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Lake, Hill, Inner Gardens, Outer Gardens, Desalinated Water

     To understand the roots of the concept of the Matrimandir Lake, the Hill to be constructed with the earth of the MM-lake-bed, and the adjacent park, often referred to as ”Outer Gardens”, we are providing here a few documents:

a) A sketch drawn by the Mother on 25th June 1965 showing the Matrimandir, the entrance-corridor to the Matrimandir, the Matrimandir Lake, the outer gardens, the Hill.
b) A letter of Narad to Roger, dated 17.10.1977, explaining the sketch of the Mother and discussing with Roger the proposed location for the hill.
c) The talk of Mother with Huta, according to her notes after the talk.
d) An excerpt from a report, prepared by Roger’s office, pertaining to Matrimandir from September 1973. Please note that at that time Mother was still there. The note defines parameters and locations of the outer gardens.
e) A letter of Nata to Roger dated 1st September 1965, in which he communicates the results of his studies on the Matrimandir Lake, which the Mother had requested him to carry out. Please note that Nata calculates as area for the MM-lake 100,000 square metres. Please also note that even at that time, long before desalinated water had become a feasible option, Nata already refers to desalinated water as a water-source for the MM-lake.
f) A letter of Nata dated 31st October 1965 to the Mother giving her the results of a hydrological study carried out by him for Her. Please note that he refers to desalinated water as envisaged by Her: “There exists also the possibility, envisaged by you, Mother, to have drinking water through the process of desalination of sea water.”
g) A brief of Roger, dated 11.10.2005, fixing the parameters for the future Matrimandir lake.

    For the time being, we only make these documents available to give additional information for a possible discussion on the issue of the MM-lake.


a) Sketch by the Mother

Mother's sketch


b) A letter of Narad to Roger, dated 17.10.1977

A letter of Narad to Roger, dated 17.10.1977


c) The talk of Mother with Huta, notes

On 25th June 1965 the Mother had a conversation with Huta and was drawing in front of her several drawings of Matrimandir surrounded by the Park of Unity and the Lake.

Herewith the conversation:

Ah!  Now, the Mother Pavilion. This will be a separate island surrounded by a lake, tall trees, gardens with various kinds of flowers. I especially want the creepers of red hibiscus (Power) upon the outer dome of the Mother’s Pavilion. They will look like living jewels against the white marble.

There will be rockeries in Japanese style, varieties of cactus, small waterfalls, small pools with lilies, lotuses, small bridges, various kinds of fountains and marble statues – one of them will be Shiva in deep trance. From his matted hair flows the water like a fountain...

There will be only one entrance. I want precious, semi precious and artificial stones to be paved from the gate to the Mother’s pavilion in gradations, because they are full of meaning.

The Shrine must have a vast area – not like this (Mother took her handkerchief in her palm and closed her hand), so small. Also there must be a silent zone. No vehicles should move in this area, there should be no noise of any kind.

The Park of Unity will be divided into twelve gardens, which will represent the Twelve Attributes of the Supreme Mother and her Four Powers.

In these gardens, I would like to have a variety of flowers – specially the different kinds of hibiscus – the Divine Consciousness.

On the other side, towards the boundary of the gardens, I wish to have a lake, huge trees like palms, pines, various types of ferns,  neem, Indian cork trees, eucalyptus and many other beautiful big trees. They will represent Unity and Aspiration.

When the lake will be dug, all the soil will be collected on one side in order to make it look like a small mountain where there will be fir trees. You see, in future there will be snow.

Beneath each tall tree around the Mother’s Pavilion there would be small carved marble seats. People will meditate in the open and be one with the vastness of Mother Nature – the Mother of the multitude and Her Creation. 


d) An excerpt from a report, prepared by Roger’s office  from September 1973.

Excerpt from a report, prepared by Roger’s office from September 1973.


e) A letter of Nata to Roger dated October 1st 1965.
Translated from the French original.

Letter from Nata to RogerLetter from Nata to Roger

Ashram, October 1st, 1965.

Dear Roger,

This first report is about the problem of the artificial lake.
I have given it first place in the order of things to be done, considering its utility for the execution of your preparatory town plan.
I shall not give you the boring details of the calculations. I limit myself to the essential.
I shall send to you in Paris the graphs and tables which are already drafted.
However, the figures obtained are more useful to the hydrological study than to the study of the urban planning.
As per the information from the National Buildings Organization, the annual rainfall in the Madras area is 1,234.44mm.
The data on evaporation have been obtained with perfectly valid artefacts.
I hope to get from official organizations information which results from direct observation and experimentation, but I think they will not differ much from what I write here below.
According to the figures obtained, each year one must pour into the lake an amount of water sufficient to replace the 951,56 mm that will have evaporated.
So that you may have at once an idea of the practical relevance, you may consider that in a lake of 100,000 m2 surface area one must pour in yearly 95,000 m3 approximately.
Apart from this, for the first filling one cannot rely on rainfall: one must rely exclusively on artificial means; that is, one must pour into the lake water that comes from either deep wells or a desalination system.
In this case, supposing the depth of the lake to be 3 meters (average depth), the water necessary for this first filling would be 300,000 m3.
Converting the yearly amount into an hourly amount, we will need 11 m3/hour to compensate for the losses due to evaporation, while we shall require, for the initial filling, 417 m3/hour during one full month.
If you now think that the cost of desalinated water may be Rs 0.60/m3 (a rate that may be close to reality), you will find that the filling will cost Rs 180,000 and that the maintenance cost per year will be Rs 57,000.
One must be careful not to get confused regarding the following:
The study states that 10 months out of 12 the lake will be emptyunless there is artificial intake – in open contradiction with what anybody may observe on the site of Auroville, where there are numerous small lakes in which water remains visible for at least 6 months without any other intake than the rain.
Our case however is different.
Our lake is situated in the middle of a town, without any possibility of receiving any tributary waterways leading to it and thereby creating a hydrographic basin much larger than the lake itself.
For us the help we will receive from the rains will be limited to the exact liquid surface of the lake.
I remain at your disposal for any necessary clarification; please accept the meanings of my friendship.



f) A letter of Nata to the Mother dated October 31st 1965.
Translated from the French original.

Letter from Nata to the MotherLetter from Nata to the MotherLetter from Nata to the Mother

Ashram, October 31st, 1965


Report on the Hydrological situation of Auroville.

Here is the first report regarding the two projects which have been entrusted to me for Auroville: the hydraulic project and the electric project.

Of the two we have first approached the hydraulic question.

We have given it preference because its solution must be preceded by the solution of the hydrological problem, of which the research data entirely depends on site information, a meticulous study of the characteristics of the existing wells, and also, possibly, of the larger hydrological basin.

All of this will enable us to know in depth the possibility of supplying Auroville with water drawn from deep wells, or to opt for other solutions.

Only then shall we be able to approach the hydraulic study.

There also exists the possibility which you have envisaged, to have drinking water through a process of desalination of sea water. It is a process which is at once very ancient and very modern – due to the impulse given to it in the USA, but which is still at an experimental stage, insofar as a system both viable and economical has yet to be found, even though large industries such as Westinghouse and Fairbanks Morse have already built installations which function fairly well to cite only the most important ones.

The main disadvantage in this process is the very high purchasing cost and the even higher production cost.

To have an idea of these costs, it is enough to think that the cost of installation ranges between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,000/m3 of drinking water, while the cost of production is about Rs 0.70/m3, an exorbitant price if one compares it to the Rs 0.10/m3 of Pondicherry.

This without touching upon other equally difficult and disconcerting problems...

It is for these reasons that “desalination” is only taken into consideration in such cases where the considered area offers no other possibilities (natural sources, underground, rivers, etc.).

In view of all the above, all efforts are for the moment directed at studying the possibility of supply through deep wells.

Hydrological study

At Neyveli: According to information received at Cuddalore, it seems that the hydrological basin supplying the water to the Auroville area is situated near Neyveli.

Relying on support from Montecatini-Ansaldo, an Italian company which is building a complex for the production of urea for use as chemical fertilizer, we have been to Neyveli to seek the necessary information.

There was always the danger of exhausting the aquifers in the basin through excessive pumping required by the large groups of industries located in this very same area of Neyveli.

Fortunately, we were able to observe that this danger does not exist as, on the contrary, the difficulty is to eliminate the excess water. For the exploitation of the underground lignite it is indispensable to eliminate this excess water, a work which must continue night and day without stop lest all the installations become submerged. To this end about 50 high capacity pumps are functioning constantly.

Water rises from the ground at very high pressure. This is the factor most relevant to us.

This factor allows us to think that if the aquifer in the Auroville area is truly originating in Neyveli (to know this with certainty one would have to conduct very serious geological studies), we can then assume that for a fair number of years Auroville will not lack water.

All indications seem to confirm that the aquifers originate in a quite large hydrological basin formed by a pebbly area with a high filtering capacity, of which Neyveli is the nearest point being exploited.

At Cuddalore: From the Assistant Engineer in the Agricultural Department, on which depended the boring of the wells in the Auroville area, we have received rather interesting information.

I do not wish to bore you with the endless details of our conversation, but all the information we were able to collect evokes a real possibility to have water from underground at an average depth of 75 metres, with an average output of 35m3/hour.

There is a well in the Medical College, of 50m depth, which yields 120m3/hour with the help of a compressor (about 200m3 with a pump: this represents a maximum).

Historical data go no further back than 7 years, except for one well which was bored 20 years ago and is continuing with the same yield as in the beginning.

Until now all wells bored during the 7 years of the Department’s existence have continued to yield the same amounts from the beginning, except for some seasonal variations.

I hope, in my next report, to have completed the preliminary study and to present the conclusions, so that you may decide on the choice of either sweet water through desalination or water from deep wells.



g) A brief of Roger, dated 11.10.2005

A brief of Roger, dated 11.10.2005



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