Matrimandir (temple of The Mother) is called the soul of the city and is the focal point of Auroville. It does not belong to any religion and is used for meditation. It is inside a huge area called Park of Unity and is surrounded by 12 gardens which signify 12 powers of the Mother.
You can visit Matrimandir for outside viewing as well as for meditation inside the inner chamber. If you are on a short visit, the only option for you would be to view it from outside.
How to see Matrimandir from the outside:
- Go to the Auroville’s Visitors Center.
- Collect a free pass from the visitor’s centre. Time for issuing passes:
- Monday to Saturday: 9am to 4:30 pm
- Sunday: 9 am to 1 pm
- Take the pass and proceed to the viewing point. There are 2 options to go to the viewing point:
- Take a free shuttle. This is available only for elderly, people who have difficulty walking and for people with kids.
- Walk on the marked pathway for approx a kilometre to reach the viewing point.
- There is a raised garden area which offers full view of the Matrimandir and its surroundings. There is a small garden closeby in case you want to relax for a while.
- You can either walk back or take a shuttle bus back to the visitor’s centre. This shuttle is free for everyone.
If you are visiting Auroville on a day trip, this is the best option for you. If you are looking to go inside the Matrimandir for concentration, you need to be free for the first half of the day; and book in advance.
How to visit the Inner Chamber of Matrimandir
- Visit Auroville Visitor’s center first floor to make the booking. Timings are as follows:
- Monday, Wednesday to Sunday: 10 am to 11am & 2 pm to 3 pm
- Tuesday: Closed.
- The bookings open a week in advance and close a day before the visit. Passes are given on first come first serve basis. The no. of first time visitors is limited to 80 per day so the slots close fast (looks like a large number but trust me, its not 🙂 ). I would recommend you book your visit as soon as you arrive at Auroville to avoid disappointment. We went on our 3rd day hoping to get the pass for 4th day for my husband and 5th day for myself. However, 4th day slots were already full and only my husband got a pass for 5th day.
- Carry your ID card when you go to make the booking and later when you visit the inner chamber. You cannot book it for someone else.
- On the day of your visit, reach Visitor’s center by 8:45 am. Do not carry phone/ wallet/ camera etc. Carry your ID card.
- You will be shown a video of Matrimandir and Auroville (which is different from the one you can see when you visit Visitor’s Center otherwise). You will be taken to the inner chamber after a small briefing.
- The visit inside the chamber is only for 20 mins, but the entire stuff takes around 3 hrs + because of the wait involved at every stage. However, its a good place to meet some interesting people.
- A bus will get all the visitors back to the visitor’s center by around 11:30 am -12 noon
I haven’t been inside the chamber, but my husband was very impressed with this visit and said the experience was worth the wait. We plan to go back to Auroville next year and visit Matrimandir again. For 2nd time visitors, the visit is much easier because you can book by mailing them in advance.
Things to take care of when visiting Matrimandir:
- Auroville does not allow kids below 10 yrs inside the Matrimandir. Given only 1 batch of new visitors go in every day, the person staying back with the kid will have to visit the inner chamber only next day. One has to maintain complete silence when inside the chamber.
- Book your visit on the day you arrive Auroville because the slots get full fast.
- Get to the visitor’s center on time for your visit. You will not be entertained if you are late.
Links for detailed information on Matrimandir / Unity Park:
Matrimandir: https://www.auroville.org/contents/678 Matrimandir – 12 gardens and their significance: https://www.auroville.org/contents/2141 Visiting Matrimandir: https://www.auroville.org/contents/252 Auroville Visitor’s center: https://www.auroville.org/contents/194 Auroville’s Sunrise gatherings (bonfire at the amphitheatre) : https://www.auroville.org/contents/12