Nepalese ten-year-old living goddess stripped of her status after trip to USA

A 10-year-old Nepalese girl was stripped of her title as a living goddess because she took a trip to the United States, a news report said Tuesday.

Sajani Shakya from Bhaktapur city east of the capital Katmandu had her status revoked because she broke with tradition by traveling abroad, the state-run National News Agency reported, quoting Narendra Prasad Joshi, chief of the Bhaktapur Taleju Temple.

Sajani was one of several "Kumaris," or living goddesses, in Nepal. She is among the top three Kumaris, who are forbidden from leaving Nepal.

She has toured various cities abroad since last month to promote a documentary film about living goddesses of the Katmandu Valley, and her trip made news in the United States.

Joshi said temple officials decided to replace her as the Kumari of Bhaktapur when Sajani returns home later this week because she broke with tradition.

The living goddesses are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists. The girls are selected between the ages of 2 and 4 after going through several tests.

Kumaris are required to have perfect skin, hair, eyes and teeth, they shouldn't have scars or wounds, and shouldn't be afraid of the dark.

During religious festivals the girls are wheeled around on a chariot pulled by devotees. Living goddesses usually keep their title until their first menstruation.

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