Ex-Kumari of Bhaktapur looks forward to devoting her time to studiesThe Kumari of Bhaktapur looks forward to devoting more time to her studies and school activities as she bids farewell to the life of a living goddess.
The Kumari of Bhaktapur looks forward to devoting more time to her studies and school activities as she bids farewell to the life of a living goddess.
Junisha Shakya, who will turn 10 in two weeks, was relieved of her goddess duty after her Bel Bibaha, a Newari tradition where a young girl is married to bel (wood apple) which represents god Vishnu, on Friday.
Junisha was picked the Kumari of Bhaktapur, also known as Ekantakumari, when at the age of seven.
“I enjoyed my time as a goddess and will forever cherish those three and half years. I will now spend more time on my studies and school activities,” she said.
Junisha is a fourth grader at the Bhaktapur-based Rising School.
According to Junisha’s parents, she would have been automatically relived of her duty after she turned 10. However, they decided for an early exit by performing their daughter’s Bel Bibaha as the time was auspicious.
Junisha’s family is now working to make her transition to normal life as easy as possible. “Life as a normal girl after enjoying the status of a goddess will need some adjustment and we want to make that transition smooth,” said Juju Ratna Shakya, Junisha’s father.
Friday-marked the end of the life as the goddess for Junisha and the beginning of the two-day function of “Ehee” at Karunamaya Temple at Nala, Kavre.
Meanwhile, the search for Junisha’s successor has begun. “We cannot keep the Kumari Ghar without the Kumari for long, the selection process is long and vigorous as we need to find someone who matches all the qualities with the goddess Taleju,” said Narendra Joshi, the head priest at Taleju Temple in Kathmandu.
Kumari, incarnation of Taleju, are chosen from Shakya and Bajracharya clans of the Newar community. These young girls have to be devoid of any marks in their body and never been hurt or seriously ill.