January 22 witnessed a historic moment in Bharat’s recent history as Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the Pran Pratishtha of Ram Lalla’s murti at the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Among the notable figures contributing to this momentous occasion was Mohit Pandey, a 22-year-old pujari who played a key role in the Pran Pratishtha puja at the newly inaugurated Mandir.
Mohit Pandey’s journey to becoming a pujari at the Ayodhya Ram Mandir is an inspiring tale of dedication and scholarly pursuit. Mohit Pandey initially enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts programme at Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University in the 2020-21 academic year after completing his Class X education at Dudeshwar Ved Vidyalaya in Ghaziabad.
Later, driven by a deep commitment to Vedic studies, Mohit Pandey pursued his Master of Arts (Acharya) degree at Tirupati’s Venkateswara Vedic University. Presently, he is preparing for his Ph.D. in the same field, showcasing his unwavering dedication to the study and practice of ancient scriptures.
Mohit Pandey’s role as a pujari in the Ayodhya Ram Mandir was not easily attained. The selection process involved screening 3,000 applicants from across the country, with only 29 ultimately chosen to perform puja at the Mandir. Mohit Pandey’s inclusion in this elite group is a testament to his scholarly prowess and commitment to his craft.
Ten years of training at Dudheshwar Ved Vidyalaya
Mahant Narayan Giri, the Head patron of Dudheshwar Ved Vidyalaya, where Mohit Pandey began his academic journey, expressed immense pride in the young pujari’s achievement. Mahant Narayan Giri noted that Mohit Pandey underwent a rigorous ten-year training programme at the Vidyalaya, showcasing proficiency in Sanskrit and mastering the pronunciation of sacred words crucial for worship.
“It’s a matter of great pride for us that our student has been chosen as a pujari at the Ayodhya Ram Mandir. We trained him here for 10 long years. It isn’t an easy test to pass. But his command over Sanskrit and pronunciation of words to worship the deity would have held him in good stead. He was trained in all these,” Mahant Narayan Giri stated.
Despite his extensive training, Mohit Pandey continues to undergo a six-month training programme in preparation for his role as a pujari at the Ayodhya Ram Mandir. This training emphasises the specific rituals and practices associated with the Mandir, ensuring that Mohit Pandey is well-prepared for his responsibilities.
Mohit Pandey’s journey from a student at Dudheshwar Ved Vidyalaya to a pujari at the Ayodhya Ram Mandir exemplifies the significance of education, dedication, and traditional knowledge in preserving and continuing cultural practices. As the nation witnessed the inauguration of the Ram Mandir, Mohit Pandey’s role stands as a symbol of the intergenerational transfer of sacred traditions and the vibrant future of India’s rich cultural heritage.