GO TO SOURCE
KATHMANDU, NEPAL, December 24, 2000: Nepal, the world's only Hindu Kingdom, will begin paying a monthly maintenance allowance to its "living Goddesses," chosen girls worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists. The living Goddesses, all referred to as "Sri Kumari," are revered by thousands in Nepal. In accordance with Nepali tradition, a young girl is carefully chosen to serve as a living Goddess. She then moves away from home and resides in a special home, of which each major area of the city has one. She serves until the onset of puberty. Narendra Man Shrestha, a finance ministry official, announced the government would begin paying a monthly maintenance allowance of US$81.00 to the serving living Goddess and a $40.50 rupee monthly pension after retirement. The benefits are seen as a means to uphold the cultural and religious traditions of Nepal, as well as to compensate for the difficulty some of these girls have in getting married.