Nepal’s Living Goddess Kumari is perhaps one powerful symbolic manifestation of this. Recognition of the divine in the form of female energy. Trishna Shakya is the current royal Kumari of Nepal. She was chosen after Matina Shakya on September 27, 2017. She was three years old when she was declared the Living Goddess. Today there are just ten kumaris in Nepal, nine of them in the Kathmandu Valley. The caretaker of the Kumari house, the head astrologer, and priests conduct the selection process.

Living Goddess Kumari Ghar

At the junction of Durbar and Basantapur squares, this red-brick, three-story building is home to the Kumari, the girl who is selected to be the town’s living goddess and a living symbol of devi the Hindu concept of female spiritual energy. Inside the building is Kumari Chowk, a three-story courtyard.

It is enclosed by magnificently carved wooden balconies and windows, making it quite possibly the most beautiful courtyard in Nepal.

The building, in the style of the Buddhist vihara (monastic abodes) of the valley, was built in 1757 by Jaya Prakash Malla. The courtyard contains a miniature stupa carrying the symbols of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. Kumari around the city during the annual Indra Jatra festival. Look for the huge wooden runners with sacred painted tips in front of the Kumari Bahal that are used to trans­port the chariot.

Living Goddess KumariKumari; Living Goddess of Nepal

Nepalese worship a normal young girl as Kumari, the only living deity (goddess) in the world, turning her into a Goddess of Power with tantrism and different rituals. The literal translation of Kumari is virgin. But here, “Kumari” is taken from the Sanskrit word “Kaumarya” which translates to “Princes”.

Buddhists consider the little divine being as the personification of the supreme female deity Vajradevi, a Buddha. In Hinduism, the young princess is considered a manifestation of Devi (Taleju Goddess) and is worshipped with great devotion in different places in Nepal. It’s a unique tradition where a young normal girl is chosen and is turned into a living deity using different tantrics and pujas. Hindus believe she protects the nation from evil with her Goddess power of Taleju (one reincarnation of Goddess Durga). So, watching the goddess Kumari is one of the best things to do in Kathmandu

While selecting, priests choose the eligible child from the Buddhist community to be made the living goddess of a Hindu community. This cross-religious practice sets an example of religious harmony.

There are 10 Kumar in Kathmandu Valley. While there are many living goddesses in Nepal, the girl living in the Kumari Ghar, a palace in the center of Kathmandu, is the Royal Kumari of Nepal.

History/Legend behind Kumari:

Whilst the veneration of a living Kumari in Nepal is relatively recent, dating only from the 17th century, the tradition of Kumari-Puja, or virgin worship, has been around for much longer. There is evidence of virgin worship taking place in Nepal for more than 2,300 years. It appears to have taken hold in Nepal in the 6th century.

Kumari is regarded as the human manifestation of the Goddess Taleju. Several tales and legends led to supporting the belief and advocating how today’s Kumari tradition came into practice.

The Tale of King Jayaprakash Malla

The legend of the last Malla king of Kantipur (Kathmandu), King Jayaprakash Malla, regarding the Kumari tradition is often heard.

According to the tale, Jayaprakash Malla, who had befriended “Taleju Bhawani”, used to play Tripasa (a dice game) with the goddess. She would as promised, visit him every night to play the dice and discuss state affairs.

But, she had her visit only on one condition: that he would never mention her visit to anyone, or else she would stop visiting him. However, one night, the curious queen sees the Goddess playing with the King, which enrages Taleju. She then leaves the palace.

But before departing, she advised the king that he should look for an upper-class Newari girl if he wanted to meet her and have her protect and bless his nation and people.

As she committed to residing with the little girl of the newer community (Shakya Kul) as the reincarnation of Taleju, the girl would then be known as Kumari.

The tale associated with Trilokya Malla

Similar to the story above, the goddess Taleju visited the then King Trilokya Malla every night in human form, and they played the dice game known as Tripasa in this story too while talking about the state of the nation and the welfare of its citizens.

One day, the king somehow displayed a lustful urge toward the Goddess, which infuriated her. The Goddess then stormed out of the palace in a rage, never to be seen again.

Soon after, the king, who was now overcome with regret and guilt, began to worship Goddess Taleju and begged for her to come back and bless him. After much persuasion, Taleju finally agreed to return to his home and bestow a blessing on him. But, as a Kumari, a virgin girl of the Shakya community of Newars.

She is referred to as “the Kumari” throughout the country of Nepal and is worshipped as the physical manifestation of Taleju, the Malla king’s protector deity.

However, it is believed that as soon as a chosen one gets her womanhood (menstruation), Talejus’s spirit leaves her body and resides in another young girl. As soon as the seat of Kumari is vacant, five seniors of the Buddhist Vajracharya Priest, the Bada Guruju, the priest of Taleju, and the Royal Astrologer search for an eligible girl from the Shakya Cast of Newar Group.

The chosen one has to have “Battish Lakshana” (Thirty-two perfections of the Goddess) in her.

A Kumari is the embodiment of Goddess Taleju, which symbolizes protection, power, and peace. It is believed that as long as Kumari resides inside the Kingdom of Nepal, the state will be protected by her.

Selection of Living Goddess Kumari

A Kumari is not for every girl. Five priests choose the girl from the Newar Ethnie, a caste of goldsmiths. The girl’s horoscope needs to align with the kings. A Kumari can only remain a Kumari until puberty because she may never have lost. Additionally, the following 32 physical characteristics must be present:

1. Shapely feet
2. A circle under the sole
3. A well-formed heel
4. Long toes
5. Feet and hands like a duck
6. Tender and supple feet and hands
7. A body formed like a Saptacchata leaf
8. The thighs of a deer
9. Genitals positioned deep in the pelvis
10. Round shoulders
11. The chest of a lion
12. Long arms
13. A pure body
14. A neck like a mussel
15. Cheeks like a lion
16. Complete teeth
17. Shapely teeth
18. White teeth
19. A small tongue
20. A moist tongue
21. The deep voice of a sparrow
22. Black blue eyes
23. The lashes of a cow
24. A beautiful shadow
25. A gold-colored shadow
26. A beautiful skin color
27. Straight, but turning to the right hair
28. Black blue hair
29. A broad forehead
30. Around the head
31. A body like a banyan tree (Nyagrodha)
32. A strong body

The usual schedule of the Kumari

Weak up Mostly by 7.00 a.m. Cleaning, bathing etc. 7.00-8.00a.m.
Breakfast 8.00 a.m.
Nitya (Regular) Puja by Hindu and
Buddhist priest 8.30 a.m.
Worshiping by (Hindu and Buddhist)
devotees and public
grace to the non-Hindu and Buddhist
visitors from the
window 9.00 a.m.-12.00 noon
Lunch 12.00 noon
Study hours with teachers
1.00 p.m.- 4.00 p.m.
Worshiping by (Hindu and Buddhist)
devotees and public
grace to the non-Hindu and Buddhist
visitors from the
window 4.00 p.m.- 6.00 p.m.
Leisure time/Homework/assignment
6.00 p.m.-7.00 p.m.
Dinner 7.00 p.m
Study hour (Homework/assignment)
7.30 p.m.-8.30 p.m.
Bed time 8.30 p.m