• Kumari - the living goddess of Nepal

    Kumari – the living goddess of Nepal

    By  Arachika Kapoor —

    Surrounded by the modern day houses and shops, exists the centuries-old ‘Kumari House’ in the royal palace of Basantapur Durbar Square in Kathmandu. The medieval structure houses ‘Kumari’ – Kathmandu’s ‘living goddess’, who is evoked in a young girl every morning.

    Highlighting symbolism in Nepal’s Newar culture, two white stone lions stand to guard the door as we enter the Kumari House in Kathmandu’s Basantapur Durbar Square. In Nepal, these lions outside a building are first signs that the place holds an important status.

    As we entered the building, a row of people stood in front of three slanted windows waiting for Kumari to come and bless them from there.

    As the legend goes, ‘Kumari’ is an embodiment of goddess Taleju, who ruled the Kathmandu Valley from 12th till the mid-18th century. The kings of the Malla dynasty from the Kathmandu Valley were said to have a good relationship with goddess Taleju, and the goddess offered protection to the kingdom in return for the sincere worship she received.

    The kings and the goddess together used to play Tripasa – a dice game, and during one such game, the last king of Kathmandu was said to have sexual thoughts about the goddess. It was then when she was outraged and punished the king, and left the kingdom unprotected.

    After the king offered multiple rituals, the goddess relented. However, she did not go back to how things were. Instead, she offered to protect the kingdom manifesting her power through the body of a small girl who was to be established. This is how the tradition of royal Kumari came into effect.

    The concept of having a protector deity is prevalent in the Newar settlements, and thus the Kumari House was built, which is one of the finest surviving examples of the Newar architecture.

     

    For a girl to qualify as Kumari, she needs to belong to the 18 monasteries spread in Kathmandu, which means that her family must have kept the lineage pure and must not have married outside their caste for the last three generations. The girl must not have blemishes on her face, not have had major blood loss, should be pre-pubescent, and most importantly, her birth chart should match that of the country.

    After candidates for being the royal Kumari are short-listed, each family is contacted to seek approval if they want their girl to be the next Kumari – Trishna Shakya, aged three, is the current Kumari, who was installed in September this year.

    To evoke the goddess in the young girl, mantras and procedures have been passed on from generations to generations. Each morning, a Hindu and a Buddhist priest evoke goddess in her through tantric rituals, without which the little girl won’t become the goddess.

    Decoding the myths

    “There have been misconceptions about the Kumari going through a selection process where she is put in a room with buffalo heads or going through intimate physical examinations. On the contrary, the selection process is not cruel,” Sumana Shrestha, a social activist involved in the conservation of Nepali heritage, told India Outbound.

    After a girl attains the status of the living goddess, she doesn’t live with her parents, until she hits puberty and another girl replaces her to become the new Kumari.

    Though many think that only a pre-pubescent girl can be the Kumari because menstruation makes her impure, according to Shrestha, it is just because the power and energy of goddess flow in Kumari’s blood and thus after menstruation it is difficult to evoke the goddess in her because of blood loss. Moreover, a young girl is chosen over a mature woman because of her inherent purity.

    Adapting to the changing times

    In the earlier times, the living goddess had to frequently oblige her visitor’s call to bless them. Nowadays, since the society has become more aware of Kumari’s rights for education and personal space as a child, she is allowed to study.

    And so, if you visit the Kumari House between 10:30-16:00 during the day, there are chances that she would be taking private lessons and might not appear in the window.

    There are other 12 Kumaris in Kathmandu besides the one in Basantapur Durbar Square, and together they all form the Kumari worship customs.

    It is worth an experience how people in Kathmandu have preserved the age-old tradition to date and the people strongly believe that goddess Taleju brings good luck and protects the city in the form of Kumari every day.

    Courtesy : India Outbound  / March 2018

    Photo : Residence of Kumari at Kathmandu Durbar Square / Nepal Travel Biz News

     

     

    • News -in- Brief

      NepalTourNews—-

      10 climbers died this season on Mt. Everest

      A total of 10 climbers have died this season on the world’s highest peak – Mt. Everest. A British climber Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, reached the summit on May 25, but collapsed and died only 150m down from the peak. Climber Kevin Hynes, 56, from Ireland died on May 24 on the northern Tibet side. Other deaths from this week include four from India, one person from Nepal, an Irish, an Austrian and an American.

      The Everest summit is too crowded this year. Nepal is facing scrutiny for issuing a record 381 permits, at $11,000 each, for this year’s Spring season. Rising numbers of people climbing and dying on Everest has led for calls for permits to be limited. The number of people climbing Everest in 2019 could exceed last year’s record of 807 people reaching the summit, according to BBC.

      NATO condemns all forms of violence

      The Nepal Association of Tour Operators has condemned all forms of violence and expressed concerns about the incidents of explosion by a splinter group of the Nepal Communist Party recently.

      NATO has urged all political players to find a common ground through negotiations and other peaceful means to address their grievances.

      “ In light of the Visit Nepal Year 2020 and the Government of Nepal’s stated objective of hosting 2 million visitors that year , NATO calls on the Government of Nepal and its agencies to ensure a violence free atmosphere in which tourists can visit and enjoy the beauty of Nepal.”

      NATO is a non-governmental, non-profit making and non-political organization dedicated and committed to promoting in-bound quality tourism, and developing new and exciting tourism products.

      HAN elects new executive body

      Kathmandu : The 46th annual general meeting of Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) has unanimously elected its new executive committee under the leadership of Shreejana Rana. Rana, the Executive Director of Hotel Annapurna. has become the first woman President of HAN. Likewise, Binayak Shah, Prabin Bahadur Pandey , Sajan Shakya and Vishal Kumar have been elected as Ist vice-president , 2nd vice-president , secretary and treasurer respectively.

      The members in the new executive committee are - Amar Man Shakya (Immediate Past President), Dinesh Bahadur Bist, Bidhata Shrestha, Dinesh Tuladhar, Binod Shanker Shrestha, Biplav Poudel, Gopal Rana, Tseten Tsatultsang, Ram Kumar Puri, Yubaraj Shrestha, Thakur Prasad Pokharel, Rajendra Bhatta, Gyandra Kumar Bist, Rajan Sbrestha, Rahul Shalcya, Hem Bahadur Gurung, CP Shrestha, Asit Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana, Rahul Choudary and Bhataraj Parajuli.

      Tourist arrival up in Bhaktapur 

      Bhaktapur: A total of 253,863 tourists visited the ancient town Bhaktapur in 2075 BS. The number of tourists coming to observe the historic heritages within the municipality has increased by 34,834 in 2075 BS as compared to the previous year. A total 219,029 tourists including 93,530 from SAARC countries and China, and 125,499 from other countries visited Bhaktapur in 2074 BS while 253,863 tourists including 115,906 from SAARC countries and China, and 137,957 tourists from other countries visited the ancient town in 2075 BS, the Bhaktapur municipality’s Tourism Information Centre stated.

      In 2075 BS, the municipality collected revenue of Rs 265 million in terms of tourist entry fees. The municipality charges Rs 500 per person to tourists from SAARC countries and China, and Rs 1,500 per person to visitors from other countries as tourism fee.

      MoCTCA formed a taskforce to investigate trekking irregularities

      The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation ( MoCTCA ) has formed a taskforce to investigate into the claims for insurance based on fake documents about the emergency rescue of trekkers from high altitudes. The 5- member task force has been given the deadline of June 25 to carry out the investigation into fake documents of trekkers. Some of the trekking agencies, helicopter companies and hospitals are said to be involved in cheating the trekkers making them ill during their trek to different parts of the country.

       

       

       

      Reasons to Visit Nepal

      Plan Your Trip Now !

      Enjoy your vacations in Nepal
      Get Itinerary suggestions from
      Nepaltournews.com

      Beautiful China : Year of Integrated Tourism 2018