Located adjacent to the Matrimandir and central banyan tree at the heart of Auroville, the Amphitheatre has as its focal point a marble-clad urn containing soil placed in it by representatives of the 124 nations and 23 Indian States that participated in the Auroville inauguration ceremony in 1968.
At the time of Auroville’s inauguration ceremony, in 1968, there was no Amphitheatre as yet; a shape had been dug in the ground and, at its focus, a white Urn in the shape of a lotus bud had been placed on top of a small mound which was clad with bricks. The construction of the Amphitheatre started towards the end of 1972 and it took approximately one year; but it was only in the nineties that it was finally clad with red sandstone (‘Agra’ stones from Rajasthan).
The Auroville Charter, handwritten by the Mother, along with handfuls of soil from all over India and the world, are sealed inside the Urn.
The Amphitheatre’s inner diameter is 75 m and its outer diameter is 98 m (including its outer slope). (The area is 4,400m² and 7,500 m² with slopes). It is 2.2m deep and its steps form a family of circles whose centres are evenly spaced along a line which includes the Urn. (This line is thus the Amphitheatre’s symmetrical axis). Rainwater is evacuated by gravity towards the northwest by an underground pipeline.
Today the Amphitheatre is used as a place for the pre-dawn bonfire and silent gathering which draws Aurovilians and friends of Auroville together on Auroville’s birthday (February 28), and a meditation on Sri Aurobindo’s birthday (August 15). Also for occasional other gatherings conducive to the raising of consciousness and “inward” focus, such as listening to recordings of the Mother reading ‘Savitri’.
Cultural performances rarely take place at the Amphitheatre because their nature has to be in harmony with the setting.