Dubai Post 52: Ceremonies at Pashupatinath Temple

This is the Pashupatinath Temple.  As you can can see, there are
a number of cows since they are very sacred in the Hindi religion. 

A view from the top of the ledge over looking the temple. 

Getting the body ready for the cremation ceremony. 
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most sacred Hindi temples and is located in the city of Kathmandu.  It is a must see when visiting Kathmandu but not only for the significance and structure of the temple.  The most intriguing aspect are the ceremonies that take place at Pashupatinath.  I will warn you that these are not joyous festivities.  They are cremation ceremonies where family members say goodbye to their loved ones and pour their ashes into the Bagmati River.

Coming from the Western World, watching this take place can be a bit of a shock.  At first I did not truly grasp what I was seeing.  I then thought to myself, "maybe this is a special ceremony", however I was then told this is normal.  These types of rituals are as common to the Hindu’s as sitting shiva is to the Jews.  At Pashupatinath, these types of ceremonies happen 24/7 365 days a year.

The family gathering for the dumping of the ashes. 
A very sacred tradition in the Hindi culture. 
A body wrapped up waiting to be burned. 
Once you ignore the smell and the thought that you are watching a body being burned, you realize how truly special it is.  This is the proper way to say goodbye in Hinduism and here I was, in Kathmandu, Nepal witnessing it.   

The side of the river I watched the ceremony from. 
Mini temples line the hillside. 
I was unable to go inside the temple since I am not Hindi.   Andy and I watched the ceremonies from the opposite side of the river as Sumit headed inside.  During this time, Andy and I also stopped to have a brief conversation with the Sadhu.  Sadhu (actual meaning is “holy man”) are wandering monks who are dedicated to liberation.  They are constantly praying and meditating to reach moksa.  It is very easy to spot the Sadhu as they dressed in colorful clothing and usually have body paint on.

The Sadhu at the temple. 
I found out my pal here is one of the well known Sadhu
at the temple after I saw him all over the web

A lone Sadhu: To take pictures or interact with the Sadhu you must give donations
as that is their livelihood.  A mere 100 rupees (about $1) will be enough.  
My experience at Pashupatinath was like no other.  The most amazing part about it is that this was culturally eye opening for me.  In Kathmadnu, this is just another day in the life. 

Temple in the background. 


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