Hindu Funeral at Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal: A Unique and Somber Experience
Visiting a Hindu funeral at the Pashupatinath Temple in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal is an unforgettable experience. As one of the largest temple complexes in Nepal and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a must-visit for any traveler to the country. However, what sets Pashupatinath apart is the daily Hindu funeral ceremonies that take place on its grounds.
The Hindu funeral ceremonies at Pashupatinath Temple are a solemn and emotional experience. Dozens of funerals take place each day, with family members and friends gathered to pay their respects and bid farewell to their loved ones. As a traveler, it’s important to approach this event with respect and sensitivity.
The Hindu funeral ceremony
The ceremony begins with family members gathering around the deceased to perform last rites and say their final goodbyes. The most heart-wrenching moment is when the female family members bid farewell to the dead for the last time. Then, the male members carry the body to the Smashan, the Hindu cremation ground. This area is only accessible to men as it symbolizes death, while women symbolize birth.
At the cremation ground, the body is placed on a funeral pyre and set on fire. It’s a difficult moment to witness, but it’s an important part of the grieving process for Hindus.
The Pashupatinath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the most revered Hindu deities. The temple complex is a sprawling area filled with shrines, statues, and prayer areas. It’s a truly impressive sight and an essential stop on any trip to Nepal.
Photographing the Hindu funeral ceremony at Pashupatinath Temple
As a photographer, it’s important to approach the funeral ceremony with respect and sensitivity. If you’re interested in capturing the event through photography, it’s recommended to hire a guide who can help you navigate the customs and traditions involved. They can also help you find the best angles and lighting for your shots.
Attending a Hindu funeral at Pashupatinath Temple is a unique and somber experience. It’s a chance to witness a culture and tradition that is vastly different from your own. While it can be difficult to witness, it’s also an important reminder of the universality of death and the ways in which we mourn and grieve. If you’re planning a trip to Nepal, be sure to include a visit to Pashupatinath Temple in your itinerary.
- After Nepal quake, river burns with Hindu funeral pyres almost around the clock (by Julie Makinen @Julie_Makinen – LA Times)
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