The Living Goddess: Kumari of Nepal Lifestyle ProfessionalSep 20th, 2023 at 18:02 Blogs Kathmandu 226 views Reference: 708
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The Living Goddess: Kumari of Nepal Lifestyle
Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, Nepal is a land of diverse cultures and traditions. One of the most fascinating aspects of Nepali culture is the tradition of the Kumari, the living goddess. The Kumari is a young prepubescent girl chosen to represent the divine feminine and serve as a living deity. This article delves into the unique and intriguing lifestyle of the Kumari of Nepal.
The Selection Process
The journey of a Kumari begins with a rigorous selection process. Girls from the Newar community in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, are eligible to become a Kumari. They must meet certain criteria, including having unblemished skin, black hair, and eyes. Moreover, they should come from a specific caste known as the Shakya, which is believed to be the same caste as Lord Buddha. Once selected, the Kumari undergoes an intense and demanding initiation ceremony where she is separated from her family and secluded in the Kumari Ghar (Kumari's residence). This marks the beginning of her unique lifestyle.
The Kumari's Residence
The Kumari resides in the Kumari Ghar, an intricately designed palace in Kathmandu Durbar Square. The palace itself is a piece of architectural marvel, showcasing traditional Newari craftsmanship and design. The Kumari's living quarters are opulently decorated with intricate woodwork and elaborate motifs, emphasizing her divine status.
Isolation from Family
ne of the most distinctive aspects of a Kumari's lifestyle is her isolation from her family. Upon being selected, the Kumari leaves her family and takes up residence in the Kumari Ghar. She is only allowed to leave for ceremonial purposes and must receive special permission for even the briefest of visits to her family.
The Kumari leads a highly regimented lifestyle. Her daily routine involves rigorous rituals, including meditation, prayer, and offerings to the deities. Her diet is also closely monitored, with strict rules regarding what she can and cannot eat. The Kumari is not allowed to consume meat, fish, or dairy products, and her meals primarily consist of rice, lentils, and fruits.
Despite her isolation, the Kumari makes public appearances during religious festivals and special occasions. She is carried in a palanquin during processions, dressed in her elaborate Kumari attire, which includes a crimson silk robe, a crown encrusted with jewels, and a third eye painted on her forehead to symbolize her divine vision.
The Kumari's Power
The Kumari is believed to possess special powers, including the ability to bring good fortune and dispel evil. People from all over Nepal come to seek her blessings, particularly during times of trouble or important life events. Her mere presence is considered auspicious, and her blessings are highly sought after.
Retirement and Life After Kumari
The Kumari's reign is not permanent. She remains in office until she reaches puberty, after which she is retired, and a new Kumari is chosen. The transition to a regular life can be challenging for former Kumaris, as they have spent most of their lives in seclusion and have limited exposure to the outside world. However, efforts are made to provide education and support to help them reintegrate into society.
The Kumari of Nepal embodies a unique and captivating aspect of Nepali culture. Her lifestyle, marked by seclusion, ritual, and divine reverence, is a living testament to the rich cultural heritage of Nepal. While the tradition of the Kumari may seem archaic to some, it continues to thrive as a symbol of devotion, spirituality, and the enduring connection between the people of Nepal and their ancient traditions.