in hindu religion after a person dies he’s ought to be burned, for the few who can afford a burning ritual at the holiest of all rivers in the country is a must. the process follows a certain ritual and at the main burning ghat of the city “manikarnika ghat” you can see fires along the shore of the river 24/7.

the ritual is like this as it has been explained to me:

  1. the dead body will be massaged with oil and a fluid that conserves the body a last time by the family members at home
  2. the body will be brought over to varanassi
  3. a time slot will be given to the family, the more money the faster
  4. the body wrapped in golden linen will be decorated with flowers and brought to the main burning site along the narrow alleys
  5. on arrival the people carrying the corpse put it in the water for a last time.
    – cows will eat the flowers swamped ashore later
  6. the hand barrow will be put aside for 30 min to dry
  7. in the meantime the wood will be prepared and this is a masterpiece of work, also to properly calculate the wood that it’s not too much as it’S expensive or too less as the body won’t be burned completely
  8. minimum of 3 hours the fire burns
  9. the family members will utter mantras and hymns
  10. in the morning the ashes will be put to the river by the workers, who also collect the remaining gold, silver and various other stuff that won’t burn

so of course it happens that a family hadn’t had enough money to buy all the wood for the burning, sometimes you see dead bodies in the river…

families who can not afford the whole ceremony, travel here with the ashes of the former family member and devote it to the river.

it’s crazy to watch somehow peaceful and normal and typical indian, as a lot of things that happen somewhere hidden in our country happen in public in india, so you’ll see the burning, sleeping people, urinating people, burbling and farting people and even the bribes for police and other states man in public as if it would be a normal thing

i didn’t take pictures as it’s impolite and i didn’t want to disturb the peaceful moment but some can be found in the internet…


“Burning ghats of Manikarnika, Varanasi” by – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons –,_Varanasi.jpg#/media/File:Burning_ghats_of_Manikarnika,_Varanasi.jpg