The coast has a very rich wildlife of eagles.
Not sure if the concept of snow applies here.
Not a bed bug, but the only small animal we could spot. It must be the culprit!
Lesson learned about travelling with a motor bike: Look at the floor before you park, or deal with bird shit everywhere.
Max elevation: 28 m
Min elevation: -7 m
Total climbing: 83 m
Total descent: -112 m
Total Time: 01:26:51
Here is a leaflet from the ashram.
And the taste of sweetness is universal.
This was a part of a sermon we overheard at the ashram.
You agree, or disagree.
We took a photo of her picture (not the picture itself!) which was in our room.
But the most memorable was the little wrapped gift that she gave to each of us: A nut, wrapped nicely in an orange package and some undefined, grey-blueish powder.
Update: The magic powder is Prasad. Prasad and Prasada, is a material substance of food that is a religious offering in both Hinduism and Sikhism. ‘Prasada’ literally means a gracious gift. It denotes anything, typically an edible food, that is first offered to a deity, saint, Perfect Master or an avatar, and then distributed in His or Her name to their followers or others as a good sign. It is normally consumed by worshippers after worship. Thanks EM for this explanation!
The next morning, we continued the search and finally found the ashram. We spent a night as visitors in the ashram.
Mata Amritanandamayi, is known throughout the world as Amma, or Mother, for her selfless love and compassion toward all beings. Her entire life has been dedicated to alleviating the pain of the poor, and those suffering physically and emotionally. Source: http://amma.org/
She built the ashram. Read the impressive story here. We were super lucky to meet her at all, since she is traveling often.
Amṛtānandamayī’s form of giving darshana is hugging people.
We paid 250 Rupies (3.5 Euro) each to stay 1 night in the ashram. Participation at meals is included for free. Depending on the day of the week, one can join a wide variety of yoga classes, esotheric courses, etc. and even watch Amma hug people – or queue and get a hug from Amma.
We got free hugs from Amma!
An amazing experience – being inside a sect walking around freely and talking to the devotees. Some dressed in white. Almost all of them avoid eye contact. “The residents observe celibacy as part of their spiritual practices”. “Please refrain from display of affection” (we ignored), “Please refrain from sexual contract in the ashram” (we heard noises). On the ground floor in our building, the elevator had 12 (!) posters with rules. There are rules everywhere. “Be in the ashram after 18:30. It is unsafe to be outside after sunset” (rofl).
We queued for the hugging from 18:00 to 21:00. The hug itself lasted 15 seconds. The helpers asked which countries we were from and which language we speak. Amma was talking in Hindi and then said something several times to me that should probably be “Mein geliebter Sohn”. She has rather big boobs.
Queueing means moving from one plastic chair to the next plastic chair. It starts in the auditorium, where we strategically sat near the gate where queueing was supposed to start. So whenever one person was hugged, the waiting chair chain moved by one person. To make things more opaque, several rooms of waiting chairs were chained, so you could only see the next room of waiting chairs. Finally, on the stage where the hugging takes place, the chair chain was complemented by devotees who were selected to sit there. When Amma turned her head towards them, they would try to get closer, extending their arms. Once, a stage supervisor distributed nuts. One nut per devotee. They really stretched to get their nut. We did not take a nut.
Every room in the ashram has her picture – at least 5 times. Her picture is literally everywhere. In the elevators, there is no wall without at least 2 of her pictures.
In the ashram, Indian food is free – and of apalling quality. Western food is not a lot better and has to be paid for. There are fruit and juice stalls, a bookshop with her books or books about her, and a pharmacy.
The rooms are basic. Our room was in a 14 story building (level 8) amidst other rooms for people who have a permanent residence in the ashram. Mosquitos and bed bugs were omnipresent.
We heard mostly american or UK English, French and German, and some Spanish, but there are also Japanese and Indians.
Staying in the ashram was a great experience. Nothing we will embrace for our lives, but interesting to see how this worldwide organization works.
This action is considered dangerous (by Amma) and we even spoke with locals.
In a little ceremony, we got some ketchup on our foreheads.
Monster crêpes, filled with some potato stuffing and sauces, 4 cups of tea, 1 bottle of water – for 132 Rupies (less than 2 Euro).
The Communist Party of India (CPI) (Bhāratīya Kamyunisṭ Pārṭī) is a communist party in India. There are different views on exactly when the Communist Party of India was founded, but the date maintained as the foundation day by the CPI is 26 December 1925. However, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which separated from the CPI, has a different version that it was founded in 1920.
Owing to a massive defeat in Indian general election, 2014 where the party saw its tally reduce to 1 MP, the Election Commission of India has sent a letter to CPI asking for reasons why its national party status should not be revoked.
We passed some villages where many red flags and other symbols showed that the CPI seems still alive.
Max elevation: 20 m
Min elevation: -1 m
Total climbing: 642 m
Total descent: -652 m
Total Time: 07:49:32
In the basement, beer and wine was sold. We had Kingfisher beers at 200 Rupies (3 Euro for 650 ml, 6 Vol% alcohol) each. One of the 3 guys who we shared the table with was obviously gay. Maybe, all 3 were. Drinking alcohol in public or in any hostel is forbidden. People take the bottles home wrapped.
The room was also a little dodgy. Why have a bar stool?
We were looking for the Amaritapuri Ashram. Lonely Planet mentioned a school run by the Matha Amrithanandamayi Mission as the location of the Asram. It took us at least 5 Tuktuk driver enquiries and 2 local boys on a motor bike to find the school building. This is not the the Ashram. The guard offered us to sleep in any of the class rooms. Obviously, there was not mattress or possibility to lock a door, etc. Since it started to get dark, we ended up in a hotel.
Hindu, Christian and Muslim worship locations coexist.
The teak wood construction requires 4 men to lift the net out of the water.
Churches are more visible than Hindu temples. There seem to be more churches than temples.
It is equipped with an extra rack.
Max elevation: 35 m
Min elevation: -28 m
Total climbing: 366 m
Total descent: -391 m
Total Time: 05:15:50
This is what is says:
Date of contract and Bike License Plate Number
One day: 900 Rupies
11 days – 10.000 Ruies paid (132 Euro)
2 Helmets, 3 Fixing Ropes.
As security: 200 Euro paid.
We paid 750 Rupies (10 Euro) for a double room without AC.
Cochin Carnival is held in the last week of December every year in Fort Kochi, Kerala. The city will be packed – and we decided to come for New Year’s.
We booked the room – initial price was 5.000 Rupies/ night. We got him down to 5.200 Rupies/ 2 Nights, since we have to arrive on 30 Dec to return the bike… 31st will be too crowded…
Nice: This bus goes direct from the airport to Fort Kochi, right around the corner of a Royal Enfield rental.
Just checking if employees are working…
Self-explanatory security check-in boxes.
Max elevation: 238 m
Min elevation: 158 m
Total climbing: 627 m
Total descent: -635 m
Total Time: 08:05:49