There are 12 main gardens around Matri Mandir at Auroville—the meditation pavilion located at the centre of the experimental township of Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India. An integral part of the city’s masterplan given by the late French architect Roger Anger, each garden has been assigned a specific spiritual theme by Auroville’s founder Mirra Alfassa, better known as The Mother.
The gardens of Life and Power are adjacent to one another and partially shaded by a big banyan tree around which Aurovillians gather for silent meditation. While the design concepts and intended experience of both the gardens set them apart, the landscaping techniques and materials used create a seamless transition between the two. The construction of the gardens began in November 2021 and was completed in August 2022. The concept of ‘life’ has been described as a force or a series of transforming energies in Auroville’s spiritual teachings. Life Garden, therefore, is designed as a journey through different elements, with water signified as the genesis of life. The experience of Power Garden, on the other hand, emphasizes aesthetic beauty. Taking inspiration from minimalistic Japanese gardens, the primary focus in Power Garden is the set of sculptural pots or ‘urlis’ placed in a bed of white marble chips.
The Matrimandir Gardens of Life and Power have been built with materials sourced either from the Matrimandir workshops or transported from sites within Tamil Nadu. Stones like kadappa, granite and red Agra sandstone have been cut and finished onsite. A variety of hibiscus, among other flowers and ground covers, has been planted in both the gardens. This project is the result of a collaboration between the three architects selected through a competition process, and local experts in Auroville, along with inputs from the Aurovillian community.
Completion Year: 2022
Gross Built Area: 972 sqm
Project Location: Auroville, Tamil Nadu, India
Program: Gardens for recreation and meditation
Designers: Anandit Sachdev, Rupal Rathore, Vir Shah
Image Credits: Alessandra Silver