The Sunday May 30 edition of the Wall Street Journal had a fascinating piece on the Kumari, living child-goddesses worshipped in Nepal. They are held to be reincarnations of the Goddess Durga, are carefully selected for the position by Hindu holy men. A kumari serves till she reaches puberty and then retires and her status changes from divine to mortal. It was noted that after the horrific earthquakes in Nepal that the home of the kumari in Kathmandu remained standing amidst the post-earthquake devastation. Different kumari’s serve in different towns throughout the nation.
Here’s a piece from last year about the recently retired kumari of the town of Patan, Chanira Bajracharya.