Later this afternoon we visited Pashupatinath where all the cremations are carried out for Hindus and Buddhists. The cremations are carried out in the open beside the river for all to see. The corpse is prepared and washed in the river , anointed , then wrapped in cloth and bedecked with flowers. They are then carried to the ghats where undertakers place them on piles of wood. If they are Hindu and the father dies the eldest son lights the fire, if a mother dies the youngest son lights the fire. The fire is placed in the mouth of the corpse and the body takes around three hours to burn. When the burning is completed the remains are pushed of the Ghat into the river, if the family is poor and cannot afford enough wood all the remains end up in the river. Whilst this is happening the sons shave their heads and enter a state of mourning. You are able to watch all this from a verandah above, whilst we were there we were smoked out by the corpse burning just below us. It is very morbid but fascinating and it's hard to take your eyes off of it. The undertaker moved some of the wood off the body and we could see the blackened outline of the corpse, including the hole they make in the skull to prevent it exploding. Then he turned it over and revealed a hole in the abdomen from which the intestines were spilling in glorious technicolor. I hasten to add he was just doing his job and not doing it for our benefit. But with that we felt we had seen and smelled enough and crossed the bridge to the holy part. As we wandered through we met some Saddhus who are devout Hindu's who have renounced material life
This evening we went and did more Koras around the Stupa with the Tibetans. So now we are sipping Mojito's and coffee in the bar and trying to relate to all the marvellous things we have seen and done today and wondering how we will remember all this after we have completed our trip as this is only day 3 !!!