Source: The Times of India
Wire Service: IANS
On March 11, 2005 the Indo-Asian News Service reported, "Perhaps for the first time, an American woman has been ordained a high priest in the Hindu holy city of Varanasi. Saima, renamed Laxmi Devi Chalanda Sarvanandmayi Ma, was declared 'Mahant Mahamandleshwar' or chief priest, according to a report appearing in a Varanasi Hindi daily. The announcement followed a special ceremony performed by leading sadhus of the Manikarnika ghat on the banks of the river Ganga."