Average: 3.7 (389 votes)
Fast Facts
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Mata Amritanandamayi, Amma, hugging mother, Sudhamani, Ammaji, Amaji
Main Countries of Activity: 
Date of Birth: 
September 27, 1953
Place of Birth: 
Parayakadavu (Amritapuri), Kerala, India
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 


Amritanandamayi was born in the small village of Parayakadavu (now partially known as Amritapuri), near Kollam, Kerala in 1953. She was born to a fishing family of the Arayan caste. Her schooling ended when she was nine, and she began to take care of her younger siblings and the family domestic work full-time. Amma had many mystical experiences as a child.

Since 1981, she has been teaching spiritual aspirants all over the world. She founded a worldwide organization, the Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust, which is engaged in many spiritual and charitable activities. From humble beginnings she undertook a journey to attain "universal motherhood".

Amritanandamayi is known to the world media as 'the hugging mother'. She offers a hug to everyone who approaches her and in India she has been known to individually hug over 50,000 people in a day, sitting sometimes for over 20 hours. Worldwide, Amritanandamayi is said to have hugged at least 30 million people in the past 30 years.


Amma's life is her message. In other words, Amma does not teach anything that she herself does not practice. Living from moment to moment in a constant state of supreme happiness, Amma warmly embraces thousands of people day after day, wiping their tears, giving them her divine guidance and offering solace to all who come to her. Amma recommends the path of selfless-service through the example of her own life.

Amma says, "The beauty and charm of selfless love and service should not die away from the face of the earth. The world should know that a life of dedication is possible, that a life inspired by love and service to humanity is possible.

Meditation and studying the scriptures are like two sides of a coin. The engraving on that coin is selfless service, and that is what gives it its real value. Our compassion and acts of selflessness take us to the deeper truths. Through selfless action we can eradicate the ego that conceals the Self. Detached, selfless action leads to liberation. Such action is not just work; it is karma yoga."

Amma always points out that the purpose of one's life is to realize who we really are. She says, "By realizing our own Self we become full, with nothing more to gain in life. Life becomes perfect."

To attain this goal, Amma says that no particular path or spiritual practice can be recommended for all. "Just as a doctor gives different dosages or even different medications to patients with the same ailment according to their constitution, so does a Spiritual Master prescribe different methods to different people to reach the same goal. Spirituality is the practical science of life. Apart from taking us to the ultimate goal of Self-realization it also teaches us the nature of the world, and how to understand life and live fully in the best way possible."

However, Amma says that the path of devotion and selfless-service is the safest and most conducive path for many people.



Amma is traveling around India and the world quite extensively giving hug darshans wherever she goes. In the rest of the time, she is in her Ashram in Amritapuri in the backwaters of Kerala. Check in the "Where is Amma" link in the Links section where is Amma now and where she is going to be in the future to plan your participation in her darshan.


Everyone is welcome to come and stay at the ashram at any time, and take part in the daily activities. If you wish to visit the ashram when Amma is there, check in the "where is Amma" link in the Links section when Amma is planned to be in the Ashram. Kindly confirm your arrival date at least 10 days ahead by sending an email addressed to for Indian visitors, or for foreign visitors.

Amritapuri P.O,
Kollam, Kerala , India
This is a contact address, for location of the Ashram and arrival directions see directions instructions below
091- 0476 - 2897578, 2896378, 2896399
091-0476 - 2897678

By air and taxi: The two closest airports are in Trivandrum (110 km south of Amritapuri) and in Cochin (140 km north). International visitors may order an ashram taxi to pick you up at the airport or from a hotel in Cochin or Trivandrum.

If you have not ordered a taxi in advance, at the airport you may go to the "Airport Taxi Service" counter and ask for a prepaid taxi to "Mata Amritanandamayi Ashram" at Amritapuri in Vallickavu.

The journey from Trivandrum takes about three hours and the cost for a non-A/C car is about Rs. 1,500. From Cochin, the journey takes about four hours and costs about Rs.2,300. You can ask to come by the "Beach Road" from Karunagappally. This road crosses the backwaters by a road bridge and brings you directly into the ashram premises. Otherwise you will be dropped off in Vallickavu, from where you can cross the backwaters over Amrita Setu, the ashram's new pedestrian bridge. If you find yourself on the other side of the backwaters with heavy luggage you may also take a hand-poled boat across the backwaters.

By bus or train: Kayamkulam (12 km north of Amritapuri) and Karunagapally (10 km south) are the closest towns to reach. Small auto-rickshaws can bring you to Amritapuri premises. There are also regular buses from Kayamkulam Railway Station to the foot of the Amrita Setu bridge.

Special Events: 

Amma gives darshan on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays. On some Sundays, Amma gives a special Devi Bhava darshan that usually lasts until past sunrise the next day.

Daily Schedule & Opening Hours: 

4:50 a.m. - 6:00 a.m. Archana (Chanting of Lalita Sahasranama)
6:30 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. Meditation
7:30 a.m. - 8:00 a.m. Walking Meditation
8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Scriptural Study
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Breakfast
10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Seva
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Lunch
2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Seva
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Meditation
6:30 p.m. - 8:15 p.m. Bhajans
8:15 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Dinner
9:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Personal study,Meditation, Diary Keeping

Services in Location: 

Internet access
Telephone and fax facilities
Libraries: for children and adults
Medical Clinics: allopathic and ayurvedic (including panchakarma treatment)
Shops: basic needs and gift items
Laundry Service
Tailoring service
Travel Desk (purchase/confirm flight tickets)
Restaurants and canteens


Simple accommodations are provided in flats with private bathrooms. You may be asked to share a flat with other visitors. Most of the basic necessities, e.g. sheets, pillows, mattresses and buckets are provided by the ashram.

Accommodation includes simple yet very tasty, Indian-style ashram meals. Non-spicy, Western-style food is available for an additional cost.

Maps and Pictures of Location: 

View Video

Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

May Your Hearts Blossom

by Sri Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi


An address made by the author at the Parliament of the World's Religions in September, 1993.

Recommended DVD & Video: 
Cover image

Darshan: The Embrace


A glowing introduction and travel diary deep inside the life, work and heart of the spiritual leader "hugging saint"- Amma. -Amma was the winner of the Gandhi King Prize (2002) for her work against poverty and illiteracy (past winners included, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan) -Limited theatrical Release July 2006

Recommended Audio: 

Pro Opinions


Brahman's picture

A living saint.

Ganapati's picture


I agree with you, she never fails to amaze me.

Ganapati | Mon, 10/18/2010 - 08:14

she is totally authentic in my opinion

andrew's picture

a true master really lives the talk transparently - Amma does this. She raises money for charity (for orphanage, relief projects etc), she hugs people in Darshan (for free around the world).

a hug from amma

misha_ r's picture

This was one of the best experiences of my life. Words cannot do justice.

Glorib's picture

This was one of the best experiences of my life.

I did a work shop with amma a few years ago when she was in Mississauga, and had several hugs from her and yes it is something you will always remember with joy.

Glorib | Fri, 03/04/2011 - 16:01
funnymom721's picture

The Hug

I have received Amma's loving hug 3 times, so far. The first 0n my 50th birthday. The best present ever!

funnymom721 | Sat, 03/26/2011 - 21:58

Ammachi in NY Times

doo's picture

Great article about Ammachi and her philantropic organization in NYTimes -

Ammachi, Anandi Ma, Shivabalayogi and other Gurus

sadhak77's picture

I don't want to label this a pro or a con - so I put it in the pro category.
These and other Gurus are said to be Self-Realized.