1.3 LOCATION AND REGIONAL SETTING
is located 160 km south of Chennai on the east coast of India, just 6
km north of Pondicherry. Initially the site was a barren plateau traversed
by dry canyons and gullied land with hardly any vegetation as depicted
in the photograph. As may be seen in Drawing
1, Auroville Township is located along the East Coast highway
which provides easy accessibility both from Chennai and Pondicherry. The
regional setting of Auroville township indicated in Drawing
2 reveals that although it is part of Villupuram district of Tamil
Nadu, functionally it is closely connected to Pondicherry.
1.3.2 As mentioned earlier, the township boundary is in the form of a circle of 2.5 km radius encompassing 20 sq. km Most of the area lies in Villupuram district and comprises the panchayats of Irumbai and Bommapalayam. Small areas of this land are in Kottakuppam, Rayapudupakkam, Mathur Panchayats and Alankuppam, within the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The land is generally of poor quality for agriculture and the entire area was identified as a backward area.
village settlements of Edayanchavadi, Irumbai, Kottakarai, Rayapudupakkam,
Pettai and Alankuppam fall in the designated area of the township. The
present population of these village settlements is about 8,000 persons.
The village settlements of Kuilapalayam, Acharampattu and Oddampalayam
are just on the periphery of the township and their population is about
city, with a population of about 4 lakh (1991), is the largest urban centre
at a distance of 6 km to its south while Tindivanam, the headquarter of
Tindivanam taluk with a population of over 60,000, is about 25 km to the
north-west. Cuddalore town, further south of Pondicherry, is another important
urban centre with a population of about 1.5 lakh. To the north of Auroville,
at a distance of about 10 km, lies the Kaliveli tank, a unique environmental
resource in the region. To the south is another major water body, the
Ustery tank, an important source for irrigation. There are about 40 villages
within the triangular area bounded by Pondicherry city, Tindivanam town
and Marakkanam with an entirely rural population of about 3 lakh. Thus,
Auroville's development is closely linked with the development of the
surrounding region. The development models evolved in Auroville township,
be it plantation, regeneration of land, water harvesting, building technology,
etc., are benefitting the entire region.