Kumari:

Kumaris are young girls that are chosen and worshipeds as living goddesses. A Kumari is believed to be the incarnation of the goddess Taleju (the Nepalese name for Durga) until she has her period, after which it is believed that the goddess leaves her body. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury is also cause for her to revert to common status. There are many cities that have their own kumaris but the most famous one is the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu. The kumari is usually only the age of 4 when she is choosen. Many girls are put to the test and those who pass are the new kumari. Two of the most famous tests are said to be: 1 where they lock a girl in a dark room with buffalo masks and people will make scary noises and if she is brave she is choosen. They say thats when the goddess enters the child. THe other test is to kill an animal in front of the girl and if she does not flinch shes the one. A strong willed girl is who they chose. Once the girl is choosen they take the girl away from her family and put her into isolation, so as to protect her. She is not allowed to have very many playmates and is gaurded 24/7. THe way the tradition started was with the last Malla king of Kathmandu, Jay Prakash Malla. He once had intercourse with a prepubescent girl and as a result the young girl later died. The king was then told in his dreams to start the tradition of the Kumari, worship her, and once a year carry her around the Kathmandu valley as a penance for his sins. Some don’t like to believe in this tradition because it means taking the girl away from her family only to isolate her and some say that who ever marries an ex-Kumari with die a painful death within six months.

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