Kumari, or Kumari Devi, or Living Durga – is the Nepal’s religious practice of worshiping young prepubescent females chosen from the Nepalese Newar Buddhist community’s Shakya caste as representations of Devi, the holy feminine energy. The word Kumari comes from the Sanskrit language meaning virgin. Kumari is worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists community of Nepal. Kumari the living goddess of Nepal.
This is a fairly common practice in Kathmandu Valley. It is thought to be the embodiment of Taleju, a form of the goddess Durga. The Kumari tradition is practiced in just a few places in Nepal, including Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Sankhu, and Bungamati. However, some Hindus in the nation also worship and pray the Kumari. The selection procedure and functions of the Kumari varies depending on the town.
While there are many Kumari in Nepal, with some cities having several, the most known is the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu, who dwells in the Kumari Ghar, a palace in the city center. Her selection procedure is quite strict. Trishna Shakya, the Royal Kumari as of 2017, is three years old and was enthroned in September 2017. Unika Bajracharya, named Kumari of Patan in April 2014, is the second most significant living goddess.
It is thought that when her first menstruation occurs, the divinity leaves her body. Serious sickness or a significant loss of blood as a result of an injury also results in the loss of divinity. Menarche usually prevents a woman from becoming a Kumari after the age of 16 while the Kumari reigns over Bungamati until her first milk teeth falls out.
Legends of Kumari Practice
There are various tales about the origins of this custom of worshiping Kumari. Nonetheless, many of the inscriptions connect to the narrative of King Jayaprakash Malla, the final Malla dynasty monarch of Nepal.
Every night, the king and goddess Taleju would sit in his chamber and play Tripasa (a dice game), discussing the well-being of the people and the land. But their rendezvous had to be kept hidden. The monarch never informed anybody about Goddess Taleju. The king’s wife got suspicious and followed him to his chamber one night to find out who the king was meeting so frequently. When the king’s wife saw Taleju, the goddess became enraged and told the king that she would never see him again, nor would she defend the country. The King pleaded with her, so the goddess stated that she would only defend the kingdom if he would look for her among the Ratnawali Newar (Shakya) people, where she would be incarnated as a little girl. King Jayaprakash Malla departed the palace in quest of the young girl who had been possessed by Taleju’s ghost, hoping to make peace with his patroness.
King Gunkam Dev, King Jayaprakash Malla’s 12th-century predecessor, is the major figure in one version of this and other stories, rather than Jayaprakash Malla.
According to a third version of the story, during King Jayaprakash Malla’s reign, a little girl was exiled from the city because it was suspected that the Goddess Durga had taken her. When the queen learned of the young daughter’s condition, she became enraged. She insisted on the King accepting the kid and making her the living incarnation of Durga.
Similarly, Taleju’s absence has a story of its own. Some report that the Goddess appeared in person form to King Trailokya Malla every evening. The King and the Goddess, like in many old legends, were debating the country’s plight while playing tripasa. However, one evening, King Trailokya Malla made sexual attempts toward Goddess Taleju. As a result, the Goddess became enraged and refused to enter the palace. The King wept and begged for her freedom as he worshiped her. The Goddess eventually decided to enter the virgin child’s body and come from the Shakya household.
Every year at the Indra Jatra celebration, the Nepalese King obtains the Royal Kumari’s blessings. This practice has changed as of 2008 A.D as the country became the world’s youngest republic.
Selection of Kumari
Every 10 years, a four or five-year-old Shakya girl is chosen. The girl who will be named Royal Kumari must have several attributes. She must be devoid of any blemishes. She must be a virgin with an immaculate body. She must have large black eyes or beautiful expressive eyes, as well as white teeth with no gaps. She must have a clear, sonorous voice, long, slender arms, delicate and soft hands and feet, and straight hair curled to the right. Above all, she should be endowed with 32 excellent attributes known as “Battis Lakshan”. She must be brave and should not be afraid of a disguised guy or an animal sacrifice. Her horoscope must match the king’s.
The process of selecting the new Kumari is very strict and tough process. Process may vary according to the places.
Worshipping the Living Goddess
Kumari – The Living Goddess Of Nepal! Kumari puja is traditionally performed towards the conclusion of Mahastami puja, however it can also be performed on the day of Navami puja. Kumari puja can be performed with Kali puja, Jagaddhatri puja, Annapurna puja, and Shakti puja. Kumari puja celebrates the slaying of Kolasur by the goddess Kali, according to Hindu scriptures. Kolasur, formerly occupied both the sky and the earth. The helpless deities sought Mahakali’s assistance. In response to their plea, she was reborn and, disguised as a virgin, killed Kolasur.
The goddess is claimed to have declared in the Shakta scripture Devi Mahatmyam, or Chandi, that she exists in all female living things in this cosmos. This verse serves as the foundation for Kumari’s whole ceremony. However, while worshiping a goddess, only a young girl is preferred above a mature woman due to her natural purity and virginity.
Kumari is worshipped in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Kumari worship officially began during the post-Vedic period. Pauranik literature describes the 16 various Kumari’s based on their names and ages. In Hinduism, it is thought that until the age of 16, females have numerous images of Devi. These are their names:
Age 1 Sandhya
Age 2 Sarasvati
Age 3 Tridhamurti
Age 4 Kalika
Age 5 Subhaga
Age 6 Parvati/Uma
Age 7 Malini
Age 8 Kubjika
Age 9 Kaalasandarbha
Age 10 Aparajita
Age 11 Rudrani
Age 12 Bhairavi
Age 13 Mahalakshmi
Age 14 Pithanayika
Age 15 Kshetragya
Age 16 Ambika
In Nepal, Kumari is only worshiped for a single day, and these titles listed above are bestowed only for the duration of the ceremony, which is typically only a few hours. The basic goal of a Kumari puja is to awaken the divine in every human being, particularly women. The global awareness of mankind is seen by a Hindu spiritual seeker.
The devotion of the goddess in a little girl symbolizes the worship of divine awareness disseminated across the universe. Because the ultimate goddess is supposed to have created the whole cosmos from her womb, she appears in both animate and inanimate objects. While idol worship symbolizes reverence and acknowledgement of the highest via inanimate objects, human worship represents devotion and recognition of the same superior in conscious individuals.
This is the place where the Kumari – the Living Goddess of Nepal. The Kumari Ghar is situated at the vicinity of Hanuman Dhoka Palace at Basantapur. Travelers can visit the Living Goddess Kumari twice a day (if they are lucky and no special functions take place) generally after midafternoon.
Among architectural enthusiasts, Kumari Ghar is well-known for its wooden carvings. Visitors may see the beautiful woodwork on the windows and tympanum. Kumari is seen as the manifestation of Devi Taleju/Mahismardini Bhagawati on Tympanum’s center picture of Mahismardini Bhagawati. The woodworks of the 18th century are very excellent.
Kumari Ghar is also known for its Terracotta art (created by Mud). Terracotta art is painted red on the four corners of Kumari Ghar’s courtyard. There is a renowned wall painting inside the Kumari Ghar that was painted during the reign of Jaya Prakash Malla, however ordinary people/travelers are not permitted to enter the home to see it.
Kumari Ghar can be described as an ornate three-story wooden structure that harbored a legend.
Kumari, a female divinity, is revered as the living virgin goddess and protector of all living beings. Kumari – the Living Goddess of Nepal, Kumari is the only custom in the world where a lady is worshiped as a goddess in the twenty-first century, and all Nepalese revere this practice. She is held with high regard and dignity in Nepal, particularly during social and religious occasions.
Kumari Ghar is located in Kathmandu Durbar Square, and visitors can see twice a day in case of no special functions. Travelers can experience an excellent example of religious tolerance in Nepal since the Kumari is regarded as the manifestation of Goddess Taleju by Hindus and Tara by Buddhists.