Over 100 young girls participate in ancient “Kumari Puja” in Kathmandu
Kathmandu: Over 100 young girls aged below 10 years old participated in the ancient Kumari Puja, a part of festival dedicated to rain god “Indra Jatra,” in Nepal on Monday.
The mass girls-worshipping-ceremony organized by World Youth Hindu Federation took place in the Hanuman Dhoka located in the world heritage site Basantapur Durbar Square.
In the annual mass Kumari Puja, some 108 young girls belonging to the ethnic Newari community, dressed up as the living goddess Kumari, were worshipped. Most of the girls had painted their forehead with red and yellow color, with special winged eyeliner on eyes as of original Kumari.
In Nepal, Kumari refers to living goddess who is worshiped by both Hindus and Buddhists. Kumari, a pre-pubescent girl chosen based on several physical traits and tough tests, is believed as a reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga, also known as Taleju.
“Kumari Puja is a part of Indra Jatra festival since centuries ago. On the occasion, we take living goddess Kumari to temple of Taleju Bhawani to receive blessings and power. In the similar way, we ask young girls to worship goddess Taleju wishing for more power and protection from diseases and evil forces,” Rajan Maharjan, a priest and the organizer said.
Nepal has a tradition of selecting and worshipping Kumaris, one in each in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts respectively while Kumari of Kathmandu is regarded as the royal and most important one.
During the ritual, participants were offered with flower garlands, sweets and other offerings by the general people. Many of the parents expressed belief that Kumari Puja would bring in luck to their daughters while they have good habits and health like original Kumari.
Sunita Shrestha, who participated in the ceremony along with her daughter, told Xinhua, “Kumari Puja is an ancient culture. We follow this ritual with a belief that our daughters will stay healthy and free from diseases.”
Young girls were seen cheerful while taking part in this interesting ritual.
“I am happy to wear bangles, necklace and so many jewelries today. I am dressed up as goddess Kumari.” eight-year-old participant Shristi Maharjan said.