Seated gracefully on the coastal lines of the Bay of Bengal in the French colony of Pondicherry, Golconde is an artistically carved dormitory for the disciples of the Shri Aurobindo Ashram. Completed in 1942, Golconde is known to be the first modernist building in India owing to its reinforced concrete structure. A unique blend of aesthetics, technology and spirituality, the revolutionary architecture of Golconde is the major attraction of the place. Situated in the French Quarter or popularly known as White Town, Golconde is located within a radius of 5 kms away from the Pondicherry airport, bus station and railway station and in the vicinity of the Shri Aurobindo Ashram, the popular centre of spirituality and meditation.
The idea of Golconde originated from the need of a residence for the disciples of Shri Aurobindo, a reclusive philosopher and spiritual guru. Envisioned by Shri Aurobindo's spiritual collaborator, Mira Alfassa, popularly known as 'The Mother', the foundation stone of Golconde was laid down in 1936 and was constructed by the residents to prevent disturbance to the disciples residing in the Ashram. Designed by Tokyo-based Czech architect Antonin Raymond along with his associates Francois Sammer and George Nakashima, Golconde is an architectural marvel built not only to house disciples but also enhance their spiritual and meditative experience. The smartly designed dormitory not only maintains a rigid construction standard but also takes into account the environmental sensitivity of the region as an essential element to ensure a peaceful and comfortable environment for the residents.
The Golconde is situated in the heritage French Quarter of Pondicherry, commonly known as White Town and in the vicinity of the Shri Aurobindo Ashram. Architects and art lovers visiting Golconde can enjoy a bewitching stroll around the building. Spiritual seekers can enjoy the aura of the peaceful Shri Aurobindo Ashram and indulge in a meditation session there. Golconde is still used as a dormitory for the followers of Shri Aurobindo. However, limited tourists can be allowed to stay and experience the beauty of Golconde at special requests.
The Golconde is open to tourists at all hours every day. However, the best time to visit and reside in the dormitory is in October-November, when the monsoon showers invite a pleasant climate to Pondicherry which intensifies the soothing effect of the Ashram environment.