When Amma first started Krishna Bhava beside the beach road, Her father became very anxious for Her safety. Adjoining his house was the family’s cowshed. He made space for Amma to give the Bhava darshans there. That cowshed was eventually converted into a temple (Kalari), which still adjoins the house and is used for pujas. The ashram started when the first three disciples asked Amma’s father if they could stay with Her permanently. He gave them a space on the backwaters near the Kalari. Using mud and sand as landfill, they reclaimed the land, and built a small palm leaf hut.
The Old Kalari (or Krishna’s Temple) is probably the most precious and special place in Amritapuri… Everyone that visits the ashram makes it a point to visit this unique and blessed small place, either to participate in the pujas conducted there or just to sit and meditate for some time.
Many years ago, when larger and larger number of people started coming daily to meet her and be in her presence, Amma’s father had no other place to offer her for meeting the visitors and early devotees but the small cowshed right next to the family house… The cows would simply be moved, and Amma would sit in the open shed to meet people and give darshan. Later, the cowshed was divided in two parts: The front was for Amma to use permanently, and the back for the cows… A short wall separated the two parts, and Amma used to touch and pet the cows every now and then while meeting people.
With time, a cement floor was added to the shed, along with walls, a thatched roof and a front door. Thus, the cowshed had the look of a hut from around 1980 onwards. Later, a veranda was built in front of it for bhajan times, prasad lunch serving and meditation (The ‘veranda’ still exists to day, now hosting the pujas’ fire place).
Eventually the thatched hut became the ‘Temple’, the one place fully dedicated for Amma to use, also named the Krishna Temple as a statue of Krishna was displayed above the door. For many years, the Krishna temple was ‘The Ashram’, utilized by Amma to give darshan, host the Devi and Krishna bhavas, sing bhajans and meditate with and meet people. Only when the space became too small to allow devotees a clear view of Amma during darshan, another bigger hut was built close to the Krishna Temple for Amma to use for darshans (around 1986 – that hut doesn’t exist anymore).
A few more years passed, and the Kali temple (main ashram building at the entrance of Amritapuri) started to take shape. As soon as the main floor was becoming usable (1992), Amma started holding darshan and bhajans in it. Since 10 years now, shifting yet again from a smaller place to a bigger one, Amma is almost exclusively using the big auditorium to meet people.
Whoever has visited the ashram in the last 20 years remembers walking through a narrow pathway by the Kali temple’s side to reach the Kalari, which was part of a wider structure having two other rooms (doors) to its right and left.
The nice surprise for those coming back to Amritapuri from 2014 December onwards was that these two rooms have now been removed, creating a new wide clear space around the Kalari. This was Amma’s thoughtful request… A refreshing sight to enjoy…
The Old Kalari is back, standing on its own with empty space around!
The Old-New-Renewed Kalari, where it all started decades ago!