Hindus in Nepal have quite interesting beliefs and religious rituals. Hindus living in Nepal can differentiate from Hinduism in India with some rituals.
Cremation Ceremonies İn Nepal
The most concrete examples of this can be seen especially in rituals within the cremation tradition.
One of the topics that are most excited about Nepal is to be able to witness the ceremonies where the dead are burned. We can assess many temples in this sense in the capital Kathmandu. But I can say Pashupatinath temple would be a very ideal choice.
Cremation Rituals in Nepal
A significant number of people living in Nepal burn their dead in line with religious beliefs. In India, funeral owners can go back their homes with the ashes as they wish. But that’s not the case in Nepal. After the cremation ceremony is completed, the ashes are thrown in the river.
This part makes cremation ceremonies in Nepal particularly unusual. Large crowds could watch the ceremony held at the temple at the same time. It is possible that you will encounter tourists who are watching the funeral with shocked eyes like you. These ceremonies are held entirely in appropriate areas in the coastal areas of the river. Actually, this and similar rituals also reflect a people’s approach to death and life.
Temples can have multiple cremations at the same time. The ceremonies are literally creating a visual astonishment. Because tourists are paid to come in and enter these ceremonies. Moreover, your field of movement is limited when watching the ceremony. Tourists are allowed to take photos or videos in their own area. But they do not allow you to cross over to the other side and they are very sensitive about it.
Why are the Dead Cremated in Nepal?
The reasons for the cremation must be sought entirely in Hinduism. In this belief, the idea that the soul of the deceased will either go to heaven or come back to earth through reincarnation is predominant. We can say that fire is seen as a complete messenger in these ceremonies. According to their belief, the soul is imprisoned in the body. It is only possible to free that soul by burning the dead. This ritual makes it easier for the soul to come back to Earth or go to heaven.
Only men can attend the cremations in Nepal. The fact that women are emotional and likely to cry from behind the dead is explained as the reason. However, this situation is expected to be seen as enthusiastic and joy rather than something to cry and upset because the dead will come to the world again.
Cremations can be costly to funeral owners. Apart from priestly expenses, the money for oil and wood is known to be around $500 today. Of course, this cost is valid for those who prefer Pashupatinath Temple. That’s why the temple in question is more famous as a temple for the rich.
While preparing the dead to the funeral, the officials are performing a lot of actions and rituals. First of all, people involved in the funeral have to wash their hands and faces on the river. On the other hand, the funeral boat is lubricated to not smell the dead. Wrapped in an orange veil, the dead are held on the riverside steps. The dead must surely be in the direction of the flow of the river.
Funeral Owner Has Important Duties
The owner of the funeral is considered the eldest brother. The owner of the ceremony has to bathe in the river and shave his hair before the ceremony. He also has to take off his shoes and wear white clothes. What is even more interesting is that the person in question had to wear these white clothes until a year after the funeral. The Deceased’s wife should come to this area from time to time and offer flowers to the Gods.
Sandalwood wood is preferred to burn the dead. The first kindling is put directly in the mouth of the dead. A gel is also applied between the wood to incite the fire. Relatives of the deceased should quietly watch what happens throughout the ceremony. The dead turn to ash after about three hours with the fire burning with flammable grass. This period is, of course, slightly shorter in women due to their bone structure.
You can come across a monkey around the temples at any time. The presence of these animals adds an interesting dimension to cremation ceremonies. An average of around 70 kg of wood is used for a cremation ceremony. All ashes are painstakingly taken into an iron enclosure and thrown in the river. If you are a bit sensitive, such ceremonies and especially the occurring odor and smoke may occupy your mind for a long time.