If you’re travelling towards Chembur or beyond from Navi Mumbai by the Sion-Panvel Highway, look left as the road curves right into V.N. Purav Marg (also known as the Sion-Trombay Road). You will see this white tower standing tall in the shade of trees against the BARC boundary wall.
This is the Sri Aurobindo Memorial Tower, which I have been seeing every day on my commute to work for the last 19 years. And every day I would look at the Memorial Tower with curiosity and tell myself that I would stop by one day to have a closer look at it. That day finally happened to be yesterday !
A plaque at the site says:
This Memorial Tower was originally constructed in 1978 by Sri Soomatichand Kooverji Shah, Kooverji Devsi and Company Bombay, and unveiled by Shri B.G. Deshmukh, Municipal Commissioner of Greater Bombay, and Chief Guest Shri Murli Deora (Mayor of Bombay)…
Sri Aurobindo’s (1872-1950) famous words “All life is yoga” is inscribed on the front facing side of the tower. Symbols associated with Aurobindo (interlocking triangles with water and lotus in the central square) and the Mother (flower) have been etched on the sides in the upper portions of the Tower. The ground on which the Memorial Tower is built also has the same flower pattern (see photo above).
In spite of the Memorial Tower being on the road, sound of vehicles going past and road construction activity in progress, it was surprisingly quiet and peaceful there. Was it because of the person in whose honour the Memorial Tower has been constructed, I wondered? I must confess here that I don’t know anything about Sri Aurobindo — Indian nationalist, philosopher, spiritual guru, yogi and founder of the philosophy behind Auroville — other than what I learnt in school and what Wikipedia says.
I’ll take this visit as a sign to do some reading on Sri Aurobindo and his work. Today is his 64th death anniversary and I think it’ll be a good idea to begin by finding out more about the people behind the Memorial Tower and also why that particular spot on a very busy road was chosen for it.
Have you seen or visited Sr Aurobindo’s Memorial Tower? Are you familiar with Sri Aurobindo’s works and philosophy? Do tell.
Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more posts from this series here.