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_We have spent an enjoyable three days at Green Palm Homes and now we are travelling south again to a tiny fishing village along the coast of the Backwaters where a modern day guru has estabilshed an ashram with a huge following.  A few weeks earlier, while we were in Auroville, Carolyn met a woman who asked if we knew "Amma" the hugging Guru.  We had never heard about her and the woman said Amma had changed her life and if we had the opportunity we should go and visit her ashram in Kerala.  We discovered that we were not far from the ashram and a daily boat plys the waters of the region which stops at the Ashram, so we . . .

_ decided to take the boat.  We enjoyed a pleasant and scenic cruise along the water. 
     While meandering along we enjoy views of many tiny villages dotting the water's edge, with locals busily going about their day to day lives.  The many rice paddies and their brilliant green colour provided a beautiful backdrop for our little cruise.  As we approach the ashram the waters open up into a wider section lined with these huge Chinese fishing nets set up along either side of the banks.  We slowly continue and then off in the distance we see these two enormous structures that were painted a pastel pink.  As we get closer we see that these structures were part of the ashram,14 or 15 storey apartment complexes with an impressive bridge connecting the coastal fishing village and ashram to the mainland.  We arrive at Amma's ashram and we discover it is quite the complex.

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We are approaching the Ashram and you can see the apartments towering over the waterway to the right
_Amma is a modern day guru that is called "the hugging Mother" because she blesses all of her devotees, followers and any newcomer that arrives through a hugging embrace.  A blessing in Hindu is called a darshan.  Here is an excerpt from Amma's website describing darshan:    "Amma’s darshan is, as far as we can tell, unique in the history of the world. Darshan means “to see” and traditionally, a Master is seen but not touched. And in India, women do not touch men in public. But Amma’s darshan emerged as a loving mother’s embrace, beginning when She was only a teenager and held and comforted the lonely and suffering in Her village, and extending up to the present day. Amma makes herself available to anyone wishing to receive her blessing. There is never any charge, and no one is turned away. Hour after hour, day after day, year after year — for over thirty years now, She has been embracing all who come to Her. Man or woman, sick or healthy, rich or poor, regardless of religious faith, caste, young or old: even the very elderly, even Her own parents, regard Her as their very own Mother. Amma now travels across India and to over a dozen countries throughout the world. Everywhere She goes, She gives darshan to all who come to Her."
      Through talking to many of her devotees and followers at the ashram during our week visit, Amma is seen as a modern day prophet where God works through her to help all those that seek comfort.  It is quite fascinating and if you want to read more about Amma and what she does click on this link: http://www.amritapuri.org
     We spend seven days at the ashram, exploring the grounds and soon we get into a routine.  We enjoy our time here, meeting many people and receiving Amma's darshan.
John




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