Nepal gets 3-year-old girl as new living goddess

Kathmandu: A three-year-old girl on Thursday became Nepal’s new living goddess, worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists in the Himalayan nation.

Trishna Shakya took charge as the new living goddess called “Kumari” after her predecessor Matina Shakya retired at the age of 12 years after having assumed the role of living goddess for nine years, the Kathmandu Post reported.

Newly-anointed Trishna Shakya was carried to a temple palace amid a religious ceremony in the capital where she will live until just before puberty.

The ceremony was observed on the eighth day of the two-week-long Dasain festival, the main festival in Nepal.

Trishna was among four finalists from the Shakya clan for the position. The selection process lasted 21 days during which the candidates were put through rigorous tests, including spending a night among the heads of ritually slaughtered goats and buffaloes.

To be a goddess, the girl must have perfect eyes, teeth, must be free of scars and should be patient to be a Kumari. Trishna was born to Bijaya Ratna and Shrijina Shakya at Aawas Chhetra in Dallu locality of Kathmandu.

Hundreds of followers and devotees gathered to get a glimpse of the girl, dressed in a red dress and covered with garlands.

Soon after Trishna’s arrival at the temple palace, her predecessor Matina Shakya left from a rear entrance on a palanquin carried by her family and devotees.