From Almaty to the Ashram: Spiritual Seekers, Enlightenment Tourists, Miracle Hunters and Pilgrims

Sofya du Boulay

PhD Candidate, Oxford Brookes University

How do individual narratives transform our understanding of the religious practices of modern Central Asians? Why do insiders’ experiences matter in examining the sociocultural context of religious landscapes? Applying the autoethnographic method, this article aims to investigate the author’s spiritual journey from childhood to adulthood; from the Kazakhstani metropolis of Almaty to an Indian ashram in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh; revealing and re-examining the complex body of personal memories and activities relevant to devotional exercises. It explores four types of ashram visitors from Central Asia: spiritual seekers, enlightenment tourists, miracle hunters, and pilgrims, dis

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