Lalitpur Living Goddes or Kumari


A Kumari is a Living Goddess. The Goddess is said to hold in her the female deity and because of this must be picked from young girls who are still pure.

We weren’t scheduled to see her but our guide was able to pull some strings and get us in to see her. She only leaves the palace on ceremonial occasions or the 2015 earthquake she left the palace. When we went in we had to take our shoes off and then we took our turn to walk in front of her and bow to pay our respect. It was so interesting to see her. She didn’t talk and I believe we made an offering to her but I can’t remember.

A Kumari is selected at and early age and is picked from the most beautiful girls from the Napalese Newari Buddhist community either from the Shakya caste or the Bajracharya clan. The Kathmandu Kumari is best known as the Royal Kumari. They stay a goddes unless they get seriously ill, major blood loss or their first menstruation. Either one of those makes them no longer pure and the deity is said to leave them.

The requirements are be in excellent health, never shed blood, no blemishes, and haven’t lost any teeth. Black hair, dainty hands and feet, twenty teeth.  These are some others

  • A neck like a conch shell
  • A body like a banyan tree
  • Eyelashes like a cow
  • Thighs like a deer
  • Chest like a lion
  • Voice soft and clear as a duck’s

2007 a Kumari was removed from her position for visiting the US to attend the release of the movie Living Goddess. She had to undergo a “cleansing” ceremony in order to get her title back.

They are only worshiped for one day. Depending on their age they get a different name each year while the ritual lasts.