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Kumari

Photographer: Narendra Shrestha

 

The world Kumari literally means virgin in Nepali. The living goddesses are young pre-pubescent girls that are considered to be incarnations of the Hindu goddess of power, Kali. They are worshipped in Nepal by both Hindus and Buddhists until they reached puberty.

 

Samita Bajracharya became Kumari in October 2010. As Kumari she could no longer go to school, play outside, or touch her friends - all these things are considered to make her ritually impure.

 

Her life as a Living Goddess came to an end with her first menstruation, as reaching puberty means the Kumari turns to a human according to tradition.

 

Samita reached puberty in March 2014. She retired as Kumari and completed the 12-day Newari ritual 'Gufa' or marriage ceremony with Sun God that ended at Bagmati river in Patan and represents the end of her life as the living goddess.

 

Eventhough the transition period is a challenge for any former Kumari, Samita was able to adapt to a normal daily life. She returned to school, and loves to spend time performing the Sarod.