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Life of a Kumari Goddess: The Young Girls Whose Feet Never Touch Ground

Broadly heads to Nepal to witness the centuries-old tradition of worshipping Kumari, a living goddess manifested in the body of a young girl, to see how life is for the sacred children spending their lives in a temple—and what happens when they grow.

Nepal is small, landlocked country tucked in between China, India, and the towering Himalayas. Its fusion of Buddhism, Hinduism, and local Himalayan religion permeates nearly all aspects of daily life—there are a seemingly infinite pantheon of gods and ritual practices to take part in.

One reflection of Nepal's rich and complex spirituality is the living goddess Kumari. She has been worshipped as a protector over the capital Kathmandu for centuries—and she is believed to manifest herself in the body of a young girl. Kumaris are chosen as toddlers and, once they are named as the deity, their feet can never touch the ground. The sacred children can only speak to their families and they may only leave their temple to watch over religious festivals. When a Kumari gets her first period, she is dismissed and a new one replaces her.

Broadly traveled to Nepal to see what life is like for young girls who become living goddesses.