From the outset she explained that, at the centre of her town, there would be a “Park of Unity” and that, in this park, there would be something she called at first a “Pavilion of Truth”, or “Pavilion of [Divine] Love”, or “Pavilion of the Mother”. Eventually she named this Pavilion “Matrimandir”, which she translated in English as “The Mother’s Shrine”. She added that the “Park of Unity” would consist of twelve gardens representing the “twelve attributes of the Mother” and that eventually the Matrimandir and its Park of Unity would be surrounded by a Lake.
Towards the end of 1965 the Mother decided that a lone Banyan tree would be the geographical centre of the future town. At the time the site was almost totally barren.
Early 1968, the Mother gave their names to Matrimandir’s twelve Gardens:
Existence, Consciousness, Bliss, Light, Life, Power,
Wealth, Utility, Progress, Youth, Harmony, Perfection.
On 28th February 1968, Auroville’s inauguration ceremony took place around a white Urn, shaped like a lotus bud, which now stands at the focus of a large amphitheatre. Youth representing each state of India and each country of the world placed a handful of soil of their respective state/country in this Urn while a welcoming message and Auroville’s Charter were read in various Indian and foreign languages.
Late 1969, the Mother explained to an American horticulturist, Narad, whom she had called to start the Matrimandir Gardens: ‘It must be a thing of great beauty, of such beauty that when people come they will say “Ah, this is it”. It must be an expression of that consciousness which we are trying to bring down’. She added: ‘One must know how to move from consciousness to consciousness’.
In January 1970, the Mother asked a French architect, Roger Anger, to start working on Matrimandir – saying that she had had repeated visions of its Inner Chamber and gave him a measured drawing of it, which an Ashram engineer, Udar, had drawn according to her instructions. She said that she had not ‘seen’ the rest of the building.
In March 1970, Roger Anger presented to the Mother a model of the Inner Chamber along with five different models for the Matrimandir. She selected one of these models, a slightly flattened golden sphere, and the architect worked further on it.