Politicians, power brokers and the occasional celebrities who come through town hope to be respected and maybe, in a childlike place in their grown-up hearts, genuinely liked. Sajani Shakya, 10, is worshipped.
In Nepal, Sajani is a living goddess, one of about a dozen such goddesses in her homeland who are considered earthly manifestations of the Hindu goddess Kali.
The goddesses of Katmandu are chosen when they are about 2 years old from a Buddhist caste, though they represent a Hindu deity, an example, Whitaker said, of the harmony between the two religions in Nepal.
The king of Nepal has traditionally sought the blessings of the three main goddesses. Hindu and Buddhist priests pick the living goddesses after consulting a horoscope and then finding a girl who meets "the 32 perfections," Whitaker said, from skin "of golden color" to a body "like a banyan tree."
Hat tip: Off the Record