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Overhead shot of Auroville in Southern India

Auroville, the Utopian City that has Thrived For 25 Years


This community, which follows the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo, blooms in southern India.

Utopian dreams have persistently inspired humankind in their yearning for perfection: the desire to live in an Earthly paradise where good, justice, peace and harmony are channeled to govern our everyday actions, living in sync with our peers and the environment. And while these places have generally been limited to literary fantasy kingdoms and unfeasible philosophic models —from Plato’s Republic to B. F. Skinner’s Walden Two—, there are also examples of people who have worked to prove that these places, or at least their essence, are achievable.

One of the most admirable and successful examples is Auroville, the “City of the Aurora”, founded in 1986 in southern India by “The Mother”, Mirra Alfassa. This community is based on the ideas and teachings of Sri Aurobindo, one the most influential Indian thinkers, who believed that human evolution is a process that has not yet ended.

Alfassa picked up Aurobindo’s spiritual and intellectual legacy, and in collaboration with French architect Roger Anger, she materialized one of the most ambitious utopian projects of all time: a “social experiment” that eliminates the presence of some of our deepest cultural requirements: private property, religion and politics.

Currently, Auroville has over two thousand inhabitants, from forty-three different countries. Its design is a mandala whose center is the Matrimandir, “Mother’s Temple”, from where the residential, industrial, cultural and international zones irradiate and give shape to the city.

The Matrimandir is a sacred building where meditation, silence and peace are privileged as vehicles on the voyage to discover personal consciousness. The first requirement to belong to the Auroville community is that you must know yourself beyond “social, moral, cultural, racial and inherited appearances”.

In sum, Auroville’s ultimate intention, and that of Sri Aurobindo’s teachings, is to foster the culmination of human evolution, the arrival of a new species that naturally understands that unity is our only possible collective future.

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