Ms Bhandari (centre) was elected president on Wednesday night by Nepal’s parliament
She is the second person to hold the mainly ceremonial role.
The 54-year-old is currently the vice-chair of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist).
Ms Bhandari was defence minister from 2009 to 2011. As president, she has promised to champion minority and women’s rights in Nepal.
Earlier this month, Nepal’s parliament chose its new prime minister, KP Sharma Oli.
Ms Bhandari replaces Ram Baran Yadav, who was the country’s first elected president in 2008 after Nepal abolished its monarchy.
Her election comes shortly after Nepal put in place its new constitution in September aimed at stabilising the country, but which ended up sparking deadly violence, killing at least 40 people.
The constitution defines the majority Hindu nation as a secular republic divided into seven federal provinces.
But ethnic groups in southern Nepal want more territory and rights for ethnic federal states.
Source : BBC