Kumart or 'Virgin' Worship in Kathmandu Valley

Michael Allen

Abstract


KUMAR!   is a goddess who has been a recognized member of the Hindu pantheon for at   least 2,500 years. Throughout the long history of her worship she has   displayed qualities of a highly ambiguous2 kind: on the one hand, she is   literally by name 'virgin' or 'chaste young girl'; on the other, she is   classed as one of a group of mother goddesses who are also the sexual   partners of leading male deities. For example, in the Taittiriya Ara~1yaka, a   third or fourth century BC text, Rudra's spouse Ambika is addressed as   Kanyakumali (Muir 1967, IV: 426-7 and Chattopadhyaya 1970:153-5 5). 

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