Nepal’s Living Goddess: Kumari

29 Nov, 2018 Great Nepal Treks

Nepal’s Living Goddess: Kumari

Kumari, a.k.a Kumari Devi, is the only living goddess worshipped in Nepal by both Hindus and Buddhists. Believed to be the living reincarnation of Goddess Taleju, Kumari possesses the power of Hindu goddesses Kali and Taleju. Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl possessing 32 perfections mentioned in Hindu mythology and is the symbol of power and protection. Her possession of power is represented by the fire eye (chakshu), drawn on her forehead.

Kumari is chosen at a very young age from the Shakya community, and to claim her throne, she has to go through numerous tests which prove that she is the reincarnation of goddess Taleju. The selection process of Kumari is considered very similar to Tibet’s process of finding reincarnations of Tulkus.

The tradition of worshipping Kumari has taken place in Nepal since the 17th century. It is the channel connecting Hinduism and Buddhism, two of the oldest religions known to mankind. 

Kumari is the pride of Kathmandu, and she resides in her palace (Kumari Ghar) located in Basantapur. She is the truest and the holiest form of purity, so pure that her feet never touch the ground. Belonging to the Shakya community, Kumari is the pride of Nepal especially for the locals of Kathmandu. Every day, not only tourists from all over the world but, locals also visit her palace to catch a glimpse of the living deity herself, in all her glory.

Kumrai lives a very isolated life and is exposed to a limited number of people chosen by the head priest. Moreover, she gets out of her palace only during special occasions to bless the city.

One of the biggest occasions in which Kumari graces Kathmandu, with her divinity is during Indra Jatra. On this occasion, she is seated on a chariot which is pulled by devotees around the Kathmandu Durbar Square area.