Kumari: The Living Goddess

Nepal has an extraordinary custom of worshipping Kumari (virgin, the symbol of purity). She is worshipped as incarnation of Taleju Bhagavati (a Hindu Goddess) and is reverently installed as Kumari or living goddess. The house where she is installed is called Kumari Ghar (The house of Kumari). which was made by Jaya Prakash Malla in 1757 AD. There is one Kumari of Hanumandhoka. Similarly, there is one in Patan and one in Bhaktapur. However, the Kumari of Kathmandu is considered to be more significant in many regards. Kumari of Kathmandu is selected from among the small girls of the priestly Buddhist community, Shakya.

A group of celebrated persons including Bata Guruju and Raj Guruju select a girl from the above mentioned community through a difficult and deliberate process which examines her purity from the religious point of views as well as her fearlessness. Once she is selected she resides in her shrine with the decoration that shows her divinity- a kind of golden crown on her head, a big Tika on her forehead and a thick collegium share around her eyes. She continues to resume the position with divine grace till she is disqualified. She is disqualified due to two reasons. Firstly, her getting into puberty and secondly natural calamities like death or less of tooth or a wound causing bleeding.

His Majesty the king almost all of his subjects pay homage to Kumari. She is worshipped in grand manner in the occasion like chariot procession.

Kumari Puja takes place when initiating any new work. For e.g inauguration of business, homes. Usually, 5 Kumari are worshipped during this rituals because it is considered as a good luck. These 5 Kumaris are also referred as Pancha Kanya.

The Kumaris of Patan and Bhaktapur are choosen from different communities by comparatively less illustrious person by they have the same religious ground.

This Article and upcoming posts are extracted from the book, TOURIST INFORMATION DIRECTORY, 1997. by my Late Father Journalist, Sociologist & Anthropologists, Er. Ramesh Chandra Bandhu Bhattarai.


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