Final rites of Hindus in Pashupati Nath Temple

June 2, 2019

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Félix Leblanc Prat


In Hinduism, the death of a person must be followed by a cremation of the deceased that will allow him to reincarnate in an animal body. In Nepal, about 70% of believers practice Hinduism. When a person dies, they must be taken to a cremation place the same day to be cremated in the public square.

The Pashupatinath temple is one of the most important in the Hindu world. It is located in Nepal, in the Kathmandu Valley, a few kilometers from the center of the city. He welcomes dozens of dead every day to follow the ceremony. The family of the deceased meets, prepares the deceased and his place of cremation with decorations and offerings.

Contrary to Occidental habits of dressing black on the day of funerals or burials, members of the deceased's family must be covered in white during the cremation. The place of cremation depends on the social and economic status of the deceased. The wealthiest can be cremated on the banks of the Bagmati River that crosses the temple square. The ashes will be thrown into the river considered sacred.

The temple has a gold plated roof that stands out from the other temples that were built around to worship Shiva. It's name, Pashupatinath, means "sacred place of all animals", that's why we can observe a multitude of animals like monkeys, cows and yaks in the square.

Some Sadhus have also made the square their place of life and meditation. The Sadhus are men from India who can be easily recognized with their beards and dreadlocks as well as their makeup and traditional clothes. They lead a solitary life dedicated to Shiva and have almost nothing. They are known to beg a few rupees to tourists in exchange for a photo and a blessing.
The Pashupatinath temple is one of the 3 temples of Kathmandu to have withstood the destructive earthquake of 2015. It is, with the temples that surround it, listed as world heritage since 1979.