Call is fetishism or an orthodox belief, the oldest tree at Hindu College with its swirling trunk becomes the holiest place on earth for most of the students in the city on 14th February every year. Among the pilgrims are ‘tourists’ who with their cameras scan over the atmosphere and the ‘bhaktas’ from various colleges who after knee wrenching travel and waiting come to pray for either an ideal relationship or the loss of their virginity. 2015’s preparations started at sharp 4 AM when the hostellers (sewaks) of the college with necessary things for the ritual started pouring out of their rooms to decorate the tree. That mutability of the Virgin deities at the college brings dynamic deities each year is well known among students.
This year the Damdami Mai, as the supreme deity is called was Lisa Haydon. ‘Visual representation’ of the Mata was put on the heights of the tree accompanied by the picture of actor Ranbhir Kapoor to woo female pilgrims. Condoms filled with ‘Holy water’ were also hung on the tree alongside heart shaped balloons.
The rituals began with the beginning of the much awaited holy hour at 10:16 AM by a Pandit (A hosteller dressed as one). Many pilgrims were stopped at the gate of the college to prevent ‘stampede’ among the people who had come to indulge in the rituals and get ‘darshan’ of the Damdami Mai. The invocation of Mata was done by aarti which ran-jai Damdami Mata, Mayiya jai Damdami mata…
This was followed by complete indulgence of the pilgrims into the rituals by dancing on the holy dhol. The Pandit was lifted during this instance to commemorate his nature of being the ultimate vestibule to Damdami Mata. Later Pilgrims were given ‘Prashad’ and the ‘Holy water’.
Make up laden female pilgrims and cologne laden male pilgrims then went back to their actual existence and stepped outside the college gate passing many other eager students lined up to show their IDs and enter the ‘Holy Premises’. Even though the rituals had ended, the tree and the Damdami Mai were still there waiting for more student turned pilgrims.
The rituals at Hindu have been going on from years altogether, to read about the previous years’ celebration and other recent ‘Damdami Mai’s, visit here.