Read a written narrative description of staying at the ashram

Airplane tickets Cost to stay Taxi from the airport
Trains, planes & taxis Rooms Electricity
Water Money Banking
Clothing Personal items Garbage
Seva Photocopies & pictures Cell phones & internet
Ashram internet room Calling the ashram Food - Common canteen
Food - Western canteen Food - Western cafe Food - Indian canteen
Food - Juice stand Food - Cook it yourself Medical facilities
Ayurvedic pharmacy Amma's gifts Activity center
Beach Swimming pool Clothing store
Ecology center General store Information center
Laundry Library Photocopy shop
Post office Ram's bazaar Singing bhajans
Weekly schedule Daily schedule Description of the ashram
Meditation locations Pujas Going on tour with Amma
Take a train trip Comments / Questions  


If you are planning to stay at Amma’s ashram in Amritapuri, there are a few things to know in planning your trip. When you arrive, you will have the opportunity to take a guided orientation tour. This is highly recommended. The International Office that checks you in will tell you when and where the tour will start.

The ashram is clean, tidy and well run. However, one should not expect a five star hotel. This is an ashram and ashramites are involved in the process of abandoning their likes and dislikes. It is plain, unpretentious, and lacking in luxeries. Those seeking only entertainment and pleasure will most likely be disappointed.

For spiritual seekers, the ashram is a beautiful cosmic palace decorated with ribbons of light and fountains of love shimmering in the droning of eternity. It is the repository of magnificent spiritual gems and treasures. If it is bliss you are looking for, this is the place.

The time schedules for shops posted on this website are subject to change. In fact, they will most all change depending on whether or not Amma is in the ashram or out on tour.


One will most likely want to plan a trip to Amritapuri when Amma is at the ashram and not out on tour. After the end of the fall European / USA tour, Amma is in the ashram from the end of November until somewhere in the beginning of January. Here is the schedule we have so far for 2016. It is never exactly the same but roughly the same year to year. In 2017 Amma didn't start touring until January 24th and she started with the South India tour.

January 5 - 21 Northern Kerala
February 12 - 29 Southern Kerala
March 14 - April 15 Northern India
April 17 - 18 - Kenya
April 20 - 23 - Mauritius
April 29 - May 1 - Singapore

Then she leaves about a month later for Japan and the USA tour. Arriving back in Amirtapuri around the middle of August, she is home until she leaves sometime in October for the European tour and then two cities in the USA which puts her back home sometime in the end of November. The author has not been able to find any tour schedule for the Indian tours posted on the Amritapuri website. It might be well to email them at this web page

or call the ashram directly. Please be mindful of the difference in time zones. The ashram is almost 12 hours later than Central Time in the USA. If it is 6:00 pm at the ashram, it is 6:30 am in the USA CST and the date is the same.

Taking pictures, videos or making audio recordings are prohibited everywhere in the ashram


You can fly into Kochi or Trivandrum. 

There are three main seasons for travel - Peak, Off-Peak and Shoulder (in between). Within these seasons, fares vary and change with dates . If you're flexible about your travel dates, then there are definitely ways of getting the lowest deals. Do remember that while traveling during Peak season and long weekends, you should make reservations well in advance. Seat availability during those times is limited. Some airlines even have a Weekend Supplement i.e. flying on Friday, Saturday and Sunday carries a surcharge while traveling on Monday - Thursday does not.

If traveling to India, sale fares are generally offered between April 1 - May 30 and September 1 - October 31. Higher fares are offered between June 14 - July 14 and December 12 - 24.

 Important Season Dates for Travelling to India

Off-Peak season

Shoulder season

Peak season

Jan 20 - May 15

August 1- 30

June 1 - July 30

Sep 1 - Oct 30

Nov 15 - Dec 10

Dec 10 - 24


Dec 26 - Jan 24


On Qatar Airlines and Etihad Airlines you are allowed one checked bag with a limit of 50 pounds, plus one carry-on bag for the overhead bin and a bag, backpack or purse that will fit under the seat in front of you.  An additional checked bag is $100 US.  Check with your airline for baggage limitations. If you book through American, you will only be on American until you get to a city that is accessed by Qatar or Etihad such as Chicago or Dallas. Your American booking will include the flights on the other airlines. If you are starting in a city that is accessed by these airlines, you can book directly with Qatar or Etihad or you can book your own separate connecting flight to a city that has Qatar or Etihad. The author has flown on both of these and the flight and service are excellent. You will fly across the Atlantic to Abu Dhabi (Etihad) or Doha (Qatar) and then to Trivandrum. The long flight is about 15 or 16 hours non-stop then 4.5 hours to Trivandrum.

You can purchase a TSA approved lock for your suitcase online or at local stores.  The TSA has a way of opening these to inspect your baggage contents.

If you are over 40 consider wearing compression socks to prevent blood clots.  These cost only a few dollars at a local store or buy them online.  One of your flights will be quite long.  It can also be cold on the airplane.  The author wore a t-shirt with a sweatshirt over that and still had to use a blanket during the longest flight of 15 hours from Dallas Ft. Worth to Abu Dhabi.  Move your feet around at the ankles every 30 minutes or so to encourage blood circulation.

Important for trip home: When you depart for your trip home, be sure to print out a copy of your boarding pass or your Priceline document. You can do this in the ashram computer room - Amrita Internet - for 10 rupees for a single black and white page. If you don't have this printout when you arrive at the airport, you will be asked to stand outside the airport until they can get a manifest (passenger list) printed and brought to them so they can see that your name is on the list. You could be stuck out there for some time.



The ashram charges 250 rupees per day for a room and all the food you can eat at the “inmates” canteen.  They use the word “inmates” to describe full time residents that live in the ashram.  The exchange rate at the time of this writing is 65 rupees to 1 US dollar.  This means it costs $3.85 per day for room and food or a little over $115 per month.   

There is some austerity involved.  You will usually have a roommate or two unless you are a couple.  Most people are coming and going on a frequent basis maybe staying a few days or a few weeks.  If the ashram is not too crowded, you can pay more and have a room all to yourself.  This will double the cost. At the time of this writing, there are some single air conditioned rooms available for 1700 rupees ($26 US) per day. There are very few air conditioned rooms.



The ashram will arrange for a taxi to pick you up from either the Trivandrum or Kochi airport.  You will need to prearrange this at  They will respond with a confirmation number.  A day or so before you leave, email the ashram again, reference your confirmation number (as well as your name) and tell them everything is on track and you expect to arrive as planned.

As you walk out the front door of the airport, you will see a group of drivers holding up pieces of paper with names.  One of them will be yours.  The cost of the taxi is approximately $40 US one way or about 2600 rupees as of this writing.  You will pay this to the ashram.  The drivers are private contractors and you can tip them 300 rupees (or more) if you like ($4.80 US).  The drive is about 3 hours from the Trivandrum airport and about 4 hours from the Kochi airport.  The roads are winding two lane roads all the way.  The ashram knows that when you arrive you will not have that many rupees and they give you time to go to the ashram bank and exchange some dollars for rupees.

When you arrive, go to the International Office to check in.  This is on the right side of the courtyard as you face the Kali Temple (this temple has a big statue of Krishna in a chariot being pulled by four horses located on top of the roof of the entry stairs).

Front of the Kali Temple - you will arrive from the bottom of the picture

Kali temple

To book a taxi from the ashram to a nearby location or the airport for your return trip home, go to the Car Pool. Walk past the Western Cafe and as you emerge from the overhead covering into open sky, you will see a building on your immediate left. The Car Pool is in the door entrance to that building that is closest to you. It is in the corner of the building.  

Important for trip home: When you depart for your trip home, be sure to print out a copy of your boarding pass or the booking confirmation sheet. You can do this in the ashram computer room - Amrita Internet - for 10 rupees for a single black and white page. If you don't have this printout when you arrive at the airport, you will be asked to stand outside the airport until they can get a manifest (passenger list) printed and brought to them so they can see that your name is on the list. You could be stuck out there for some time.



Walking across the bridge from the ashram to the Vallikavu side of the backwaters, turn right in the first street and go about 100 feet (30 meters).  There is a travel agency that can book trains, airplanes and tours outside the ashram.  Bring a photocopy of your passport and visa.

The nearest train stations are in Karunagappally (south from the ashram) and Ochira (north from the ashram). One can hire an autorickshaw from the ashram to either of these stations. By searching for Vallikavu, Kerala on Google Maps, one can see the rail line runing north and south just inland from the ashram. There are small blue markers along the line and clicking on them gives information about that railway station including train schedules. Also, go to for schedules, explanations and tutorials. Here is another useful site to understand India's train system and how to do it.

The simplest thing to do is to walk across the bridge across the backwaters, and there is a travel agent on the left. Have him book your train tickets. If your journey is not overnight, tell him you want an air conditioned chair car. Second best option is a two-tiered air conditioned sleeper car. There are also regular trains and express trains. Ask if there are any express trains to your destination.

It is about a 30 - 40 minute auto rickshaw ride from the ashram to one of these close train stations. Walk across the bridge from the ashram to the mainland and turn right. About 300 feet (35 meters) the road turns left and there will be a row of auto rickshaws. Go to the one in the front of the line. He's up next.

The first time the author and a friend tried this we went to the Karunagappally station to book tickets to Kollum. The auto rickshaw was 200 rupies one way which is about $3 US (total for both of us).

The train tickets were 30 rupies each to Kollum or about 50 cents each US. And Kollum is much farther than the auto rickshaw ride. Our train pulled up and all the cars said "Sleeper" on them which means they have berths and cost extra for the ticket. We looked up and down frantically and couldn't figure out where to board. If you are not fast about getting on, it is going to leave you and that is what happened.

A nice Indian fellow, seeing our plight, explained that the two cars behind the engine and the two cars at the back were for standard passengers. At the ashram, a friend who is from India explained that we could ask the ticket agent at the station which cars we can get on. The cars are all numbered. Then she explained that if we look closely, somewhere on or about the platform are numbers like 1 through 15. When the train stops, the cars of those numbrs will be lined up with the signs. So one first locates the positions of the cars for which a standard ticket is allowed then one knows where to board when the train stops.

Trains are remarkably inexpensive to ride and reasonably comfortable. By paying extra, you can even have an airconditioned cab. Train schedules are posted in the ashram Phone Shop and by the elevators in most residence buildings.

Go here to read about a trip to Cochin (Kochi) by train.

Go here to read about a trip to Kanya Kumari by train.

A round trip taxi from the ashram to Kollum, the nearest good size city, will be about 800 rupies or about $13 US. The driver will take you there, take you to multiple locations, hang out in town with you, and then bring you back. When you book the taxi, make sure he is with you on the program and understands what you expect him to do. Then agree on the price - before you start.

To book a taxi from the ashram to a nearby location or the airport, go to the Car Pool. Walk past the Western Cafe and as you emerge from the overhead covering you will see a building on your immediate left. The Car Pool is in the door entrance to that building that is closest to you. It is in the corner of the building.  



Each room has a bathroom with a shower.  There is no hot water but none is needed in the tropics.  We are 5 degrees from the equator.  There is a cabinet space with a sink that could be thought of as a kitchen but there is nothing else – no refrigerator or microwave.  A variable speed ceiling fan keeps things cooled off. 

Total space of the room the author is in is 18’ x 18’ (5.5 x 5.5 meters) or 324 square feet (30 square meters).  There are two twin beds with a very firm foam type mattress maybe 3 inches thick.  Room furniture will vary because they are owned by individuals who have furnished them and so no two rooms will be alike.  In the room the author occupies at this writing there is a standalone cabinet with shelves where one can arrange personal items.  Also there is a rack of stand-alone shelves.  There is one plastic chair.  The floor is tiled.  The room is painted and well kept – very nice.

When you arrive, you are given sheets and a pillow case for the pillow that is already in the room.  A deposit is put on these which is returned when the bed clothes are checked back in.  Towels are not provided.  You can bring your own or purchase one at the ashram for about $1.50 US.  These towels are thin – not fluffy like you are used to.  They are about the thickness of a sheet.  They don’t get you entirely dry but you will not be dripping wet.  Then you will dry off in the air in a very short time – maybe 2 or 3 minutes.

Cell phone coverage and internet over the cell network coverage is excellent everywhere in the ashram therefore no rooms are any better than any others for coverage. This is due to the fact that cell phone antennae are mounted directly on the southwest corner roof of the Amritanjali residence building. They are not on a tower mounted to the building but only a few feet (1 meter) off the surface of the roof. The building itself is about 15 stories so the antennae are elevated for good coverage.

This building abutts the entry courtyard and specifically this southwest corner abutts to the courtyard. If you are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation (radio and microwaves) you will want to ask them to put you as far away from these antennae as possible. There are rooms directly below these antennae which would put the residents only 8 or 10 feet (2.5 to 3 meters) from the source of radiation. Water becomes resonant with microwave radiation from 800 megahertz up. This includes cell phone microwaves and the power output from these antennae is signficant. Thus the human body is physically affected by this radiation. Fortunately, the power falls off by the square as you distance yourself from the antennae.

If you are not aware of the health risks from cell phones and towers, here are two excellent documentaries you can watch for free on YouTube. Copy and paste the URL addresses into your browser.


MOBILIZE - a documentary on the dangers of cell phone usage by children and adults 2014



Standard power in India is 220 volts whereas in the USA it is 110 volts.  Most laptop and cell phone power supplies will accommodate both voltages.  Look to be certain.  If you want to bring a hair dryer, you can either buy one that runs on 220 volts or buy a stepdown transformer that will convert 220 to 110.  These are also available online.  For a hair dryer, the stepdown transformer output wattage needs to be substantial.  You will need to look at the hair dryer and determine how many watts it uses. Then buy a stepdown transformer accordingly.  The same consideration applies to any electric device you want to bring including immersion heaters for making tea.

There is one power outlet in the room which is by the door and about 5 feet (1.5 meters) off the floor.  They sell adaptors in the ashram store to convert from Indian to US plugs.  If you are bringing a laptop, it is advised that you bring a surge protector with an Indian plug and universal jacks which will accept US plugs.

The Indian plug that is needed is a type D – a three prong plug in a triangular configuration and with round insertion posts.  The output sockets will normally be universal which accept all other types of plugs including those from the USA.  A surge protector is advised because of the frequent spikes in the voltage.  Momentary power outages are frequent – maybe one or two a day.  The power does not normally stay off more than a few seconds.  When it comes back up there can be a power surge.

You will definately want an extension cord with three prongs (two power and and ground). Some of the adapters won't accept a USA plug with one wider power prong. The three prong extension cord will plug into the adapter allowing any USA devices. Also consider a power strip to plug into the extension cord to expand the number of devices you can power.  For example, if you have a laptop and a cell phone, that will require two outlets. If your spouse comes with you and has the same, then that is four outlets. If you want to use an immersion water heating coil to make tea, then another outlet may be needed.

If you are bringing a laptop and you don’t want to use it on battery power (you want it plugged in while using it) then bring an extension cord of 10 or 12 feet (3 meters).  It does not have to be heavy gauge.  If your laptop power supply has a three prong plug, then be sure to get an extension cord with three prong sockets.

The surge protector shown below is a Yubi Power TMA325AU and it is available on Amazon at the time of this writing.  It provides surge protection and has a type D plug which fits the outlet in the room. A two prong outlet is provided on the top and the outlet on the face will accept either a two prong or a three prong plug. The author has gone several months at the ashram with a laptop and cell phone and no surge protector with no problem and has never heard of anyone blowing out a power supply but proceed with this at your own risk.

Surge protector



There are several areas on the ashram grounds that provide good filtered water.  One should not drink the tap water.  One area for drinking water is to the left as you are entering the ashram courtyard from the street.  There is another in the dining area of the Indian Canteen.  This one looks like a large water dispensing machine such as you might see in an office but with no bottle on top.  It has three spigots. Yet another row of sinks and faucets with drinking water is on the outside of the main hall on the left side.  

On the wall just behind this machine and about 5 feet (1.5 meters) off the ground is a square box marked “Hot Water.”  It is an on demand water heater.  There is a green button on the face of the box that you press and hold.  As long as you hold the button, hot water will come out of a small quarter inch silver pipe that protrudes from the bottom of the box.  This water is not steaming hot. It is more like "almost hot" but good enough for a cup of tea.  You can bring a thermos from home or buy a nice stainless steel thermos from the ashram general store for about $16 US.

Managing your water can be problematic causing one to make frequent trips to these watering holes.  The ashram general store sells plastic drinking bottles that are inexpensive.  If you are on the fifteenth floor it is a trek to go get water.  One solution is to bring a collapsible 5 gallon water container that has a spigot for dispensing water from the kitchen counter top. The author buys several 1 liter plastic bottles of water from the general store and then refills these.

Some people like to bring an immersion heater for heating a cup of water.  Black tea and sugar are available from the general store. Jaggery (palm sugar) is available at the Eco Center.



None of the shops at the ashram take credit cards.  It’s cash only.  In fact, the author has not found any stores in Vallikavu that take any credit cards.  There are probably such stores in Kollum which is the nearest large town but this is only speculation as the author has not been there. Nicer hotels and restaurants outside the ashram will take credit cards.

When you land at the airport, go to one of the booths and convert $100 US to rupees before you go outside to find your taxi.  At the current exchange rate this is about 6500 rupees. You want to do this because you may not be able to convert currency at the ashram bank right away.  Bring a debit card to get money from the ashram ATM machine.  The author has compared the ATM machine debit card rate of exchange with the bank and it is almost exactly the same only differing a few cents. A debit card will cost you less than using a credit card.  It is also much easier to get money from the ATM than exchanging through the bank.  If you are squeamish about using your debit card, then consider opening a second account at your USA bank, like a savings account, and only keep a utilitarian amount of money in it.  That way, if your debit card is compromised, the thieves will not have access to your main account.

To get money from a credit card in the ashram bank, you have to wait in line, fill out a form and surrender a photocopy of your passport and visa.  To convert dollars to rupees at the bank it is the same routine but with a different form. 

Use a money belt that you wear inside your pants to travel with cash from the USA to India.  If you are sharing a room with people you don’t know, keep your cash on your person in your money belt.  One can also consider devices that will hide your cash such as a shaving cream can that has a screw off bottom.  An unsuspecting observer thinks it is only Barbasol.  You can see a range of these hiding devices on Amazon.



There is an ashram bank and ATM  machine by the bank.  The bank hours are 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and they are open two Saturday’s out of each month.  Getting currency exchanged is from 10 am to 2 pm.

Bear in mind that the ashram bank will not convert rupees back into dollars.

Every time you go in the bank to get money on a credit card or to exchange US dollars or Euros into rupees, you will have to surrender a photocopy of your passport and visa.  You don’t get it back.  So bring lots of copies.  When you arrived at the ashram you checked your passport in for safekeeping in the office.  To make copies at the ashram you must go check it back out at the International Office and, when the copies are made, take it back to the International Office and check it back in.  There is a check-out list and a check-in list on clipboards at the office counter so you can sign and date the movement of your passport.  You can make copies of your passport and visa at the ashram photocopy shop (the sign says Xerox Shop) located on the left side of the Kali Temple. It is accessed from the outside.

Bank hours:  Office hours 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Hours for changing money 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.



You will not need any warm clothing whatsoever even in December and January. Your primary focus will be on how to stay cool. This is the tropics. At night you will be sleeping with a sheet at the most and often with nothing and with the ceiling fan running.

The ashram requires modest dress.  No shorts worn by anyone and no see-through skirts.  Everyone wears sandals or flip flops and no one wears socks.  Shoes must be removed when entering many areas including one's room. Shoes are left out in the hallway. Bring footwear that slips on and off easily.

Nice light and white cotton pants and Indian style shirts can be purchased at the ashram very cheaply.  The problem with the pants is there is only a single front pocket.  This was not acceptable for the author and so he continues to wear blue jeans each day.  No one else can be seen wearing blue jeans but many are wearing pants that look like Dockers. 

Some people are wearing all white but most westerners do not do this.  The local Indian people don’t do this because wearing all white is the dress for brahmacharya folks who have taken a vow of celibacy.  The author has yet to wear anything at all that is white.



A Norelco electric razor costs about $30 and will run on 110 vac or 220 vac (be sure to read the label to know for sure it will run on both voltages).  India is 220 vac.  Consider bringing items like Advil or Tylenol and any vitamin supplements you may be using.  If you are partial to Dr. Bronner’s soap or similar items, bring those. A small pair of scissors is useful for opening bags of items you purchase.

Pack liquids in baggies to protect in case the lids pop open on the airplane.  Eco-friendly soap that is organic and made right here at the ashram can be purchased in the ashram general store and the Ecology Center.  If you have tea you are especially fond of, take them out of the box and put them in a baggie to conserve space.

Every chair in the ashram is a typical cheap plastic stacking type chair that you can purchase at Walmart for $6.47.  They are uncomfortable on the buttocks for extended sitting.  If you have hours of work to do every day on your laptop or like to sit in a chair to do your spiritual practices, it would be a plus to bring a chair seat cushion that can be purchased cheaply in the USA.  There are no such cushions available for sale at the ashram.  There are some small foam cushions that are better than nothing but the area of them is too small to be wholly effective.  They are made as a cushion to use while meditating on the floor. Sitting on the bed is also not practical because the mattress is very hard and will solicite pain after some time.

It is noisy everywhere in India. Because all of the rooms and buildings are open to the outside, all the noise will come through. Everything is open because this is the tropics. This can be a problem if you are a light sleeper. To remedy this bring earplugs. The foam bullet shaped ear plugs that you mash down and push into your ear canal where they expand and seal off the noise work well. There are also active noise cancelling earplugs like QuietOn by Indiegogo. The author has no experience with these. There are nearby temples that from time to time blair music and chanting over banks of loudspeakers which can be heard a mile away. It can become annoying if one does not excercise renunciation and abandonment of aversions. The annoyance is all in the mind. The author heard a story about a westerner who snuck over to a temple one night and clipped the audio cables to the speakers. He was detected and caught and had to buy new cables for the temple. They really are unbelievably loud and they start up at 4 am. The author is naturally a sound sleeper and was never bothered at night with noise.

In the garbage area are many cans for recyling and one of them is for feminine sanitary items. Bring a few ziplock baggies to collect these until you can take them to the recycling area. Nothing but small amounts of toilet paper should go in the toilet as it can clog the pipes.



Trash cans are to be found behind the coconut stand and across from the Indian canteen.  There are multiple categorized trash cans with lids.  They are labeled for sorting your trash.  One is for metal items, one for hard plastic, one for paper and so on.


SEVA (helping out with the work)

It is not a demand but a politely firm suggestion by the ashram that you sign up for seva.  They clearly state you don't have to sign up for seva if you don't want to but your guilty consciounce may subtract from the otherwise unbridled happiness of your stay. The ashram depends on guests and residents to keep everything ship shape. You will be assigned a daily task that will take one to two hours.  If you cannot do seva or choose not to do seva, no one will come looking for you.



Every time you go to the ashram bank to convert dollars to rupees or get cash on your credit card, you will need to give them (and leave it with them) a copy of your passport and visa.  You can print up some of these copies before you leave the USA or you can go to the ashram copy shop and make them for 8 rupees per copy.  To do the latter is a bit of a hassle because you have to go to the International Office and check out your passport, then go to the copy shop, and then check your passport back in.

If you want to get a SIM card for your existing cell phone (provided it is unlocked) or get a cheap $20 US phone that is sold by the ashram, you will need a passport size photo.  If you want to get an internet dongle for your laptop so you can be online, you will need yet another photo for that.  If you open an account at the bank – that is yet another photo.  You can have them made at Walgreens before you come at a cost of $12 for two pictures or you can walk into town (Vallikavu), a 10 minute walk (or pay an auto-rickshaw to drive you) and have 4 photos made for 100 rupees ($1.60 US).



To call the USA using your India cell phone, first dial 001. Then dial the normal USA ten digit number. It would be the same calling other countries but substitute that country's prefix for the 1. To call an Indian phone or cell phone from the USA, dial 0091 then the ten digit number.

As you face the front of the Kali Temple, go to your right.

If the cell phone that you own in the USA is unlocked, you can purchase a SIM card for it at the ashram Phone Shop for about $12 US.  They can also replenish the time as needed.  The ashram sells a very inexpensive cell phone for $20 US but it is difficult to use.  If your current phone is locked and you want to keep the smart phone features like internet and email, you can buy an unlocked Android smart phone on Amazon for $50 or at Best Buy and up and bring it with you.  Pay attention to the selections so you are sure it is an unlocked phone.

The ashram can also provide you with an internet dongle that allows you to have internet over the cell phone network.  It plugs into a USB port on your laptop.  There is no WiFi hotspot available anywhere at the ashram but there are internet cafes in the nearby town of Vallikavu and they will charge you to access their WiFi.

To purchase a SIM card or internet dongle, you will need to bring a copy of your passport and visa and a small passport size picture. You will need a set of these for each item you purchase. For example, if you buy a SIM card for your cell phone and an internet dongle, you will need two copies of your passport and visa and two pictures. You can have pictures made by making a 10 minute walk into Vallikavu (or hire an auto-richshaw). There are several "studios" as they call them and the cost is about 100 rupees ($1.60 US) for four pictures. You will have your picture taken then come back in about 30 minutes to pick them up.

Once you submit your application(s) at the ashram Phone Shop, they will tell you when to come back and pick them up. It is about two days.

Upstairs in the Kali Temple, there is an internet room.  Also in the Phone Shop there are two phones available that can make calls to anywhere in the world.  To call the USA it is 12 rupees per minute.

If you get an internet dongle for your laptop, and your cell phone can access WiFi, then you can use your cell phone over your laptop WiFi link.  If your phone can also make calls over WiFi like a Wireless Republic phone, you can even use it to call home for free.  However, please note the Wireless Republic phones are locked and will not be able to use a SIM card for India.  You can also use Skype to call home for free. 

The author is using an internet dongle and it is working reliably and with good speed.  It is even capable of streaming video but, no doubt, there may be periods where the speed slows making streaming unreliable.   The author has tried streaming only a few times and it has worked well each time.

The phone shop has a person to help you get things online and running.  Be prepared to stand in line for this shop.  Sometimes the line is not too bad depending on only the Divine Mother knows what.

Phone shop hours:

9:15 am to 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm to 4:15 pm - 4:30 pm to 6:15 pm

8:45 pm to 10:00 pm



An internet access room with several computers is available so you can go online to check emails and other business.  This room is located on the balcony of the Kali Temple and on the left side as you face into the temple.  As you enter the temple

Time is limited to 30 minutes unless no one is waiting in line for access.  There is often a line which necessitates a wait and the connections can be slow.  The hours are 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm except Monday and Friday which are 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Then 8:45 pm to 10:30 pm.



You can call the ashram from another country by dialing 0091-476-289-6278 extension 158 or 159. This number is posted in the ashram Phone Shop.

The following numbers are copied from the Amritapuri website contact page:

Phone. Phone number+91-476-289-7578 , Phone number+91-476-289-6399

Be mindful of the time zones.  From the central time zone in the USA, in the winter, it is 30 minutes shy of being a 12 hour difference.



There are four restaurants in the ashram.  We use the word restaurant loosely as there are no waiters or cloth napkins standing beside the crystal water glasses.  Let’s put it this way, there are four ways to get food and actually five if you count the Juice Stall.


As you face the entrance to the Main Hall, the inmate’s dining is on the far left side.  It is this eating area that is included in the cost of your room. If you eat at the inmate’s restaurant a.k.a. common canteen, you will first go by a big wooden box that has many stainless steel platters laying in a random fashion.  Ashram fulltime residents are referred to as inmates.  In addition to the serving tables with pots of food, there are tables and chairs for eating. 

The platters all have a lip so soupy liquids can’t easily run off the edge.  If you don’t want to eat with your hands bring a spoon.  They also sell spoons in the ashram store (called Resident’s Canteen or Indian Store or General Store).  All of the locals and many of the inmates eat with their fingers which is the custom here.  The author carries his own personal spoon in his pocket at all times.  Bring a spoon if you like or buy one at the ashram general store for a few rupees.

You pick up your stainless steel platter from the box and go by a table where the food is being dished up.  There is always rice (maybe some other kinds of grains occasionally but the author has yet to see anything but rice).  Sometimes the rice is fluffy and sometime it is boiled rice which has a lot of water in it.  So far it has always been white rice. 

Sometimes there are chapattis, idle or dosas in addition to the rice.  There are usually two soupy dishes to go with it.  They are very tasty – in fact most excellent!  And the hot spice level is a 3 or a 4 – this food is always spicy.  The author keeps a round of toilet paper in his pocket because it is spicy enough to make his nose run every time.  This is served from 9 am to 10 am (breakfast), from 1 pm to 2 pm (lunch) and from 8 pm to 9 pm dinner.  The latter occurs after the singing of bhajans which is from 6:30 to 8. 

When you are finished eating, you take your stainless platter to a station just outside the big hall (where the food is served) and there are 15 or 20 sinks with water faucets which you use to clean your platter.  Then you return your platter to the big box where you got it and someone else will come along, pick it up, and eat from it.  If all this sounds too unsanitary you can do one of two things.  Pick up a platter and go wash it yourself a second time just to make darn sure it is clean or buy your own platter in the ashram general store and use it only for yourself.  The latter option is problematic because now you have to go to your room after you eat to put it away.  You may be on the fifteenth floor.  If you have a big Amma shoulder bag, you can slip the plate in there.  They sell these bags at the general store.  This is the food that is included in the cost of the room.



This is so named because the food is western in flavor.  All food is vegetarian and it is never spicy.  For this you purchase a card for 1,000 rupees or a little over $15 US.  Or, you can pay cash but that is more cumbersome than the card which is purchased right there at the Western Canteen. 

Location is in the big hall. At the back of the hall facing the stage, the location is to the right and almost to the stage. It is across the walkway from the Western Cafe.

The card has little boxes for various denominations such as 1 rupee, 2 rupees 5 rupees and so on.  You select what you want from various prepared dishes and as you check out, a person puts a mark through the necessary boxes to total your expense.  This food is quite inexpensive.  You may spend 50 cents or a dollar on a meal.  Lunch begins at 12:30 (1:00 pm when Amma is on tour).  The food is so good that by 1:15 (1:45) all the good stuff is gone. 

At each meal, a big sign is posted at the entrance resting on an easle which describes each of the dishes being served. Ingredients are listed for each dish. This is the only eating area that posts this information. After you collect your food and pay for it, there is a table just beyond the payment tables which has a large pot full of rice. There is no cost for this.

Here are the hours (hours will change slightly when Amma is on tour):

Breakfast         7:30 – 9:00
Lunch              12:30 – 2:00
Dinner             8:00 – 9:00



To find this, walk from the back of the Main Hall down a walkway on the right of the Main Hall (as you face the stage) - this walkway is outside the Main Hall. You will come to the Western Cafe on the right and it is very obvious. There is not storefront wall as it is open to the outside like everything else here. The money card that is purchased in the Western Canteen can also be used here.

The Western Cafe has a counter that one walks by to place an order. There is a walkway to the right of this counter that goes under a trellis and empties out into a delightful garden area with paving stone, tables and chairs. Going further on to the end of this area, take a left and one will see a long line of sinks with brushes and soap bottles for washing dishes. On past this are 5 more tables and chairs with covered awnings. The western café is more like a café in that it is almost always open when Amma is home. When she is gone the hours are more limited.  Here are the hours when Amma is home:

7:30 – 9:00 Monday, Tuesday and Friday

On darshan days (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday)
7:30 – 11:00 full breakfast menu
11:00 – 12:30 cakes, cookies and drinks
12:30 – 3:00 full lunch menu
3:00 – 6:00 cakes, cookies and drinks
6:00 – 9:00 pm  full diner menu

On non-darshan days the schedule varies slightly closing at 5:30 pm and opening again after evening bhajans at 8:00 pm. When Amma is out on tour, the times that the Western Café is open are more limited.  It is not open from 3pm to 6pm.

Menu samples – there are many more items than shown here (30 rupees is about 45 cents and 60 rupees is about 90 cents):  Chai – small 15 rupees, large 30 rupees.  Black tea – 10.  Coffee – 15 and 30.  Cappucino – 30 and 60.  Americano – 25 and 50.  Lemonade – 15 and 30.

Burgers and sandwiches:  Veggie burger with homemade tomato sauce, onions and homemade bun 40 rupees.  Veggie cheese burger – 60.  Deluxe veggie burger with cheese, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo and mustard – 80.  Grilled cheese, omelet sandwich, toast in many varieties.

Pizza:  Cheese – 100 rupees. Vegetarian, vegan, vegan gourmet, pesto and paneer. 

Omelets – many variations. 

Pasta:  with homemade tomato sauce – 60.  Tomato sauce, cheese and tofu – 90.  Pesto – 90.  Chinese veggie noodles – 60.

Sides:  French fries – 30 and 60.  Steamed beets and carrots – 25.  Salad with tomato, carrots, cucumber and homemade dressing – 30.  Deluxe salad with tomato, cucumber, grated carrot, couda cheese, capsicum and Italian olives – 90.  Sprout salad with sprouted mung beans, grated carrot, capsicum, gouda cheese and olives – 90.  Kitcheri – 30.

Breakfast:  Pancake – 30.  French toast, grilled cheese, omelet sandwich with one egg, homemade tomato sauce, onions on toasted buttered bread.  Hash brown patties, granola and muesli, yogurt made fresh daily, cornflakes, oatmeal and ragi porridge (ground black millet).

Plus cakes and cookies.



This is yet another “restaurant” which serves wonderful Indian food.  A lot of it is fried which is not suitable for those trying to limit fat intake. Indian cooking tends to use a lot of oil.

Hours are 6:00 am to 10:00
3:00 – 9:00 pm or when bhajans are over
They also have various deserts and cold drinks



This is located in a building to the left of the Indian Canteen and the counter where one orders is open to the outside. You walk up to a window to order and pay. Next to the juice stand, to the right, is a coconut stand that makes a hole in coconuts so you can drink the juice with a straw.

Darshan days – Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday
9:30 am to 10:30 pm

Monday and Friday
9:30 am to 1:00 pm
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
8:00 pm to 9:30 pm

3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
8:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Juicing of fruits such as mango, pineapple, apple, pomegranate orange and much more.  25 to 60 rupees

Milk shakes – many fruit flavors
30 to 40 rupees

Ice cream         25 to 30 rupees

One can also buy fruit such as apples, oranges, bananas, melons, pomegranates and grapes. Fresh fruits and vegetables can also be purchased just across the bridge (crossing over the back waters).



Some like to cook in their flat (apartment). There is a kitchen countertop and a sink. A small propane single burner stove can be purchased in the General Store as well as 1 pound propane bottles about 10 inches in diameter. The burner connects directly to the top of the bottle. The stove will be about $30 US which you can take home with you but most will donate it to Ram's Bazaar because of their luggage space and weight limitations. Therefore, this option is really only practical if you plan to stay awhile. Sometimes you can pick up a stove if you check Ram's Bazaar. Also look for pots - otherwise purchase them in the General Store. Bring a steamer basket from home if you like to steam vegetables in that way.

The Ecology Center has a wonderful offering of organic foods including packaged beans, grains, dal, flour, coffee, jaggary (sweetner), many spices, oil and much more. Buy a bag of ground organic coffee for 125 rupees (about $2 US), get hot drinking water from the on-demand hot water machine, buy a strainer from the General Store for 5 rupees and you can brew up a cup of coffee in your flat.

Walking out the front gate of the ashram turn left on the road and walk for about 5 minutes. There will be a small neighborhood store that has a good selection of fresh produce. Here you can by two or three pounds of produce for about 30 cents US. More purchasing options can be found in the town of Vallikavu which is a 10 minute walk or you can walk across the backwater bridge and take an auto-richshaw into town for a few rupees.



There are three facilities.


The allopathic clinic and hospital is named Amrita Kripa and is open to receive patients from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. It is not open on Sundays, Tuesdays or holidays. There is an emergency bell you can ring if so warranted. To find the clinic, walk from the back of the main hall on the right hand side and outside of the hall. You will pass the Western Cafe on your right. Just past the cafe, you will be outside. Continue straight ahead and then veer to the left. In another 50 feet (15 meters) or so you will see a sign for the clinic and an arrow pointing to the left. It is right there.


There are two ayurvedic clinics. To the right of the International Office all the way to the end is an ayurvedic pharmacy with windows that open to the courtyard. Often the docter is here but not always. Start here at the pharmacy and enquire about seeing an ayurvedic doctor. The ayurvedic clinic is across the paving stone courtyard. There are three big concrete tree planters in the courtyard. Standing on the side of the tree planter that is closest to the International Office and on the side that is away from the Kali Temple, draw an imaginary line from this planter down the same sides of the other two planters and this line will point to an "L" in some buildings across the courtyard. Go to the crook of the "L" and turn left (the buildings that make the "L" have space between them). Go about 10 feet (2.5 meters) down the access hallway and there is a sign on the right with an arrow pointing right that says Ayurvedic Clinic. The clinic is just inside that hallway. Go here for shorter one time treatments and visits.

The second ayurvedic clinic is named Amrita Sagar. The sign on the building says Ayurvedic Research Lab. To get there, walk down the walkway that is at the ashram end of the Western Cafe. This walkway is perpendicular to the side of the Main Hall. You will jog right a few feet then continue straight ahead until you come to a gate. Going through the gate you are outside the ashram and crossing a paved road. Crossing the road you will see a large pink multi-story building that is Amrita Sagar. This is where you go for longer treatment programs to address systemic issues and for detoxification. Be there at 9:00 am on Monday morning to make an appointment for some time during the following week.

In this building products such as orgaic herbs, oils, tinctures, supplements, crystals, books and more are sold. The hours for this are 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. On Tuesdays they are open in the afternoon only.



Purchase remedies for most everything over-the-counter or fill a perscription given by one of the ayurvedic doctors. The pharmacy is located to the far right of the International Office and has windows facing out into the main courtyard. The hours are 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. On Tuesdays it is closed during the morning hours.



A gift store is located on the balcony of the Kali Temple – on the right hand side as you face into the temple.  The hours are 10:30 am to 12:30 am, 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm except Monday and Friday which is 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm.



Here you can sign up for a number of activities offered at the ashram. The hours are Wednesday through Monday 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.  Tuesdays are 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  There is a big bulletin board posting this information at the back of the Main Hall and on the right hand side. Also there are postings in the staircase leading from the main floor of the Kali Temple to the balcony and also in the lobbies of the residence buildings. The board in the Main Hall appears to be the most complete. To follow is a list of activities that were posted on the bulletin board at the time of this writing.

Brush with the Divine – art therapy workshop
Myofascial stretching
Laughter therapy
Mantra singing
Body Learning – based on orthbionomy, Feldenkrais and other methods
Sing from your heart
Laughter yoga
Dance classes for women
Dream analysis
Spiritual astrology
Winter retreats lasting several days each:
Silent meditation and yoga
Yoga sadhana (experienced)
Shiva Shakti therapy
Yoga sadhana (foundation)
Yoga sadhana (intermediate to advanced)
Amrita yoga for kids
Meditative Vinyasa practice
IAM meditation technique
IAM meditation technique for youths
Bhagavad Gita classes
Amrita music classes
Backwater boat tours
Ayurvedic treatments

Holistic care rooms:

Swedish and deep tissue massage
Thai massage
Loml Loml massage
Chiropractic and more



Access to the beach is just past the Amrita Sagar Ayurvedic Research Lab. For directions to this area, look under the topic "Medical." Here we will find many palm trees and benches for sitting. Recently, large rocks have been brought in to line the beach to avoid errosion. So one has to be content with sitting on the benches or in the sand on the inward side of the rocks. This is still a very pleasant experience listening to the surf and it is a great place to do spiritual practices. Here are the beach rules that are posted on the Amrita Sagar building: No swimming or wading, no crossing the rocks, no sunbathing or low cut clothing, strict silence during meditation times which are 6:30 am to 9:00 am and 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm, no fires or parties, be back inside the ashram by 6:30 pm.

One can take an auto-rickshaw or taxi to world famous beaches such as the Mahatma Ghandi Beach in Kollum which is about 20 kilometers from the ashram. Google "Kerala beaches." Consult with the Cloak Room for the location of the beaches and for booking a taxi. Auto-rickshaws are always available just outside the ashram gates.



Olympic size – men and women swim at separate times.  Women 10:15 am to 11:15 am and 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm.  Men 11:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm.  Closed Tuesdays.



Men’s and women’s clothing, towels, and various other items.  Hours are 10:30 am to 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm.



In the author’s humble opinion this is the very best and most interesting store at the ashram.  Two thumbs way up!  It’s like a very hip health food store.  It is hard to find and it is not marked by any sign.  From the bank continue to walk away from the ashram, past the big sign that says "No Entry." About 50 feet (15 meters) further there is a stand-alone building on the right.  There is no sign or any way to know this is the ecology center.  The entry door is around on the other side so walk around the building in either direction to get to the entry. 

Many ecologically green and organic products are for sale here. Many of them are hand made at the ashram.  For those who cook their own food, they have many types of organic packaged grains and beans, whole flour, jaggary, ground coffee, every spice you can imagine, dates, figs, nuts, organic eco-soaps and much much more.  Also there are non-food items such as a bust of Buddha, interesting carved wood ink pens, candles and incense. 

They also have movies that one can watch for free on environmental and spiritual topics including cinematic movies like Kundun.  There is a catalogue of these DVDs you can look through and the list is very impressive!  A 500 rupee deposit is required.  Hours are 11:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm.



This is to the left of the Indian Canteen and almost across from the juice bar. They sell general merchandise items such as sandals, eating utensils, band aids, Amma bags, meditation cushions, umbrellas, shampoo, cold drinks and many packaged food items and snacks.  Hours are 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, 3:30 pm to 6:00 pm and 8:45 pm to 9:45 pm.  Hours will vary depending on whether or not Amma is on tour. For example the morning hours are 11:00 am to 1:00 pm when Amma is on tour. Even this may have changed by the time you arrive.



This room is located on the balcony of the Kali Temple and on the left side as you face into the temple.  Hours are 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, closed Tuesday mornings, 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm except Tuesdays which opens at 2:30 pm.  Also, 9:00 pm to 9:30 pm.



The laundry is located directly across from the bank and ATM machine.  It is not prominently marked.  There are two ways to do laundry 1. turn them into the laundry or 2. wash them yourself.  The ashram laundry will not wash your underwear or socks (nobody but nobody wears socks at the ashram because it is tropical). Having them washed by the ashram is inexpensive. Don't give them anything valuable as the laundry is done by volunteer sevites and the author had a shirt ruined with colors from somewhere else running into it.

To wash your underwear or all of your clothes, you must first get a bucket from housekeeping so you can wash the clothes in your room.  The water is hard and will cause clothes to turn brown and even make brown splotches.  You can remove these brown minerals with alum. The Ecology Center has this and it looks like rocks. To use the rocks, run your wash water into the bucket. Hold the alum rocks in your hand and swirl it slowly around in the bucket about 20 times. Let it set overnight. The alum will cause the iron and other minerals to precipitate out (flockulate) and settle to the bottom. Some scum may be left floating on the top. Swirl this with your hand to break surface tension and it will settle to the bottom. Pour the water off the top into a second bucket leaving a little left in the first bucket which will contain the precipitated minerals. You now have the purified water for washing in the second bucket. If you use soap it is problematic. Now you will need a bucket of alum treated water for rinsing and yet another bucket for a second rinse if you want to really get all the soap out. A simpler method is to let the clothes soak without soap for several hours and be done with it. There are usually cords that have been strung in the room to hang clothes to dry. If not, purchase some cord in the General Store. Also, most buildings have clotheslines on the roof. To avoid frequent hand washing, bring lots of pairs of underwear. If you bring 12 pair (and they don't take up much room) you can go 12 days without having to hand wash them in your room. If you wear each pair two days, then you can go 24 days without having to hand wash.

The second method is to take your clothes to the ashram laundry.  You can check out a clothes bag from them for 200 rupees which is refundable when you return the bag.  Or you can bring your own.  The bags you get from the laundry have a pouch on the outside which is for the slip of paper that must be filled out stating the amounts of what kinds of clothing items and the total number of items along with your name and room number. These are always available in a pouch mounted to the right of the entry door.

The cost is 65 rupees (about 50 cents US) for each kilogram (2.2 pounds) of clothing. If you turn them in before 1 PM, you will get your clothes back not the following day but the day after that.  For example, you turn your clothes in on Monday before 1 pm and you will get your clothes on Wednesday.  If you turn your clothes in on Monday after 1 pm, you will get your clothes on Thursday.

They will not wash underwear or socks.  For this you have a large plastic bucket in your room.  If there is no bucket, go to housekeeping next to the International Office.  The ashram makes their own brand of organic eco-friendly soap and you can buy that.  Ask for it in the general store.  This is also the soap they use to wash your clothes when they do your laundry. See instructions above for washing in a bucket in your room.

You can drop your clothes off at any time day or night through a drop window that consists of two sliding windows. Slide them to the left then drop your bag through the opening.  To pick up, you will have to be there when they are open and here are the hours:

12 – 1 pm     3:30 – 5 pm    8:45 – 9:15 pm
On Tuesday the hours are only 4 – 5 pm

When Amma is out on tour, the pickup hours are 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 8:15 pm to 9:15 pm. Always subject to change.



The ashram library is on the top floor of the Kali Temple.  Go in the front door and take the stairs to your immediate right.  Go all the way to the top which is the 7th floor.  Bottom floors are zero here.  You pay a onetime fee of 1000 rupees ($15 US) to join the library and then you can check out books.  When Amma is home the hours are 10:30 am to 12:30 pm for the children’s library and 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm for the adult library.  The children’s library has nice rugs on the floor and a large round children’s table and chairs.



While standing outside in front of the Kali Temple, walk to the left then turn right at the end of the building and walk a hundred feet (30 meters) or so.  There is a stair which goes up to a landing that is fixed to the outside of the Kali Temple.  This is the photocopy shop for making copies of your passport and visa.  Hours are 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm.



There is a post office that ships and receives internationally.  A full range of postal services is available. To find it, walk in the walkway on the right side of the Main Hall (right side if you are facing the stage). Walk past the Western Cafe on the right. Walk out into the open and go right down that drive. It is just before the road exits from the ashram property and it is on the right. There is a red box to receive letters hanging next to the entry door. Hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you want your letter or parcel to go out the same day, have it there before 3:00 pm.

To receive mail or packages have them sent to:

Your name and room number (Albert Einstein - Amrita Darshan room 1110)
Mata Amritanandamayi Math
Amritapuri, Kerala

The mail or packages will be transferred to the Cloak Room. Check there to see if they have arrived.



Pre-owned items for sale.  When visitors leave, they often have items they do not want to carry back with them and they donate them to Ram’s Bazaar.  This room of used items can offer some very good deals on just about everything you can imagine.  Hours are 10:30 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  Only a certain number of people are allowed to be in the room at any given time so there may be a line and there will be a person who is controlling the line.  That person will tell you when you can go in.



In the evenings, when Amma is here at the ashram and on Monday, Tuesday and Friday, starting at 6:30 pm, bhajans (devotional singing) led by Amma are sung in the big hall.  This lasts until 8:00 pm.  There are big screens showing the words which are in Malayalam or some other language and the English translation.  On Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday when Amma is giving darshan, bhajans are going non-stop the entire time from 12:00 pm until she finishes usually around 1 or 2 am the next morning. The space from 11:00 am until noon is chanting of the 1000 names.  This all is going on while Amma is hugging everyone.



To follow is a weekly ashram schedule.  This is only accurate when Amma is here in Amritapuri and not out on tour.  When Amma is on tour those activities which require Amma would be eliminated from the schedule.  Evening bhajans continue when Amma is traveling.

Meditation with Amma at the beach or main hall      5:00 pm

Bhajans (devotional singing) with Amma      6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Meditation with Amma, a talk by Amma and                        11:00 am
Amma serves lunch to everyone - she literally
hands everyone their plate as we walk by her
thus the food is blessed by her and called “prasad”

Bhajans with Amma               6:30 pm

Public darshan with Amma (hugging)            11:00 am to 1 or 2 am

Public darshan with Amma                 11:00 am to 1 or 2 am

Meditation with Amma on the beach or main hall      5:00 pm
There will also be a spontaneous question and
answer session with Amma

Bhajans with Amma              6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Amma’s public darshan          11:00 am to 1 or 2 am

Amma’s public darshan          11:00 am to 1 or 2 am



Here is a list of events on a daily basis:

Chanting the 1000 names of the Divine Mother        5:00 am to 6:00 am

Breakfast         9:00 am to 10:00 am

Chanting the 1000 names of the Divine Mother        10:00 am to 11:00 am

Seva (work) or other activities      10 am to 1 pm

Meditation on the beach or other silent activities       5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Bhajans (devotional singing)          6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Dinner             8:00 pm to 9:00 pm

If eating dinner after 8 pm is too late, consider purchasing a stainless steel dish with a lid.  These are available at the ashram general store and also at a table near the Western Cafe.  All food and liquids must be carried in the ashram with a lid.  You can fill up the container at lunch and save it for later – maybe eating it just prior to bhajans.



It is not too difficult to find good meditation locations at the ashram. While it is true there as a lot of activity in the main thoroughfares with people coming and going, there are special nooks and crannies that one can adapt to.

In most residence buildings there are balconies at the ends of the hallways. People often use these to meditate, do yoga, the IAM meditation and so on.

The beach area by the Ayurvedic Center has benches for sitting. The sound of the surf is very tranquil.

The Kali Temple has women only chanting the 1000 names of the Divine Mother from 5:00 am until 6:00 am. After that, anyone can go in there and sit. When Amma is on tour, women meet in the Kali temple for bhajans in the evenings and it is women only from 6:15 pm to 8:00 pm. The atmosphere exudes a special peace and deep spiritual power. Amma has held darshan in this temple so many times.

On the outside of the Kali Temple walk around to the right and just past the Phone Store is a meditation room. While the room was recently rebuilt, this is the exact location of the house where Amma grew up.

Next to this room is the puja area. Pujas are held here every morning at 5:00 am. There is a small room behind where the pujari sits and that is called the kalari which was the original hut that Amma used to give darshan in the very early days. Meditating in there is most powerful. And there is always one's own room which can be a sanctuary for meditation.



Each morning at 5:00 am, a puja begins in the puja area. From the front of the Kali Temple, on the outside, walk right and then turn left down the walkway on the side of the Kali Temple. On the right you will pass the Phone Store, the meditation room and then you will come to the puja area. Puja's are fascinating to watch and deeply spiritual. The priest chants vedic mantras in sanskrit while casting various, herbs, grains, ghee and other things into the puja fire.



When Amma goes on a tour in India you can also go with her! These range from 10 days to 6 weeks. One should be advised that sleeping is on the floor. You will need a self-inflating mattress, a very light sleeping cover and a mosquito tent like a Bug Hut sold online at REI. Amazon sells similar rigs. One person the author talked to uses two sheets sewn together for cover.

Much of the time you will be sleeping in schools that Amma operates. You may be waiting on bathrooms and expect very long bumpy bus rides that make it very difficult to sleep. There is no interstate system in India. If you have more stuff than what you want to take on the tour, you will have to find someone to store it for you. The ashram has no storage rental lockers. It is advisable to talk with someone who has already done this before committing to it. Most people describe the tour as ardous but many say it is worth it. Transportation, housing, laundry and food are provided at a cost. The 6 week North Indian tour is $1000 US.



When Amma is on tour, things are somewhat quiet at the ashram. You may want to entertain the idea of visiting other parts of India during this time. Below are links to pages that describe two trips to nearby cities. Instead of taking the train, you can also go to the ashram Car Pool office and ask them to book a taxi. The taxi may be $40 or $50 (US) split among the number of people in the taxi, while the train may be $5 US per person.

Go here to read about a trip to Cochin (Kochi) by train.

Go here to read about a trip to Kanya Kumari by train.

Amma says the childlike innocence deep within us is God.

Read a written narrative description of staying at the ashram.



Ask questions regarding your upcoming stay or make suggestions for this web site: ashram at devipress dot com

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A Pilgrim's Guide to Amma

(C) Copyright 2017 Devi Press

This website is maintained by a devotee as a self-initiated seva and is not part of official ashram literature. While the author has made every effort to accurately present ashram information, there is always the possibility of error. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the writer and do not neccessarily reflect ashram positions.