Nepal's 'living goddess' eyes banking career

Nepal's 'living goddess' eyes banking career

Living goddess Chanira  Bajracharya. REUTERS

Now, with her time as living goddess drawing to a close — the young virgin deities retire on reaching puberty — Bajracharya is contemplating a career in banking if she makes grades good enough to study commerce or accounting.

Last week she became the first living goddess ever to take the school leaving certificate examination, which was administered to her in her temple, which is housed in her home.

“I want to study commerce or accounting and be engaged in the banking sector,” she told Reuters in a rare interview, dressed in her ceremonial costumes, her eyes rimmed in black kohl and a third eye painted in the middle of her forehead.
Living goddesses are not allowed to mingle freely with outsiders, and lessons are also given privately in the temple. Tutors said the girl, addressed as Kumari, was intelligent and eager to learn. “She has a good memory and does not forget things,” said Abha Awale, a teacher.

Former goddesses have gone on to work or got married after they retired, but not many have pursued an education, with cost possibly an issue: living goddesses receive 1,500 rupees (about $20) a month from the state, but only a nominal sum when they retire, and a good college can be pricey .Young Buddhist girls from Kathmandu’s Newar community are chosen as “living goddesses”, considered to be incarnations of the Hindu goddess for power, Kali.

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