Kumari, the Living Goddess:
The Kumari is a young girl who is believed to be the incarnation of the demon-slaying Hindu goddess Durga. Dating back at least to the Middle Ages, the cult of the Kumari is popular among both Hindus and Nepalese Buddhists - another notable example of the mingling of religious traditions in Nepal. There are about 11 kumaris across Nepal, but the Kumari Devi in Kathmandu is the most important. The selection process for finding the Kumari Devi resembles that of the Tibetan lamas, who are believed to be reincarnations of their predecessors. She is chosen from girls aged three to five in the Buddhist Shakya clan. Elders meet with hundreds of girls, approving only those with 32 auspicious signs of divinity, mostly to do with natural perfection and symbolically significant features. The girls' horoscopes are also checked to ensure they are compatible with those of the current king.
The small group of would-be goddesses are then placed in a darkened room with freshly severed buffalo heads and dancing men wearing demon masks. This is certainly frightening to ordinary girls under five years old, but the goddess would not be frightened. Therefore the girl who shows no fear is likely to be the incarnation of Durga. In one final test, the girl must be able to pick out the clothing of her predecessor.
Thus discovered, the Kumari moves into the Kumari Ghar and is worshipped as a living goddess. Her needs and those of her caretakers are paid in full by the Nepalese government and she spends most of her time studying and performing religious rituals. She only leaves the temple a few times a year during festivals and her feet must never touch the ground, something which would be considered inauspicious. The Kumari's reign comes to an end when she menstruates or bleeds for any other reason, including just a minor scratch. The girl reverts to mortal status and the search for her replacement begins. She is given a modest state pension, but may find it difficult to marry - tradition has it that a man who marries an ex-Kumari will die young.
This picture was taken in Kumari Bahal or House of the Living Goddess, Kathmandu Durba Square. One of many contenders for would be Kumari and through my observations she definately meets the requirements for sure!
Workshop: Hands of Goddess in the making
Critiques | Translate
claudeD (24601) 2012-10-20 8:55
We are neighbours on TE today and I like your portrait shot here very much.Excellent composition and perfect sharpness. Very well done.TFS.
With regards from Luxembourg
SnapRJW (19188) 2012-10-20 9:09
Hello Abmdsudi - The close crop, soft lighting and rich dark colours give this portrait a wonderful intimate feel. It seems as if there is no-one in the universe except this beautiful child and the viewer. I may have been tempted to crop it even closer just to emphasise that feeling and to get rid of some of the very bright highlights. I will post a WS so you can see what I mean. The light in the girls eyes is magical and the glow on her skin perfect. Really top class work with exquisite detailing where it counts. A favorite for me. Have a great weekend Rosemary
PS. I see you don't allow WS postings on your page. Shall I email it to you?
siudzi (24689) 2012-10-20 9:28
An impressive portrait picture executed simply perfectly. Her eyes are amazing and full of unique lights and emotions. No more word needed -- outstanding shot! Bravo~!
TopGeo (38000) 2012-10-20 9:43
Hello Abmdsudi - The close crop,gave dynamic An amazing portrait and informations you have caught a very spontaneous and fresh scene, in a very special atmosphere. A good quality of image, a great sharpness a very interesting composition.
Nice work. Perfect theme about the daily life
Have a nice day. Best regards,
Fis2 (73646) 2012-10-20 10:27
Curious face, beautiful eyes.
Good frame and superb colors.
fabbs99 (6322) 2012-10-20 10:27
Nice note on the Kumari Goddess as widely worshipped in Nepal.The portrait of the young girl is very sharp and brings out true colors of the shoot.Good Crop with nice details. Well done, TFS.
janraiski (374) 2012-10-20 11:01
excellent portrait, nice composition and colors, very impressive.
pajaran (36906) 2012-10-20 11:15
Vrlo interesantan i dobar tekst ...
Lep pogled na devojku sa ukrasima na glavi.
Dobra ostrina i kontrast, lepe boje.
Dobar rad sa lepom fotografijom u radionici.
Lepo lice i oci devojke.
Very interesting and good text ...
Nice view of the girl with the decorations on the head.
Good sharpness and contrast, beautiful color.
Good work with the beautiful photography workshop.
Beautiful face and eyes girls.
All the best.
krzychu30 (9399) 2012-10-20 12:01
it´s excellent stydy of human face.On the one hand it´s so expressiv,but on the other hand very intimate and subtle.I like this interplay of this at first glance completely opposing features.You composed and zoomed the scene perfectly.The lighting,but also colors and contrast between them are superb.Beautiful portrait-this girl has really amazing eyes.Nicely done!
Have a nice weekend
m00n (2187) 2012-10-20 12:21
Amazing look, beautifully captured in a fantastic frame. Beautiful colors and light. All put very natruralnie. Emotions beat of the content Face, are tangible, at your fingertips.
carlo62 (13544) 2012-10-20 14:01
bellissimo ritratto, gli occhi grandi colpiscono molto, bella la luce e ottimi colori.
maria-v1981 (10409) 2012-10-20 14:16
The impact of the eyes on the viewer is strong, fixating, they pull all the attention, black eyes in a warm dark coloured skin contrasting the colourful cloth.
Have a nice Sunday,
delpeoples (45717) 2012-10-20 16:54
Hello dear Abmdsudi
I love everything about this photo, right from the title to the image to the note. The title is extremely clever, beautifully linked to the note and to the religious beliefs of this exotic people. The photo, well, what can I say? It's sensational. I love how you get up so close and personal with your subject. I would never have the guts to do this, especially where the subject is a child. So I congratulate you whole heartedly. The quality of the photo, the colour, the depth the catchlights in this young beauty's eyes, are the finest example of portraiture work. You really are a talen, dear friend. Congratulations.
aliabazari (10165) 2012-10-20 19:41
Hi abmdsudi Dear
Portrait of attractive beautiful and creative displays. Her eyes are very impressive and attractive. Exposure was good. Very beautiful
Thank you for registering for this beautiful picture.
CLODO (24902) 2012-10-21 0:15
An interesting note to explain your portrait, so crip on the wide eyes of this young girl in feast cloth. Excellent blurred and coored background in accordance with the hues of the portrait.
have a good sunday
ourania (13085) 2012-10-21 2:23
this is an absolutely beautiful and captivating portrait. The little girl who might be goddess has a unique and exotic appearance, her steady wet gaze is mesmerising and, when we take into consideration your notes, it's very moving too. I love the way you have placed her at the right side of the frame leaving a colourful blurry background behind her that may reflect the very closed environment and special but oppressive atmosphere of the selection, rituals, life ahead. The immediacy of the sharpness, the suggestive lighting and the beautiful rich colours enhance the fascination of the theme and the glance. I like very much the elegant and eloquent simplicity of your workshop picture as well. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely day,
Noel_Byrne (8073) 2012-10-21 3:34
I love how you have captured this girl so closely, the tight crop brings a real life to her expression, and in particular, her eyes. She seems very intense in the role that she is in, but your note tells perfectly why she would be so serious. Depth of field and colour are beautiful. Thanks for the wonderful image, and the brilliant note, I love what I learn through images here on TE.
All the best
daddo (18635) 2012-10-21 5:27
Salam Abmdsudi. I remember Romeo's words to Juliet in which he says that her eyes are like stars in the heavens.Well, here these eyes are like the black holes in the universe into whose dark depths one can fall and come face to face with eternity. Magical bottomless yet lustrous black pools accentuated by the kohl. Wonderful mastery of light and composition as usual.Salam. Klaudio.
PeterDF (407) 2012-10-21 6:34
A simply stunning photo of this very young, potential Kumari Diva...really a wonderful photograph. The lighting and colors on her face just make for a one-of-a-kind shot here. It would be fascinating to see her whole outfit, too. Your description of the process is very nicely done, too. A beautiful photo, really.
COSTANTINO (42760) 2012-10-21 7:29
a dynamic description of this beautiful
portrait with so many interesting details
verywell composed,your information are
top useful,thanks for sharing
bayno (16423) 2012-10-21 7:58
Ciao Abmdsudi ,
Spectacular portrait, the eyes of this child are beautiful and tell a story, perhaps too small to be involved in such stories, colors and light are wonderful, the beautiful blurred colored BG highlights the subject, incredible sharp and ... a long note which explains the customs and beliefs of this people...wonderful...
dkmurphys (37419) 2012-10-21 9:44
A superb portrait in great colors and lights. The complexity of the clothes and jewelry are the keypoint of this image. Well taken, have a nice week.
Schnappilic (7957) 2012-10-21 10:15
A remarkable portrait from Nepal with great eyes and expression. Splendid work! Congratulations!
All the best!
ACL1978 (6103) 2012-10-21 11:30
Gorgeous shot, Abmdsudi. I amazed by the detail in her eyes alone, never mind the rest of the shot! So much reflected there, and surrounded by such a wonderful innocent expression. The colorful makeup and dress simply serves to highlight the portrait, and the nice DOF brings it out further. Rosemary's WS works beautifully too, though in a pinch I think I'd still take the original, if only to retain the shine of the headband and shoulder decorations.
mkamionka (24808) 2012-10-21 12:41
great portrait. The light is extraordinary and it creates amazing effect here, The skin looks so realistic.
Excellent work, and a very interesting note,
kordinator (13613) 2012-10-22 1:48
Very interesting informative text about the traditions in Nepal.
As portraits of the girls, fantastic.
Excellent focus on the beautiful young face.
Beautiful colors and nice background blur.
marabu61 (4182) 2012-10-22 6:57
a really intense portrait of this young girl, there seems to be a intime conection between the girl and the camera. Superb indeed.
As to the story behind it, I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand I respect the old traditions of the Buddhists and their belives, on the other hand my thoughts go out to the choosen girl, whos lives seems to take a turn to the difficult here. It dosen't seem fair to rob a young girl of her childhood only to cast her aside to a difficult life as an adult later.
have a good day
eldancer1 (17330) 2012-10-22 9:17
Beautiful and the capture and lighting made her look so mysterious. I like your framing. Good dof with nice details. Wonderful colors. Well done, tfs.
Waylim (22467) 2012-10-22 10:43
Beautiful portrait, The best part of this shot is the intense stare of her deep dark eyes, Like looking into deep wells with shinny sparkling water. Very engaging image.
yaya13baut (3344) 2012-10-22 10:59
what a great portrait of the girl with make up on her face.
good focus on her, ilsolated of the blurred crowd.
most of all, what a look she gives you !
Silvio1953 (99199) 2012-10-22 11:51
Ciao Abmdsudi, great portrait of fascinating girl with fantastic eyes, wonderful colors, excellent clarity and splendid light, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
josepmarin (55209) 2012-10-22 12:05
a spectacular portrait, with a great sharpness, which offers us the details of the face of this contender to be Kumari, specially her dark eyes and her impressive look, deep, sincere and direct.
The excellent management of the light increases the effect of the makeup and provides a high quality to the colors.
It is a really superb shot, congrats.
Cricri (87288) 2012-10-22 23:02
Vraiment un très beau portrait, dans les détails , les couleurs, le flou sur le coté, son regard brillant
une note très intéressante, je n'aurais pas eu ce courage là, merci de nous faire découvrir cette coutume si loin de nous
Belle complémentaire des mains de la jeune déesse
Graal (89434) 2012-10-22 23:39
amazing portrait. I like the painted face and decorative elements. Good composition. An interesting comment in note.
Have a nice day.
shevchenko (18243) 2012-10-23 1:44
Good close up to show a beautiful young Nepalese face, very nice her elaborate make up, informative note to introduce their religious practice, interesting composition, distinct portrait shot, well done.
jemaflor (69731) 2012-10-28 1:16
good portrait with an impressive glance, Great brightness for the eyes, nice result with all these colors in the bg.
Angshu (51432) 2012-11-01 4:22
What brilliant bright eyes she's got!
We have got Kumari worship in our parts of India as well, done to the lead-in of our main festival, the worship of the mother Goddess Durga
The envelop of sindoor on her forehead atands out.
Great use of shallow DOF & fine bokeh for her face to stand out
Excellent work my friend!
willperrett (3061) 2012-11-01 10:21
Sorry that I've been away for over a month, and have missed a lot of your postings; I couldn't resist a comment on this however. The eyes certainly have it! It's not just the amazing kohl shadow, but the beautiful catchlights you've managed that bring this delightful portrait to life. Needless to say, the placement of the face off-centre has produced a masterful composition, with just enough space on the left to give balance and tension. Great work.
mirosu (5557) 2012-11-03 2:45
Excellent portrait. Marvelous colors and perfectly optimized crop allowing to concentrate on beautuful eyes of this young girl. Maybe I'd try to crop a bit more the left side to remove the brigt spots. Excellent photo indeed. Have a nice weekend.
- Copyright: abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) (27118)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2010-02-22
- Categories: Event
- Camera: NIKON D200, Nikkor 70-300 f4-5.6 G, ISO 200 RAW
- Exposure: f/4.2, 1/60 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): People [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2012-10-20 8:45
- Favorites: 2 [view]