Nepal Kumari - The Living Goddess

 Kumari     History of Kumari    Kumari Selection Procedure  

 Kumari test     Former Kumari's of Nepal    Kumari House and Lifestyle  


nepal Kumari , Kumari Nepal, Kumari

In Nepal, there are alltogether 11 different Kumaris among which three Kumari's are more prominent. They are Kumari's from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan. Among three, Kumari from Kathmandu is considered the Nepal Kumari in the country. Nepal kumari also known as "Royal Kumari, Nepal" is considered living Goddess in Nepal. A virgin girl is worshipped as the Goddess Taleju (Goddess who takes care of the Kathmandu Valley). People believe  the Goddess Taleju ( another Name for Goddess Durga) resides in the body of the virgin and when the virgin menstruates then it is believed that the Goddess will leave the body of the virgin.  Kumaris are selected from the Shakya family. They are buddhist girls possessed by a Hindu goddess. A Kumari will no longer remain Kumari, if there occurs serious illness or major loss of blood from an injury or if she mensurates.

Even the King of Nepal used to worship Royal Kumari and bowed infront of the Living Goddess. The King used to go to worship Living Goddess if he had any problems. The biggest festival when Kumari shows up in the public is in IndraJatra. IndraJatra is a festival celebrated in September and is named after Lord Indra who is known as the God of rain and also as king of heaven. The festival is celebrated for 8 days and on the 3rd day of the festival, the living Goddess is taken out in a procession in a chariot. Along with Kumari, chariots of Ganesh and Bhairav are also taken around the city for three days.

History of Kumari In Nepal :

It is believed that the Indians are worshipping Kumari from the past 2300 years. In Nepal the worshipping of virgin in the name of "Kumari" started in 16th Century. The history of Kumari in Nepal is believed to have started in the Malla dynasty.  There are at least 11 different Kumari worshipped by various villages and communities of the Kathmandu Valeey. The most revered is Kathmandu's Royal or State Kumari, who resides in a richly decorated house on Durbar Square.

     There are several legends and myths about how the beginning of Kumari tradition in Nepal. Among some I am going to write about two popular ones in the Nepalese society. Both the Legends are from Malla Dynasty. 

     The first goes like this. JayaPrakash Malla was the King of Malla Dynasty. According to myth, one day a red serpent entered in the Royal Palace of JayaPrakash Malla when he was playing a Tripasa ( a kind of dice game ) with the Goddess Taleju. The Goddess used to come every night to play with him with a condition that he would never reveal this secret to anyone. One day the Queen came searching for the King and Queen encountered the meeting of the King JayaPrakash Malla and the Goddess Taleju. When the Goddess Taleju saw Queen, she was very angry and she told that if you want me to come back and protect your country then you would need to go in a search for a virgin in the Newari community where she would reincarnate herself and save the country. It is believed after that very time, King went in search of a virgin girl having a Taleju spirit in the Newari Community and the tradition of Kumari started till then. 
 
      There is a similar legend with the another King named Trailokya Malla from Malla dynasty. People used to believe that the Goddess Taleju used to come to King's Palace to play a tirpas ( dice game) in the human form. She used to come everyday and discuss about the peace and welfare of the country with the King. One the the King tried to approach for the sexual intercourse with the Goddess Taleju. The Goddess became furious with the KIng and she left the palace and promised never to come back. Later on the King became regret of what he had done and worshipped the Goddess and the Goddess agreed to reincarnate herself in the body of the virgin from the Shakya family. From that time it was believed to have started the tradition of Kumari in Nepal.


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Selection of Kumari

There is a rigorous process for the selection of Kumari. The selected girl should be from the Skakya family. Five high priests conduct the search for likely candidates among the young grils of the Shakya caste. The girl for Kumari should have the 32 perfections of the goddess. Some of the perfections of the Kumari are as follows: 
a) A neck like a conch shell
b) A body like a banyan tree
c) eyelashes like a cow
d)  thighs like deer
e) voice soft and
f) daring as lion 

The horoscope of the Kumari has to be also matched with the horoscope of the King. But now where there is no more King in the country, the horoscope is matched with the President of the Country.

Once the virgins having such qualities are chosen they even have to go through other tests to prove themselves that they are as fearless as the Goddess Durga.
 
Tests for Nepal Kumari:
One of the greatest test for Kumari is on the festival Dashain. On the "Kalratri ", she is taken to the Taleju temple and realeased in courtyard where there are lots of slaughtered goats, buffaloes, chickens etc and the girl is supposed to be fearless as Goddess Taleju (Goddess Taleju is another form of Goddess Durga who is the symbol of power and fearlessness). If the Kumari no longer shows the sign of fear on her face then Kumari is supposed to pass the test and thus believed to possess the Taleju spirt.

After she passes these tests then she is purified by the Priest so that the Goddess Taleju will come and reside on the pure body of the virgin girl. After she mensurates, then she is no longer the "Kumari " and the search process for the new Kumari will start and will be selected by the above described process.

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Former Kumari's Of Nepal

Former Kumari's of Nepal

Name

Time as  Kumari

Hira Maiya Shakya

1922-1923

Chini Shova Shakya

1923-1931

Chandra Devi Shakya

1931-1933

Dil Kumari Shakya

1933-1942

Nani Shova Shakya

1942-1949

Kayo Mayju Shakya

1949-1955

Harsha Laxmi Shakya

1955-1961

Nani Mayju Shakya

1961-1969

Sunina Shakya

1969-1978

Anita Shakya

1978-1984

Rashmila Shakya

1984-1991

Amita Shakya

1991-2001

Preeti Shakya

2001-2008

Matina Shakya

2008-present

 

Life Style and Kumari House

The high priest of the Taleju temple worhships the Living Goddess daily, and Kumari spends several hours receiving devotees who come to do Kumari puja, which is believed to bring wealth and good fortune. The Kumari is also used to divine the future of Nepal. If she behaves restlessly or erratically during a puja, its a bad omen for the country. The rest of the time she leads a more normal life, playing with the children of her attendants, eating specially prepared meals. On Indra Jatra , the festival celebrated in September, The Living Goddess in all her jeweled splendor travels through the older part of Kathmandu city in a three tiered chariot accompanied by Ganesh and Bhairab each day for three days. It is really a grand festival in which people in their thousands throng in and around the Kathmandu Durbar Square to pay their homage to the Living Goddess.

The god-house Kumari Ghar is a store-house of magnificent intricate carvings where the Living Goddess performs her daily rituals. During her tenure in the god-house, Guthi Sansthan, the government trust fund bears her entire expenses including that of her caretakers. Under normal circumstances, her days in the god-house come to an end with her first menstruation, but if she turns out to be unlucky, as they say, even a minor scratch on her body that bleeds can make her invalid for worship.

 

The belief that the husband of ex-Kumari will die young makes marriage difficult, and many find adult life anitclimatic after their derified childhood.


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