The Utopian Enclave Hidden Deep in the Indian Jungle

April 12, 2018

These stunning images give the world a glimpse of life in an experimental utopian town hidden away in the jungle of southern India.

German photojournalist David Klammer first visited Auroville for an assignment for GEO magazine 15 years ago.

Mr Klammer, from Cologne, said something about the town – where more than 3,000 people from 50 countries co-exist peacefully without a mayor or police – stuck with him.

He’s now visited three times – and seen the town change as more people come to live there.

‘There is a special atmosphere in Auroville, very energetic,’ he said.

‘The people living there come from over 50 countries. Plus loads of travellers and tourists in wintertime.

‘Everybody has a reason to be there. It is a place like no other on earth.’

Mr Klammer notes that those who chose to move there don’t often do the same jobs they did before.

‘They come from all different backgrounds,’ he said. ‘One thing that’s common with most Aurovilians is, that they’ve changed their profession.

‘Doctors became masters of waste management, dropouts work in town-planning. People do something for a time and then something else.’

Auroville was founded in 1968 by the spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa, also known as The Mother, as a place of ‘peace and progressive harmony for all mankind.’

Its mission statement declared: ‘Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities.

‘The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.’

She envisaged Auroville as a city for 50,000 people from around the world.

Although the idea came to her as early as the 1930s, it was put before the government of India in the 1960s.

The General Assembly of UNESCO backed it as a project of importance for the future of humanity in 1966 and an inauguration ceremony was held two years later on February 28, 1968.

Some 5,000 people gathered near the banyan tree at the centre of the township, in Tamil Nadu, for the ceremony.

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