An edifice of spiritual significance, the Matrimandir is a place for those who practice Integral yoga. Matrimandir is a Sanskrit word and is referred to as ‘Temple of The Mother’ or ‘Mother’s Shrine’ in English. Situated almost 10.3 km away from Pondicherry, this concentration centre can be found in the center of Auroville.
The foundation of this place was developed by The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Based on Sri Aurobindo’s teachings, the concept of the ‘Mother’ represents the idea of helping humankind to move ahead of its present life. Or, the ‘great evolutionary, conscious, and intelligent principle of Life’.
The Matrimandir consists of a Geodesic dome covered by golden discs, surrounded by the central Peace Area, an amphitheatre, a banyan tree, and encircled by twelve gardens. The central dome has the Inner Chamber which is used for meditation. To stabilize the geodesic dome of Matrimandir, four main pillars are constructed which are known as Maheshwari, Mahakali, Mahalakshmi, and Mahasaraswati. The construction and architecture of this whole place are solely based on Sri Aurobindo’s teachings.
How to Reach Matrimandir
From bus - Buses usually run from the bus stand to the Auroville Visitors’ Centre around 7.30 am, 1.30 pm, and 4.30 pm. You can plan a day trip to explore and come back on time.
From cab - You can also take a private cab from Pondicherry bus stand. The distance between both the places is almost 14 km and ride will take half an hour.
Best Time to Visit Matrimandir
credits: Mrs. Hiksom
The temperature of Tamil Nadu is generally tropical and features hot temperatures over the year but the best time to visit Matrimandir will be from October to March.
-Summer season - The visit should be completely avoided during summers, i.e., April to June, as the temperature can easily touch 40 degrees Celsius.
-Monsoon - The weather from July to September can be humid and sweaty. Moreover, the bookings get cancelled on a rainy day, so, play your trip in accordance with the weather conditions.
-Post monsoon - October to March is a really good time to visit if you want to avoid the hot and humid weather of Tamil Nadu. The temperature usually ranges from 15 to 30 degrees Celsius. From February, the spring season, Auroville starts getting warmer.
-Winter season - Also, Matrimandir experiences the heaviest visitors’ traffic during winters, i.e., December to February. The weather is pleasant and perfect for experiencing the tranquil getaway at the concentration centre. It also gets breezy at night; you might have to pack a heavy jacket or extra hoodies with you.
What Not to Miss at Matrimandir
Attractions near Matrimandir
1. Experience the lifestyle – Matrimandir is a place for those trying to find heir consciousness. The purpose of visiting this place is to acquire it and embrace with simplistic methods. You can sit there quietly and soak in its atmosphere.
Inner Chamber is devoid of images, organized meditations, flowers, incense, or any religious forms. You can dive into the solitude and adopt a different way of living. The atmosphere is quiet and charged and ensures a tranquil experience.
2. Sit in silence and concentrate – The name ‘Matrimandir’ means ‘Temple of The Mother’. The learning behind the term ‘Mother’ refers to guide the humans to expand their present limitations and step into the next stage of its self-evolutionary adventure. While taking part in this process, you can indulge in all these teachings and ideologies.
There aren’t meditation procedures to be followed. Although, for first-time visitors an introductory tour is provided to understand the concentration activities at Matrimandir. Else, you have to sit with yourself in silence and concentrate.
3. Visit the Viewing Point – Take a break from exploring your mind palace and head to the Viewing Point of Matrimandir. Situated almost 1 km away from the Visitor’s Centre, you can explore the lush green surroundings of the Viewing Point.
It is a raised garden area which offers a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Matrimandir. You can visit this place to get in touch with nature. The passes to visit this place can be obtained free of cost from the Auroville’s Visitors’ Centre.
4. Take a detailed tour around Matrimandir – during your visit to Matrimandir, you will come across several people who will guide you through your course and explain the Auroville system of beliefs. The premises of Matrimandir is filled with twelve gardens which encompass the main structure of this place.
The guide will provide you with an in-depth description of this place. From Matrimandir’s architecture to attributes of each garden, learning about this place will make you understand how The Mother’s ideas were preached and implemented.
5. Visit the 12 gardens and Amphitheater – Located under the premises of Matrimandir, the 12 gardens and Amphitheater are the most prominent parts of this place. The dome is surrounded by twelve gardens which represent an attribute of The Mother. The attributes are Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power, Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony, and Perfection.
The Amphitheatre is filled with visitors. You can soak in the beauty and tranquillity of this place while sitting here. Made up of warm red colour, visitors often opt to stay back for a while and concentrate.
Amongst these beautiful valleys, you can spot other spiritual attractions too. From the unique architecture of pavilions to exploring the cultural values, Matrimandir is a haven for people seeking peace.
6. Savitri Bhavan – A centre dedicated to inculcate the spiritual education based on the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Savitri Bhavan aims to provide all sorts of materials and activities which would lead to spirituality.
The place houses picture gallery, a reading room full of books and journals, digital library, a programme for weekly classes, workshops, film shows, guest lectures, etc. to provide a better insight into the teachings of Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri. Also, Bhavan provides hostel accommodation for those who are offering their services at Savitri.
7. Unity Pavilion – Situated next to Savitri Bhavan, Unity Pavilion is a centre responsible for the overall development of the International Zone. Presently, the pavilion hosts several activities related to the International Zone and research work on Human Unity.
Visitors often explore this place to take part in understanding the International Zone Coordination groups and how they work. Also, people opt for volunteering and participating to build interactions based on Human Unity. Thus, it helps visitors explore the social, religious, cultural, political, and economic background.
8. Bharat Nivas – Want to explore the cultural hub near Matrimandir? Head to Bharat Nivas. This place is a pavilion of India in Auroville’s International Zone. The Nivas consists of Auroville Library, Kala Kendra, Tamil Heritage Centre and much more.
After finishing the visit to Matrimandir, many visitors travel up here for indulging into cultural activities. You can explore the unique artworks at Kala Kendra and understand the ideology behind it. Moreover, it consists of a beautiful eating place, Indus Valley, which runs on the concept of a gift economy and excels in serving home-cooked Indian food.
9. Inuksuk and the Canadian Pavilion group – Installed by the Canadian Pavilion Group in 2009, an Inuksuk, is a stone sculpture built near the Matrimandir. The inuksuk is an Inuktitut word which means “to act in the capacity of a human”.
Usually, visitors explore this place for witnessing this metaphor of humanity and soak in the scenic beauty of this place. The Canadian Pavilion group covers its maintenance and works in the direction of having cultural activities.
Other Essential Information About Matrimandir
History of Matrimandir
Matrimandir is one of the most important edifices of the Auroville township near Pondicherry. The concept of this place was developed by The Mother. By 1968, she decided to include a Pavilion, named “Matrimandir”, which means, The Mother’s Shrine. The site was almost barren but still, she included a lone Banyan tree and twelve gardens into the plan. The names were Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power, Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony, and Perfection.
In January 1970, The Mother introduced and asked a French architect, Roger Anger, to begin the work of Matrimandir. The final design was approved by The Mother in 1971. The design included Matrimandir on an oval island and surrounded by twelve gardens. In the month of February, the foundation stone was laid and excavation work also started. It took almost 37 years to completely build the Matrimandir. In 2008, the construction was completed and opened.
Places to Stay near Matrimandir
1. Olive De Villa – Want to spend a luxurious escape while exploring south India? Visit Olive De Villa. A blend of extravagance and nature, it is a memorable vacation spot for you. Curating sensory engagement, the villa is famous for its world-class architecture.
2. Green’s Guesthouse – One of a kind, the Green’s Guesthouse is a beautiful avenue catering to every age group. You can soak in the full view of the valleys and lush green forests from the rooms. It is a good gathering spot for those hoping for a relaxing way to spend their getaway.
3. Purity Guesthouse – A splendid replication of South’s beauty, Purity Guesthouse is quite popular for its beautiful ambience and convenient stay. In between the lush green forests of Pondicherry, the guesthouse provides a lavish stay and mouth-savouring delicacies.