Prince Harry welcomed to Nepal by five virgins in luck and purity ceremony


Prince Harry's visit to Nepal began with a ceremony signifying luck and purity - a welcome from five virgins.

The young women greeted their special guest with gifts of flowers and placed a garland around his neck.

The Panchakanya - five virgins in Sanskrit - welcomed Harry to Kathmandu's world famous Durbar Square in the traditional heart of the capital city's old town.

Signs of the devastating earthquake which claimed almost 9,000 lives in Nepal last April could be seen across the site of ancient temples, palaces and towers dating back centuries.

Props supported the walls of many of the intricately carved wooden and brick buildings while piles of neatly stacked bricks marked the spot where walls or other monuments had collapsed.

When Harry first arrived he walked up to the group of five young women - a lucky number in Nepalese culture - with their status as virgins representing purity.

He accepted their gifts with a smile before heading off for a tour of the area designated a Unesco World Heritage site.

Alisha Awale, 18, one of the five women who welcomed the Prince, said: "I've seen him before on television, I was really excited about meeting him and was wondering what he would be like.

"We freaked out when he was in front of us but it was a really happy moment.

"We welcome him with open hearts to Nepal and hope he enjoys his visit."