Kumari Ghar is a palace in the center of Kathmandu city, next to the Durbar square where a Royal Kumari is selected from among several Kumaris. The Kumari is the tradition of worshiping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or Devi. In Nepal, the selection process for her is very rigorous. Kumari is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Taleju until she menstruates, after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury also causes her to revert to common status. During her tenure in the god-house, Guthi Sansthan fund bears her entire expenses including that of her caretakers.
The House of the Living Goddess was built in 1757 by King Jaya Prakash Malla. It was named after the Kumari goddess that is well known as an incarnation of the Taleju goddess. Known for his paranoia and weakness, the king offended a Kumari in some way (various stories speak of an act of sexual indiscretion or not believing a particular girl to be the goddess). So, to overcome that guilt, he built a home for her as an act of atonement. The temple was renovated in 1966.
What to See at Kumari Ghar
Overlooking the south side of Durbar Square, the Kumari Ghar is a three-story brick building richly decorated with wood-carved reliefs of gods and symbols. It is the place where throngs of people make a beeline to get a glimpse of Kumari.
Tourists can enter the courtyard, where there are more beautiful reliefs over the doors, on the pillars, and around the windows. Photos are permitted in the courtyard, but it is strictly forbidden to photograph the Kumari.
The Living Goddess sometimes appears in one of the first-floor windows, especially if her handlers are paid well enough. And she is said to answer devotees’ questions with the expressions on her face. She is most likely to appear in the morning or late afternoon.
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