PhotographerChris Jung
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Photographed of candidate, current and former Kumaris. Kumari is the tradition of worshiping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestation of the divine female energy or devi in Hindu religious traditions. The word Kumari, derived from Sanskrit Kaumarya meaning "virgin", means young unmarried girls in Nepali and some Indian languages and is a name of the goddess Durga as a child. In Nepal a Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl selected from the ‘Shakya' or ‘Bajracharya’ clan of the Nepalese Newari community. The Kumari is revered and worshiped by some of the country's Hindus as well as the Nepali Buddhists, though not the Tibetan Buddhists. While there are several Kumaris throughout Nepal, with some cities having several, the best known is the Royal Kumari of Kathmandu. Once selected, the girl moves into the Kumari Bahal, the residence of the Kumari, with her family. She leaves only for ceremonial occasions a few times each year and remains the Kumari until she experiences a serious loss of blood or her first period.