Monash University
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Kumari Devi: the Living Goddess

posted on 2016-09-22, 01:30 authored by David Templeman

Taken during February 1970 the Kathmandu Kumari (Living Goddess) is one of several in the Kathmandu valley. Both the cities of Patan and Bhaktapur each have several Kumari of their own, but the Kathmandu Kumari is by far the most important due to her role as protector of the State. She is selected as a young girl and retains her power as the protector deity Taleju until she sheds blood for any reason. Thereafter she is relegated to a civil life in which she may, if possible, marry, although this is considered a less than ideal marriage for men. During her incumbency as Kumari her feet may never touch the ground except within Taleju temple. At the time of these photographs were taken she was not able to access education or any normal aspects of a child's life although this has changed radically in the last decades. The crowds who gather to catch a glimpse of her in her rare public outing in February regard it as a great blessing to have done so.

Original format: col.; 5 x 5 cm