Many and we don’t find them weird having had the traditions engraved in our culture and religion for centuries but one of them is the tradition of Kumari the living Goddess.
To simply explain what Kumari is, she’s a little girl
To whom even the kings and queen worship(see the lady in red in the picture below and the man right to her in a grey coat? They are the former King and Queen of Nepal, the queen joining her hands in respect to The Kumari who is inside the golden temple-chariot)
Sidenote: Whenever there would be a newly crowned king, he would go to the Hanumandhoka palace where the Kumari also resides nearby, to receive tika and blessings from the Goddess which would legitimise the kings coronation.
Whose feet must not touch the ground(below she is being carried by her father)
Who sits on a sacred and golden throne
Who lives in a temple palace
Who rides in a chariot during the biggest of festivals to Bless the people of the nation and when the prime ministers and even the foreign dignitaries come to seek her blessing.
Okay to put it all down The Kumari in Nepali culture is a prepubescent girl who is believed to be the reincarnation of the Goddess Taleju. Kumari in literal term means Princess. The little girl is selected from the Bajracharya or Shakya clan of the Newari communities by the head priests, whereas before they used to be selected by the Royal priests and the Queen herself until the abolition of the monarchy.
To be selected, the candidates had to go through a rigorous process.
It is a tradition started centuries ago. It is believed that The Goddess Taleju and the king Jayaprakash Malla used to play a game of dice every night, with the condition that the king never tell anyone of their meetings if he wanted the Goddess to protect and bless his kingdom. But one night the queen followed to the kings chamber getting suspicious over with whom the king was having late night meetings with. When the queen saw the Goddess, the Goddess was angered that the king had betrayed her trust and was disloyal and she disappeared.
The Goddess told the king that, if he wanted to see her again or have her protect his country, he'd have to search for her among the Newari (Shakya) community of Ratnawali, as she would be incarnated as a little girl among them. Hoping to make amends with his patroness, King Jayaprakash Malla left the palace in search of the young girl who was possessed by Taleju's spirit.
Below is a picture depicting the Goddess and the Malla king playing tripasa, a dice game
And lastly when the little chosen one( the Kumari) has her first menstrual cycle, the Goddess is said to have left her body and the little girl is relieved of her holy duties and she can continue her normal life.
Below is a picture of a former Kumari who is going to the school along with her family. She also retains a governmental pension for the remainder of her lifetime.
And here’s some bonus for you guys:
In 1955, King Tribhuvan died six months after the Kumari denied to put tika on his forehead. King Mahendra died in 1971, the year he failed to offer respects to the Kumari. King Birendra had to give up his power and accepted Constitutional Monarchy in 1990, the year the Kumari’s hair didn’t tie into a knot properly. 2001, Kumari broke into rashes and the same year the tragic Nepalese royal massacre shocked the world.
Rumors or reality, the acts of Kumari, the Living Goddess have predicted the tragedy in several occasions. God fearing Nepalese have faith in Kumari and every other deity, making Nepal one of the biggest spiritual destinations of the world.