Magazine article Geographical

The Living Goddess

Magazine article Geographical

The Living Goddess

Article excerpt

THE LIVING GODDESS

by Isabella Tree, Eland, 12.99 [pounds sterling] (paperback)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In a rundown, ancient palace in the heart of Kathmandu a young, pre-pubescent girl is worshipped as a living goddess, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists and believed to have the power to bestow blessings on those she favours.

The kumari, chosen from the Newar caste, can be anywhere from three to 12 years old--the girls are replaced before their first period--and is central to part of Nepal's spiritual beliefs, having for centuries been sought out for blessings by everyone from the king down.

Author Isabella Tree delves into this mostly hidden world of centuries-old ritual. She seeks out and spends time with the young women who have been Living Goddesses and tries to understand their lives before, during and after--when they are forced to re-join society as a mortal as well as the feelings of their families and those who venerate them. …

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