Matrimandir, translating to ‘the dwelling of the Mother’, was designed by French architect Roger Anger on the invitation of Paris-born Mirra Alfassa—known to her followers as Mother—who founded Auroville, 160 km south of Chennai, in 1968, along with Aurobindo Ghosh, founder of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Construction of the temple took 37 years—from 1971 to 2008—to complete.
The temple is in the form of a Geodesic dome—covered by golden discs—and is surrounded by a dozen petals. The structure symbolically represents a cosmic egg. The upper half of the dome houses a meditation chamber, which is dodecagonal in plan and has a conical roof. The chamber is illuminated by a crystal globe at its centre, into which sunlight is directed by a heliostat. Two spiral ramps provide access to the chamber from below.