Established on- 24th November,1926
Location- the eastern part of Pondicherry
Importance: Headquarters of the Sri Aurobindo Society (SAS)
Timings: 08:00 AM to 12 noon and 02:00 PM to 06:00 PM
Timings of meditation around the Samadhi courtyard- 07.30 PM - 07. 50 PM (Monday - Wednesday and Friday
Timings of Art Gallery: 09.00 AM - 11.00 AM, 03.00 PM - 04.00 PM
Timings of photo section: 08:00 - 12 noon; 02:00 – 05:00 PM
Timings of collective meditation in the Ashram Playground- 07.45 PM and 08.15 PM (Thursday and Sunday)
Timings of Library: 07.30 AM - 11.30 AM and 02.00 PM - 04.45 PM
Established in the year 1926 under the guidance of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother (Mirra Alfassa, a French painter-sculptor), Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the best tourist attractions of Pondicherry. Under their guidance, a group of 2 dozen disciples started this ashram and slowly it grew to a community of 1200 members. Today the ashram community has over 2000 people, comprising of hundreds of devotees and 400 students at the Centre of Education.
Like a typical Ashram, the feel of this Ashram is not serenity, and on the contrary, it bustles with high energy in a modern setting. The lively character of the residing community is a reflection of the aims of Yoga at Sri Aurobindo Ashram. All the Ashramites do some amount of productive work in any of the departments of Ashram on a daily basis.
As far as spiritual aspect or the sadhana is concerned, there is no obligation and there are no obligatory rituals, practices, enforced meditation sessions or instructions in Yoga. The Sadhaks, on their own, decide the course of their sadhna with keeping the basic aim in mind- the surrender to the Divine.
The main focus on the community is on the main building of the Ashram that contains of inter-connected blocks of houses where Sri Aurobindo and the Monther used to reside. In the middle is a tree-shaded courtyard, where the Samadi (a white marble shrine) of both of these spiritual gurus are laid.
All the daily needs of the members are fulfilled by the Ashram as there are separate departments for clothing, food, medical care, and shelter. There are a number of libraries too in the Ashram, which is managed by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust. These libraries have educational as well as cultural books. Currently, there are 80,000 books in 25 different languages and 100s of periodicals, along with a huge collection of Indian and Western classical records as well as tapes.
Sri Aurobindo Asham of Pondicherry follows an amalgamation of yoga and modern sciences, and thus is visited by thousands of devotees as well as tourists from all across the globe in search of spiritual knowledge. A well-maintained flower garden welcomes the devotees as they enter the Ashram. Bags and cameras are not allowed inside the medication building.
Perfumed candles, handmade papers, incense sticks, greeting cards, and such similar items are manufactured in the ashram. All this quite popular in the markets around the world because of the quality. Workshops on crafts like pottery, embroidery, weaving, batik etc. are also organized in the Ashram premises. The Ashram also comprises of a theater, a concert and a dance hall, and Allopathic as well as Ayurvedic clinics.
There are around 80 departments in the Ashram including gardens, engineering units, healthcare, farms and guesthouses. At the art gallery, one can have look at the photographs and paintings of ‘the Mother’s collection’. This gallery has over 2500 works, done by the Ashram artists as well as others. There is a separate photo section department for those who wish to buy photos of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. In the playground of the ashram there is a collective meditation session, which can not only be attended by Ashramites, but also by the visitoes, staying in guest houses.