Coronavirus in India: Mata Amritanandamai’s darshan’s stopped at Kerala ashram
A message to this effect was published on the website of the ‘mutt’ on Friday saying it was advised to do so by the state health department for the time being.Updated: Mar 06, 2020 22:14 IST
- Mata Amritanandamai’s darshans have been suspended due to coronavirus threat
- Ashram said suspension in line with a directive from state health authorities
- Foreigners and Indians have been stopped from Darshans
In the wake of growing COVID-19 scare in various parts of the country the hugging saint of Kerala, Mata Amritanandamai, has stopped giving ‘darshan’ to her followers in her ashram in Vallikavu in Kollam district.
A message to this effect was published on the website of the ‘mutt’ on Friday saying it was advised to do so by the state health department for the time being.
“We are sorry to inform you that due to extremely heightened restrictions by the health department, including mandatory quarantine and other protocols, currently the ashram cannot allow anyone to Amritapuri. This includes Indian nationals as well as foreign passport holders (including OCI holders). This includes both day visits and overnight stays. This policy is irrespective of any amount of time the individual may have been within the nation of India,” read the message posted on the website.
The statement also said ‘darshan’ will resume once the health ministry gives its nod. Foreigners form a major chunk of teeming devotees at the ashram. A senior health ministry official, who did not want to get identified, said an advisory was sent to the ashram after the South Korea incident came to light. In Seoul, a priest of a Christian sect had held a big mass in a closed church which is suspected to have spiked the infections in the country. Later authorities had booked the priest and other office-bearers of the church.
In Amma’s ashram (Amritanandamai’s popular name) the main attraction is her ‘darshan’, where she hugs and blesses devotees. Thousands throng the ashram for her ‘darshan and ‘bhajan’ every day. A recipient of many awards including the ‘Gandhi King Award’, Amma’s ashram has branches all over the world. The ‘mutt’ also runs a chain of educational institutions and hospitals.
Meanwhile, the government is keeping its fingers crossed over ‘Attukal Pongala,’ to be celebrated on March 9. On the ninth day of the festival, lakhs of women throng the state capital to offer ‘pongala’ (a gruel made of rice, jaggery, ghee and coconut) to the presiding deity, Attukal Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Kannaki. Usually, two to three million women take part in ‘pongala’ festival- a festival of women. The government has asked devotees to take extreme care. “We don’t want to create panic. But we should be careful,” said state health minister KK Shailaja.