Pashupatinath: Bring Out Your Dead

Well day 2 in Kathmandu was pretty amazing – we definitely got to experience some of the religious and cultural aspects… and Rick continued to be haunted by monkeys. We also decided for sure that 2 days was enough for us in the big city. It’s really polluted and both of us noticed it in our nose and throat, so we headed off to Pokhara yesterday. But first, I have to share the really amazing ceremonies we saw at Pashupatinath …and Boudha (separate post).

Pashupatinath is considered a very holy place for the Hindu people, it’s is a holy riverbank were the dead are cremated in the open, in a ceremony where their families wash them, dress them with flowers and oils, and eventually… well, I can’t think of a more eloquent way to say it… set them on fire.

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There are a ton of booths outside the area selling things to sacrifice to the gods. Including tikka powder (I’m probably not calling that the right thing) and flowers… the colors are so incredibly vibrant!! Tikka puts Lisa Frank and American Apparel’s neons to shame!

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On one side of the bridge are the poor families, with much more basic ceremonies (the first one shown below). The sons of the deceased have their heads shaved except one little piece on the back. It was beautiful and sad at the same time.

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On the other side of the bridge, the rich are cremated. We happened to be there when someone very famous and important was being cremated – still no idea who – but there was a lotta military, news cameras, and a bunch of people. The Nepali paparazzi are crazy – I mean right up in the dead lady’s face, and telling family to move to get a better shot of her! But no one seemed to mind. The religions here are very laid back it seems in terms of what’s tolerated.

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There were holy men around…. and there were monkeys. I mean Rick has some serious paranoia going on about monkeys now… which I thought was unwarranted, but later that day I discovered they did indeed have it out for him. I will have to let him tell that story in another post, but even before “the incident” as he calls it, we did have a little bit of a run in. There were monkeys all around where we sat, but fortunately, we had a protector – who quickly became Rick’s hero!! We’ll call him David, because he was the little boy with the slingshot that kept the big herds of monkeys away, and he kinda took a liking to us, so he protected us the whole time we were there. Here’s a pic of Rick and the monkeys, and of our friend protecting us!

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6 Replies to “Pashupatinath: Bring Out Your Dead”

  1. You’re posts are great…love learning about this place through you. Thank you so much for sharing. Totally loving the monkey stories with Rick. I know what his welcome home gift will be..

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