Kathmandu: A three-year-old Nepali girl was on Thursday anointed the new "living goddess", revered and worshiped by the Himalayan nation's Hindus and Buddhists.
Trishna Shakya will take over the role of 'Kumari' from Preeti Shakya, who was anointed in 2008 at the age of four.
Trishna was on Thursday taken to the Rashtrapati Bhawan for the formal endorsement to assume the role of 'Kumari'. For a girl to become a 'Kumari', a formal approval from the president is required.
She was selected on the recommendation of the Guthi Sansthan Management Committee (GSMC) as her predecessor Preeti retired after reaching puberty.
The living goddess, who is believed to be the human form of goddess Taleju, the highest Goddess of the Malla Kings of Nepal, who ruled Kathmandu Valley between 12th and 18th centuries.
The word 'Kumari' means a virgin girl, therefore, when she reaches puberty she has to retire.
During Indrajatra festival, which was celebrated in Kathmandu last month, the head of the state worships Kumari and takes her blessing.
According to the chief priest of Taleju temple in Kathmandu, Uddhav Karmacharya, a 'Kumari' is selected from among the virgin girls of Shakya clan.
She must have perfect eyes, teeth, must be free from scars and should be fearless and patient.
The selection process lasts three weeks, during which the candidates are put through rigorous tests, including spending a night among the head of ritually slaughtered buffaloes.