Sadikshya Shrestha is Miss Nepal 2010
Winners all - Sadikshya Shrestha is flanked by first runner-up Sahana Bajaracharya, 20 (left) and second runner-up Sanyukta Timsina, 19 (right).
Shrestha's toughest rival Sahana Bajracharya was selected the first runner-up and will now represent Nepal at the Miss Earth 2010 pageant in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh city.
As the nearly three-hour contest, including an amazing ballet by Nepal Music School and a hip-hop number, got underway at the Tribhuvan Army Officers' Club in Kathmandu, there was palpable tension all around.
Nepal's oldest and most popular beauty pageant remains under siege.
Since 2006, when the Maoist guerrillas signed a peace accord and returned from their bunkers in the jungles, the contest has been facing opposition by the women's organisation of the former rebels.
In 2008, when the Maoists came to power after winning the elections, Miss Nepal was the first casualty with the All Nepal Women's Federation (Revolutionary) lobbying the council of ministers and preventing the pageant from being held.