Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
A part of Bhoo Devi was still a tub of mud last week.
But as two priests crouched on the floor Thursday, scooping out the mud and shaping it - here a hand, there a foot, now a face - it took on the coarse, dark contours of a goddess: the deity revered by Hindus as Bhoo Devi, or "Mother Earth."
"This is soil from the seven holiest rivers in India," explained Kasiram Dikshith, a priest of the new Bharatiya Temple in Chalfont, where Bhoo Devi was taking shape. Around him, a dozen Hindu priests from across India were busily weaving sacred grass and making intricate yantras, or mandalas, out of colored rice.
Later in the day, they would dissolve Bhoo Devi in a bath of water from all seven oceans - the opening ritual in a rare, five-day consecration rite that will, believers say, plant the spirits of Hindu deities into the temple's life-size stone idols.
A Prana Pratishtha Mahotsava ceremony transforming the statues into icons is a "once-in-a-lifetime event," said Akanksha Kalra, a trustee of the temple.
The sacred ceremony, which began that evening under a cavernous white tent in the parking lot, will culminate tomorrow morning inside the temple's new sanctuary.