This was really delightful. On Ram Navami, which was last Sunday, I went out to a nearby ashram for their kumari puja, which is done twice a year during Navaratri, the nine days of Mother Divine. First one of the senior pandits explains the ceremony.Nine very young girls are chosen as living embodiments of the nine forms of Devi. At first their feet are washed by one of the pandits, then many items are offered to them one by one while the pandits and the boys who are studying to be pandits chant various Vedic texts.
They are draped in fancy red and gold shawls and red tilak marks are put on their foreheads; then they are given little packages of gifts of items that little girls tend to like. These girls are from an ashram a few kilometers away that has a girls’ school.