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The Matrimandir Access Policy
- Carel

Access to The Matrimandir, called by The Mother ‘The Soul of Auroville', is restricted. According to the Mother's guidelines, access is only for those who are ‘serious and sincere'. She specified that visitors would only have access at a designated ‘time of the day' or ‘a day in the week'.

One of the greatest challenges for Auroville is the implementation of the instructions given by the Mother for access to Matrimandir. The Matrimandir attracts hundreds and sometimes thousands of visitors a day, but it is not a tourist or pilgrim resort. It is and remains a place for silent consecration and dedication to the Divine. In particular, the atmosphere in the Park of Unity – the area which includes the Matrimandir, the Matrimandir gardens, the Amphitheatre and the Banyan Tree – must be maintained at the highest level – silent and sacred – and cannot be allowed to diminish because of throngs of visitors. To regulate access, the Matrimandir Access Group has elaborated policies for special guests, visitors and Aurovilians.

The first visit
The point of entry for most visitors is the Visitors Centre. It offers information about Auroville through exhibitions, leaflets, brochures, books and DVDs. Introductory videos on Auroville and the Matrimandir are shown and long-time Aurovilians are present to answer questions and assist people. The Visitors Centre also houses boutiques that sell a wide range of Auroville products, a spiritual bookshop, and a cafeteria.
First-time visitors to Auroville are invited to watch a short introductory video on the Matrimandir. Then they can obtain a pass to visit the viewing-point, a garden located at the southern border of the Park of Unity which offers a full view of the Matrimandir, the Amphitheatre and the Banyan Tree. The viewing-point can be reached after a fifteen-minute walk along a shaded footpath; for the handicapped and elderly, an electric shuttle – a non-polluting, silent mode of transport which helps maintain Auroville's environment – is available.
The visit to the viewing-point is essential for first-time visitors to get an impression of the area. After this first visit they can contact the Matrimandir booking office and make a reservation to participate in a guided tour of approximately 90 minutes.
This tour offers an explanation about the significance and meaning of the Matrimandir, followed by a visit to the Banyan Tree and a concentration in the Inner Chamber for 10-15 minutes.
Having once visited the Chamber, it is possible to attend the regular one hour concentrations, but always subject to availability of places as the Chamber can only accommodate 68 persons at a time. All regular visitors are asked to make a booking, which can be made up to seven days in advance.

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