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Hundreds flock to Matrimandir bonfire

It was on February 28, 1968 that Auroville was founded by Mirra Alfassa

March 01, 2019 01:34 am | Updated 01:34 am IST - PUDUCHERRY

PUDUCHERRY, 28/02/2019: Hundreds of Aurovilians and visitors gathered at the Amphitheatre in front of Matrimandir to celebrate the 51st anniversary of founding of Auroville with a bonfire on Thursday Photo: S.S. Kumar / The Hindu

PUDUCHERRY, 28/02/2019: Hundreds of Aurovilians and visitors gathered at the Amphitheatre in front of Matrimandir to celebrate the 51st anniversary of founding of Auroville with a bonfire on Thursday Photo: S.S. Kumar / The Hindu

Early on Thursday, the Matrimandir was illuminated by a bonfire as Aurovillians and visitors gathered in silent prayer and meditation to celebrate another birth anniversary of the City of Dawn.

Auroville’s founding on February 28, 1968 by Mirra Alfassa, spiritual associate of Sri Aurobindo and known as The Mother to followers, is one of the only two occasions of the year that the community organises a bonfire communion — the other being Sri Aurobindo’s birth anniversary, which coincides with Independence Day.

While for old-timers, the occasion refreshes memories of the founding of the township when youth from 124 nations and 23 Indian States, deposited a handful of their native soil into the urn placed in the middle of the amphitheatre.

For the visitors to Auroville the bonfire celebration offers an ethereal experience quite unlike any other. An unusually high number of visitors joined Thursday’s bonfire event, which by convention, is organised at the amphitheatre adjacent to the Matrimandir, the soul of Auroville.

A team of volunteers began preparations for the event weeks in advance.

One of the high points of this year’s celebrations was the elaborate floral arrangements with petals indicating the source of water collected from throughout the world.

The “water ceremony” bringing together water from throughout the world was a symbolic ceremony at Auroville which not only symbolises an invocation for unity but also a prayer for preserving the diminishing resource on the planet.

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