Kumari is a prepubescent girl, worshipped as the living embodiment of the goddess Taleju, also known as Durga. She maintains the status of a goddess until puberty. The selection process for the Kumari is extensive. Akin to that of the Dalai Lama. Once chosen, her last steps into her new palace were the last time the Kumari’s feet touched the ground until she menstruates. At which time it is believed the goddess has left her body and she will leave the temple and enter the general population as a common girl. Trishna Shakya has been the Kumari of Kathmandu, Nepal since she was 3.
photographer: Michael Greenberg