Nepal: Life after divinity for former living goddess

Kumari, Nepal's Living Goddess 2006 Preeti Shakya during her time as the Kumari

A Nepali girl shut off from her family and peers during her decade as a living goddess says she's happy to have settled back into normal life, it's reported.

Preeti Shakya was three when she was separated from her parents to live a secluded life, revered as the Kumari by Hindus and Buddhists. Now 16, she has to study a lot but is "happy nowadays when I think that I can get out of my house anytime I want", China's Global Times newspaper reports.

When a living goddess, Preeti was apparently only allowed out of her palace about once a month, with weekly visits from her mother and older sister. When she finally left Kumari House after reaching puberty, she was afraid of cars and felt everyone was staring at her, she says.

She seems to be adjusting well in her new life, the Global Times suggests. But some human rights groups have called for the abolition of the centuries-old Kumari tradition due to the psychological impact on the chosen girls, the paper says.

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