In Nepal, There is a tradition of worshipping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or devi in Hindu religious traditions. The ritual holds a strong religious significance in the Newar community that seeks divine blessings to save small girls from diseases and bad luck in the years to come.
The History of Kumari Festivals in Nepal
a living Kumari in Nepal is relatively recent, dating only from the 17th century, the tradition of Kumari-Puja, or virgin worship, has been around for much longer. There is evidence of virgin worship taking place in Nepal for more than 2,300 years. It appears to have taken hold in Nepal in the 6th century. There is written evidence describing the selection, ornamentation and worship of the Kumari dating from the 13th century CE.
Girls under the age of nine-ten gathered for the Kumari puja called Kumari, or Kumari Devi, or Living Goddess in Nepal. A Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl selected from the Shakya caste or Bajracharya clan of the Nepalese Newari community. The Kumari is revered and worshiped by some of the country’s Hindus as well as the Nepali Buddhists, though not the Tibetan Buddhists. While there are several Kumaris throughout Nepal, with some cities having several, the best known is the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu, and she lives in the Kumari Ghar, a palace in the center of the city.
The selection process for her is especially rigorous. As of 2010, the Royal Kumari was Matina Shakya, aged four, installed in October 2008 by the Maoist government that replaced the monarchy. Unika Bajracharya, selected in April 2014 as the Kumari of Patan, is the second most important living goddess.
In Nepal a Kumari is generally chosen for one day and worshipped accordingly on certain festivals like Navaratri or Durga Puja. In Kathmandu Valley this is a particularly prevalent practice.