17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
Living Goddess Kumari- Nepali small girl

This young Newar girl with is chosen to represent the Goddess Kumari as an incarnation of Goddess Taleju. Newars are the original inhabitants of Kathmandu valley. Since 17th century the Living Goddess is worshipped with great reverence and even the Shah Kings followed the tradition of receiving blessings from her. The young candidates from the Shakya caste among the Newars, many as young as four years old, must go through an extremely strict and harrowing selection process before one of them is chosen to represent the Goddess. Once chosen, she has to live within the Kumari’s House, her feet must never touch the ground and will leave her residence only during certain festivals. She will remain a Living Goddess until any form of bleeding occurs, which is usually when she reaches puberty. Anly a lucky person can catch a glimpse of this Goddess.That time there was worshiping Krishna festival. Men in traditional dresses were singing and playing musical instruments. And a small girl was going in head of procession. And she was that living Goddess that I was dreaming to meet. Everybody was cheerful, laughing and singing, but the eyes of this small girl were full of sorrow. She is not a typical nepali child, she cant play games like others. She is Goddess- and this is a big duty and lots of restrictions. She will never experience simple life, but she is in touch with spiritual power of her culture.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 02.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2019
Photo Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Camera: Canon EOS 600D
Copyright: © Anna Stoyanova