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Nepalese goddess loses title after U.S. tour

 

(RNS) — A 10-year-old Nepalese girl lost her title as a Hindu living goddess because she left the country to promote a film.

Sajani Shakya was the first living goddess – or “kumari” – ever to leave the country. Her June visit to Washington served as a publicity tour for a British documentary that explores the centuries-old kumari tradition.

Officials from Sajani’s temple in the town of Bhaktapur announced July 3 that they would revoke her title and replace her upon her return to Nepal, according to the state-run National News Agency.

The tradition of kumaris dates back more than 300 years. Around the age of 2 or 3, a young girl is selected to the position of goddess based upon a list of 32 “perfect characteristics,” which include perfect skin, hair, eyes, and teeth. A young toddler also must prove herself fearless by withstanding time in a dark room without crying.