|After arriving at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, the first place I headed was the Pashupathinath Temple near the airport. It is Nepal’s largest Hindu temple, and is registered as a World Heritage site. It is located along the Bagmati River (the upper reaches of the Ganges River). Along the riverfront, there are an array of open crematioriums and hospices.Those who are close to death come to this place and spend the final days of their life here. It is believed that being cremated immediately after dying is good. The Nepalese Hindu wish to scatter their ashes along the Bagmati River.
As I watched the scene, a deceased person’s body, wrapped in cloth, was brought in one after another, placed on the top of firewood in the crematorium, and burned. In the air was filled with smoke and smell of burning wood. In the river, where the ashes are scattered, children scrounge around, looking for any valuables from the dead bodies.
On the higher ground on the opposite side of the river is a small café that has a view of this scene. I watched the bodies being cremated, one after another, while I sat drinking sweet coffee. As I witnessed in this place, death was not isolated and was accepted closely to their living there, I felt the bottom was profoundly knocked out of my previous view of life and death.