Nepal gets new "Living Goddess"

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Kathmandu, Oct 7 : Nepal will get its new three-year-old Kumari "Living Goddess" as Matina Shakya will take her seat at Kumari Ghar here today.

She will succeed Preeti Shakya, who is 11-years old.

According to official sources, a four-member committee comprising priests of Taleju and Kumari Ghar selected her for the position as the reigning Kumari arrived at close to retirement age.

The Kumari, meaning literally virgin in Nepali language, is part of Newari religion and culture in Kathmandu Valley.

Kumaris are a prepubescent girls selected from the Shakya family of the Nepalese Newari community. They are revered and worshiped by some of the country's Hindus as well as the Nepali Buddhists as a source of supreme power.

Kumaris traditionally retire when they reach the age menstruation, receiving an allowance from government.

The tradition of appointing a Kumari by the royal priest has ended with the end of monarchy this year.

In the past, the royal priest used to appoint the Kumari but after the abolition of monarchy, this practice has been abandoned. On Sunday, the Guthi Sansthan had informed President Dr Ram Baran Yadav about the selection of a new Kumari, Nepalnews reported.

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