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Anita Shakya (Kathmandu)

Special thanks to Mrs. Nicola Reyk and Mr. Jürgen Hein.
They have kindly given me the permission to use the German text of their WebSite.
Also special thanks to Nepali Times for the photo of Anita Shakya.

Anita Shakya yesteryear and today - Highslide JS
Anita Shakya yesteryear and today
© Nepali Times
Source: Life after the living goddess
more details: here

Data of person:

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Anita Shakya
1978 - 1984

About Anita Shakya:

Anitas time as living child goddess Kumari is over long ago. The young woman is sitting on the roof of the house of her parents in the Nepalese capital city Kathmandu and looks to the temple, where she spent seven years of her childhood.

In her hands she is holding a photo of her foretime as Kumari. It shows her in the age of four years while she was driven around the city, sitting in a magnificent decorated chariot, dressed in red and golden clothes and black framed eyes. "I was very happy at that time", Anita says quietly.

"Devotees always come to worship me", Anita tells, "the whole day." The Kumari temple has an courtyard, at its window the living goddess appears the visitors. "I have enjoyed that", Anita says, "but rather I have played." Twice a year, in a glorious procession, the Kumari will be driven around the cities Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.

Sometimes Anita tells her family about the processions. If the heavy jewel of the living goddess were put around her neck, she had reached another level of consciousness. This condition could not be described by words. "If I had to go back home, I was very sad", she says, "I did not remove my Kumari clothes for days."

The clothes at least she was allowed to take with her. The money and the gifts, she got during her time as a goddess, were kept by the family, which takes care for the Kumaris in the temple. Anita only gets a pension of approx. three hundred rupies per month, less then three euros (rate of exchange 2009: 1 NPR = 0.009 EUR). A little bit of reading and writing she learned at the temple. But an education, to make her living, a Kumari did not get.

Anitas time at the temple is over long ago. But her soul did not get along in the real world. She did not leave the house willingly, knows only a few people outside of her family. Mostly she spends her days in watching TV.

Even if she wants, she would heavily find a husband. To marry a former Kumari is considered to bring misfortune. But Anita does not think about marriage or other plans for the future. "I was a Kumari", she says. "That was the most important time of my life."


In the Himalaya kingdom Nepal the virgin goddess Kumari is embodied by a small girl. Officially Nepal is a Hindu state, but the Kumari has to be from the Buddhist Shakya caste. She must not have any scar at the whole body.

A religious committee appoints the Kumari candidate at the tender age of four years. The chosen girl wil be taken from her family and will be worshiped at the Kumari temple for the rest of her childhood.

The dark temple house made of red bricks and carved wood is located at the old center of the royal city Kathmandu. The place with its sculptures of animals and gods and the pagoda is a point of attraction for tourists and native. Here the child lives nearly without contact to the outside world.

As long as a girl is Kumari, she will be worshiped by the Nepalese, even the king bows in front of her. But at her first menstruation her time as Kumari is over and she will be sent home - without any preparation for the normal life. A new child takes over the role of the goddess.