Source: Religion News Service
KATMANDU, NEPAL, JULY 11, 2001: Officials in Nepal have identified a 4-year-old girl from Katmandu as the new incarnation of a Goddess revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. Preeti Shakya was installed as the new Kumari (virgin goddess) on Tuesday, July 10. Preeti replaces the reigning Goddess who has reached puberty. Goddesses traditionally retire when they reach puberty. The installation of the new Goddess ends a search that began in February. Authorities in the predominantly Hindu kingdom sought girls as young as three from the Buddhist Shakya family -- the same family as Buddhism's founder -- to replace the reigning Kumari. The new Goddess will greet the public in October during the country's biggest festival and will move into an ancient temple in Katmandu. The Kumari is revered as a source of peace and prosperity for Nepal's 22 million people by both Hindus, and Buddhists. Nepals' new king, Gyanendra, will seek the Goddess's blessings as well.