Nepal’s Kumari and the Quake

Amid the devastation of Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, where the old royal palace and Hindu temples were reduced to rubble by last week’s earthquake, one house decorated with carvings of deities stands almost unscathed: the home of the Kumari, the city’s living child-goddess and the nation’s protector.

“We believe it was her powers that might have protected the place,” said Mahendra Shakya, one of the dozen strong family that guards the 10-yearold girl revered by Nepal’s Hindus, “although there are some cracks inside and we are trying to fix them”. Mr Shakya leaned on one of the brightly painted stone lions that guard the Kumari House as he watched troops and rescue teams sift through debris.

Matina Shakya, pictured, Kathmandu’s so-called royal Kumari, is the most prominent of the child goddesses who represent the fearsome Hindu goddess Durga and are worshipped in various Nepali towns.  Mr Shakya said he understood that the Kathmandu Kumari house had also survived the terrible Nepal earthquake of 1934. “She’s the protector of the nation — and purifies the place that she is in”.”  Click here for the USGS website that shows in much further depth about Kathmandu’s proximity to the  epicenter of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake.

from the FT Weekend, 2 May 2015

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