Only in the remote mountain fastness of Nepal did the practice of glorifying prepubescent girls as living goddesses for years at a time become a deeply rooted cult, and only in Nepal is the tradition nurtured with vigor even today.
In Nepali the word “kumari” means “virgin girl” and are revered in the Newar community. They’re believed to have powers of prescience and the ability to cure the sick, fulfill specific wishes, and bestow blessings of protection and prosperity. Above all, they’re said to provide an immediate connection between this world and the divine and to generate in their devotees maitri bhavana—a spirit of loving-kindness toward all.
To Newar Buddhists, the 'kumari' is regarded as the embodiment of the supreme female deity Vajradevi, a Buddha. To Hindus, she incarnates the great goddess Taleju, a version of Durga.
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