and infrastructure, a Water Resource Centre (Harvest) which conducts research and advises on development of water resources and the planning and design of related infrastructure, and a laboratory which carries out water purity tests. Water catchment and conservation is a major ongoing priority throughout the township area, plus treatment and recycling of wastewater wherever possible. Overall, the groundwater situation in the Auroville area gives serious cause for concern, with falling aquifers, increasing salt water intrusion, and growing threat of contamination from poor waste disposal and pesticide residues. Much work has to be done in collaboration with the local people and government bodies to improve the situation.
A mass of detailed and regularly updated information on Auroville can be obtained via the Auroville websites listed on the inside back cover.
Wi-fi facilities exist at the Aurelec Cafeteria, the Solar Kitchen Internet Café, Indus Valley restaurant, and Arka. In each case a charge is made for use of the facilities..
Auroville has a wiki website (AuroWiki or Auroville Wiki) at http://wiki.auroville.org.in which was launched in 2008 by Auronet for the use of the Auroville community. It is powered by MediaWiki, the software that runs the famous Wikipedia website that allows users to collaboratively create, edit, link and organize the content of a website. At the time of publishing it has over 400 registered users and nearly 350 pages created by users on various topics.
Wildlife / insects
The abundance of insects and other forms of wildlife around Auroville, specially the growing number of bird species, reflects a healthy environment. Most insects and other creatures encountered are totally harmless. The only advisable protection is against mosquitos, by way of a repellant, specially in the early morning and after 5.30pm. See also “Snakes”.
Wind energy generators (WEGs)
An Auroville-connected unit, Varuna Energy & Water, owns and runs 2 wind energy generators with the aim of supporting Auroville by way of a free supply of electricity and water produced from sustainable resources. One WEG is located near Coimbatore, the other near Tirunelveli. Together they generate nearly 4 million kWh (units of electricity) per year, which is sold to the TNEB. The proceeds are presently being used in Auroville to pay for electricity supply to key places like the Matrimandir, Savitri Bhavan, Bharat Nivas, Pitanga, etc. See also “Alternative energy systems”.
Everyone in Auroville is expected to contribute to the development of Auroville by way of work, though the choice is left entirely to the individuals where best to focus their time and energy. See also “Employment opportunities”, “Salaries” and “Volunteering”.
See “Conferences, Seminars & Workshops”.
When referring to “Yoga” in Auroville, most people mean the Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, who stated that “all life is yoga”, at least for those who are conscious of it. More specifically, there are ongoing classes in Hatha Yoga at Pitanga Hall, Quiet Healing Centre and Vérité settlement.
The Auroville town plan incorporates four specially designated areas surrounding the central ‘Peace’ area – the International, Cultural, Industrial and Residential Zones.
Acronyms & abbreviations commonly used within Auroville
Please note that units and services vary in their use of the “Auroville” prefix, so for example ‘Auroville Farm Group’ could appear as AFG or AVFG.
ABC - Auroville Board of Commerce
ABE - Auroville Board of Education
ABS - Auroville Board of Services
A/C - Air Conditioned
ACCESS - Auroville’s Conscious Community Exchange System for Sustainability
ACUR - Auroville Centre for Urban Research
ACT - Auroville Community Transport
ADPS - Aurelec Data Processing Systems
AEI - Auroville Earth Institute
AEP - Auroville Energy Products
AFG - Auroville Forest Group or Farm Group
AGS - Auroville Guest Service
AHS - Auroville Health Services or Housing Service
AIAT - Auroville Institute of Applied Technology
ALL - Auroville Language Laboratory
AMA - Auroville Museum of Archaeology
APA - Auroville Performing Arts
ARC - Aqua Research Centre
ASAP - Auroville Sustainable Agriculture Plan
ASB - Auroville Security Board or School Board
ATB - Awareness Through the Body
ATS - Auroville Transport Service
AV - Auroville
AVAG - Auroville Village Action Group
AVAT - Auroville Village Action Trust
AVBC - Auroville Building Centre
AVC - Auroville Council
AVDL - Auroville Dental Laboratory
AVDS - Auroville Development Scheme
AVES - Auroville Electrical Service
AVF - Auroville Foundation
AVHC - Auroville Health Centre
AVHF - Auroville Health Fund
AVHS - Auroville Health Services
AVI - Auroville International
AVITRA - Auroville International Translators
AVOM - Auroville OutreachMedia
AWM - Auroville Water Maintenance
AWSH - Auroville Water Service - Harvest
AYA - Auroville Youth Atelier
BCC - Budget Coordination Committee
BN - Bharat Nivas
BSNL - Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (formerly Dept of Telecom)
CARE - Computer Aided Research and Engineering
CFL - Centre for Further Learning
CGH - Center Guest House
CHU - Centre for Human Unity
CIC - Centre for Indian Culture
CIO - Chief Immigration Officer
CIRHU - Centre for International Research in Human Unity
CIS - Centre for Indian Studies
CPS - Child Protection Services
CRCP - Centre for Research in Communication and Publication
CRIPA - Centre for Research In Performing Arts
CS - City Services (previously Central Fund)
CSEB - Compressed Stabilised Earth Block
CSR - Centre for Scientific Research
CZG - Cultural Zone Group
ECR - East Coast Road
EDG - Economic Development Group
EG - Economy Group
EM - Effective Micro-organisms
EMS - Environmental Monitoring Service
ES - Entry Service (for Electrical Service see AVES)
ESG - Economy Study Group
FAMC - Funds & Assets Management Committee
FS - Financial Service
FWE - Foundation for World Education
GB - Governing Board
GG - Green Group
GHCG - Guest House Coordination Group
GOI - Government of India
GS - Guest Service
HERS - Health Education Research Service
HOMA - House of Mother’s Agenda
HRT - Human Resources Team
IAC - International Advisory Council
IHS - Integral Health Service (Kailash Clinic)
ILC - Integral Learning Centre
ISD - International Subscriber Dialling
IZ - International Zone
JIPMER - Jawarhalal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Research
KK - Kottakarai
KOFPU - Kottakarai Organic Food Processing Unit
L’AVD’AV - L’Avenir D’Auroville
LCC - Land Consolidation Committee
LEC - Life Education Centre
LOE - Laboratory of Evolution
LOF - Line of Force
LRM - Land & Resources Management
MHC - Merriam Hill Center
MM - Matrimandir
MMC - Multimedia Centre
MMG - Matrimandir Management Group
MPHC - Multi-Purpose Health Centre
NCC - New Creation Corner
NESS - New Era Secondary School
NGO - Non-Government Organisation
N&N - News & Notes
NOC - Non Objection Certificate
PBRC - Pitchandikulam Bio-Resource Centre
PCG - Project Coordination Group
PCO - Public Call Office
PDY - Pondicherry or Puducherry
PF - Provident Fund
PIMS - Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences
PT - Pour Tous
PTDC - Pour Tous Distribution Centre
PTPS - Pour Tous Purchasing Service
QHC - Quiet Healing Centre
QuTee - Quiet Transport
RA - Residents’ Assembly
RAS - Residents’ Assembly Service
RERS - Red Earth Riding School
RRO - Regional Registration Office
RZ - Residential Zone
SAA - Sri Aurobindo Ashram or Auditorium
SABDA - Sri Aurobindo Book Distribution Agency
SAICE - Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
SAIIER - Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research
SAS - Sri Aurobindo Society
SAVI - Auroville Volunteering, Internships & Studies programme
SAWCHU - Sri Aurobindo World Centre for Human Unity
SBI - State Bank of India
SDZ - Stichting De Zaaier
SEWA - Small Employers Welfare Administration
SK - Solar Kitchen
SRC - Social Research Centre
STD - Subscriber Trunk Dialling
SWM - Solid Waste Management
TDEF - Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest
THC - Tamil Heritage Centre
TNEB - Tamil Nadu Electricity Board
TOS - Temporarily Out of Station
UF - Unity Fund
UHU - University of Human Unity
UP - Unity Pavilion
UTS - Unity Transport Service
VC - Visitors Centre
WAT - Water Awareness Team
WC - Working Committee
WELL - Women’s Empowerment through Local Livelihood
Useful telephone numbers
Note: When dialling from outside Pondicherry Exchange area the numbers below must be prefixed with 0413.
Secretary Office ..................262-2414
Finance & Administrative Officer Office...................262-2222
Working Committee office ..............................................262-2143
Guest Houses (8 out of the 30+ total)
Atithi Griha GH................................................................262-2445
Centre GH.......................................................................262-2155 or 2708
College GH......................................................................262-2584 or 2165
New Creation GH............................................................262-2125
Guest Accommodation Service (Visitors Centre) ...........262-2704
Guest Service (Solar Kitchen)…….…….........................262-2675
Health – Dental / Medical
Dental Clinic (Protection)................................................262-2007 or 2265
Health Centre (Aspiration)..................................................262-2123, 2018 or 2221
Multi-Purpose Health Centre (Arka)................................262-3799
Quiet Healing Centre.......................................................262-2329 or 2646
Guest Service (Solar Kitchen).........................................262-2675
Visitors Centre Information Desk.....................................262-2239
Restaurants & Cafeterias (7 out of the 18 total)
City Centre Café or Le Morgan Café...............................262-2832
La Terrace Café ..............................................................262-2665
Roma’s Kitchen ..............................................................262-2032
Tanto Pizzeria .................................................................262-2368
Visitors Centre Cafeteria ................................................262-2248
Security – AV Guard
Auroville Guard .............................................................94433-62691
Services / Facilities / Working Groups, etc
Auronet / Sysop...............................................................262-2262 or 2084
Auronet Browsing Centre (Solar Kitchen).......................262-2524
Auroville International (Auroville)....................................262-2121
Bakery (Douceur) ...........................................................262-2159
Centre for Indian Culture (CIC).......................................262-2253
CSR (Centre for Scientific Research).............................262-2168 or 2277
Financial Service - Town Hall..........................................262-3648
“ “ - near PTPS/Aspiration.......................262-2171
House of Mother’s Agenda..............................................262-2219
L’Avenir d’Auroville .........................................................262-2170 or 2250
OutreachMedia / Public Relations ..................................262-2098
Pitanga Cultural Centre...................................................262-2403
Pitchandikulam Bio-Resource Centre.............................262-2365 or 2431
Post Office (Bh. Nivas)....................................................262-2120
SAIIER (Sri Aurobindo International Institute
of Educational Research)..............................................262-2210 or 2982
Solar Kitchen (bookings).................................................262-2197
State Bank of India (Kuilapalayam).................................262-2137
Telephone Service ..........................................................262-2364
Travel Agent - Inside India...............................................262-2047 or 2555
“ “ - The Travel Shop......................................262-2604, 2078 or 3030
“ “ - Yatra Nova...............................................262-2633 / 3091603
Vérité community office...................................................262-2045
Village Action Group office..............................................2678872 or 871
Auro Cabs.......................................................................262-3200 or 3201
Maha Transport Service (Celebration)............................262-2535 or 2102
Mani (Beach Road) ........................................................262-2506
MM Mother Travel...........................................................262-2489 or 3208
New Creation Taxi Service..............................................262-2400
Unity Transport Service...................................................262-3586 or 587
Mira Boutique .................................................................262-3389