Nepal

Life as a Nepalese 'living goddess'

Rashmila Shakya on life after growing up in a temple where she was worshipped as a goddess
Rashmila Shakya is one of Nepal's former Royal Kumaris who were once considered ‘living goddesses’, the living incarnations of a Hindu deity.  According to tradition, the girl, who is selected as a child must be prepubescent, which means the role is changed every eight or so years. Rashmila was four years old when her selection happened. Her family were given just a week to say goodbye to her before she was moved into a temple which she was only allowed to leave for 13 days each year. She has a written a book called 'From Goddess to Mortal' with Scott Berry.

Image: Rashmila Shakya sitting next to a framed photograph of herself as a Royal Kumaris 
Credit: Viviane Moos/CORBIS/Corbis/Getty Images
Trekking for days to meet the parents I haven’t seen for over a decade
A group of teenagers sent away to get an education return to their home villages to meet family.