Nepal earthquake
Amidst collapsed temples and structures, it is the Kumari Temple alone (not pictured here) that has miraculously withstood destruction Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

Amidst death and destruction caused by the Nepal earthquake, the Kumari Temple housing the nine-year-old girl worshipped as a "living goddess" in Kathmandu's Darbar Square remained unscathed.

Where four major temples in Kathmandu Darbar Square were razed to the ground, the Kumari Ghar, the three-storey architectural marvel now stands unharmed in the midst of the rubble of ancient temples and old palaces.

"Kumari Ghar withstood the devastating earthquake because of Kumari's powers," said 48-year-old Gautam Shakya, an 11th generation caretaker of Kumari.

At the time of the quake, Kumari was blessing her devotees on the first floor of the wood-and-brick house.

"Suddenly, Kumari Ghar started swaying. A guide asked the tourists to think of Kumari and hold on to the wooden pillars tight," Shakya told the Times of India.

Kumari, or the young girl, is worshipped as Taleju (Tulja in India), a form of the fiery goddess Durga. When the girls reach puberty, they are replaced.

The "living goddess" is chosen for physical and mental prowess with required attributes including a "body like a banyan tree, thighs like a deer, eyelashes like a cow and 20 teeth".

The successful candidate also has to prove her bravery by not flinching at the sight of animals being butchered.

Like the Kathmandu temple, the temple of the seven-year-old Kumari of Patan survived damage amidst the rubble around.

Bhaktapur and Patan have separate Kumaris. The Kathmandu Kumari is the most important.

When the shaking first began before noon, the family of the Living goddess of Patan had just finished their meal. Amidst the panic, the child-goddess Yunika Bajracharya seated on her ceremonial altar calmed the family members and told them not to rush out of the building.

"She had her eyes closed as if she was in a trance, told us nothing would happen to us," the goddess' father Ramesh Bajracharya told the Nepali Times.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake has killed more than 7,000 people, and the toll is expected to rise.

The United Nations said more than eight million people had been affected by the 7.9 earthquake