Nepalese Temple Of Life And Death

Nepalese Temple Of Life And Death

The Pashupatinath Temple is a World Heritage site since 1979. It is a gigantic temple. The complex has ashrams too. The temple is on the banks of the Bagmati River. Thus far, its connection to the Holy Ganges River in India. Hindus believe Pashupati is incarnation of God Shiva. So, Nepalese regard Pashupati as the national deity.

Thus far, Pashupati may mean a lot of things to the Hindus. Most important is that it is an ancient temple. In the Hindu world, it is one of the most important pilgrimage sites. Hence, people celebrate life and death at the temple.

The complex grounds are a popular location for morning walks. It is a common place for most family rituals. So, it is a destination for casual outings too. Thus far, temple is a destination to view the deity.

The temple is a holy place in its entirety. It inludes the famous cremation sites. Most Nepalese funerals in Kathmandu take place here. Hence, it has become a highly spiritual charged area of the temple. Nepal relates to an extremely intense spiritual experience.

Death Beliefs In Nepal 

There are more than 80 percent Hindus in Nepal. So, Buddhism is the next largest religion with 9 percent of the mix. Then there is Islam with 4.4 percent and Kiratism at 3 percent.

Therefore, Hindu death beliefs, rituals and customs are most common. It is followed by Buddhist culture. Thus far, Hindus and Buddhists both prefer cremation. They both, believe in reincarnation too. The remains are cremated on a pyre made with wood. There are no crematoriums in Nepal. Thus far, religious rites and ceremonies accompany cremation. 

Religious traditions infuse the funeral rituals in Nepal. As such, Hindu Pandits and Buddhist Lamas take a lead role to organise funerals. Their belief is to provide spiritual guidance to the soul of the deceased. Thus far, funerals are divine and meaningful.

Cremation Ghat

More than ninety percent of the people who pass away in Kathmandu are cremated on the ghats. These are on the river bank. Thus far, it is common to see a person cremated only a few hours after death. The bodies burning on the ghats are often covered with marigold. Hindus consider this to be auspicious site for cremation. Hence it is so popular. On certain days there may be more than fifty funerals.

The Kriyaputri Bhavan is an ashram for the mourners. Thus far, this is where the family conduct the funeral rituals or puja. So, they receive the guests here too. As such, much of grief healing may happen here too. The Bhavan has fifty-two rooms. and they are always occupied. It estimates almost 15,000 people may reside at the Kriyaputri Bhavan each month.

Thus far, the acceptance of the Kriyaputri Bhavan plays a prominent role to help maintain Hindu traditions. Otherwise, the recommended thirteen days of mourning and rituals may have restrictions in over populated Kathmandu. Hence, these rituals are becoming difficult to maintain in the changing world, especially outside of Nepal.

Central Mourning Process

The Kriyaputri Bhavan at the Pashupatinath complex is central to the mourning process in Kathmandu. A business leader, Dr Upendra Mahato who lives in Russia helped with the expansion. So, the program was to construct a new building. It included to reconstruct and extend the older building. Furthermore, the project was to restore and expand the existing facilities. Thus far, they were the temples, ponds, gardens and water facilities.

The project was over two stages. So, it was in 2005 and 2011. Hence, when the project was completed, it was handed over to the Pashupati Area Development Trust.

Dr Mahato’s initiative was based on his belief that a country may not prosper if it lacks religious progress. He believes spirituality is the deepest conscience and values by which people live. Thus far, with this in mind, the trust invested in this project. It promotes the religious evolution of the people. Moreover, it helps to preserve the rich and exclusive culture.

Buddhist Death Beliefs

Buddhist Death Beliefs

Buddhist religion, from its beginning, has put death as an event that is central to its culture. Therefore, death rituals and ideologies play important role in the advancement and development of Buddhist culture. Buddhism teaches that death is an essential part of a person’s life cycle and that every death leads to rebirth. The life and death cycles in Buddhism is known as Samsara. This simply means they believe in reincarnation. Buddhists do not fear death because they believe it is not the end. It is the beginning of another journey.

Death beliefs and funeral rituals are very clear in Buddhism. There may be few traditions and cultures that may differ in modern times, however, the belief in reincarnation is one principle that is uniform worldwide.

Buddhists normally prefer cremation. Burials are allowed too. There are no religious rules that govern cremation or burials. Hence, families have a choice according to their preference. The choice for cremation is because Buddhists believe it frees the soul from the body.

Buddhist Creed

Buddhists also believe that everything in life happens as a result of Karma. The actions in a person’s lifetime that may affect their future are Karma. It may be both good and bad. Karma determines a person’s death, the way they die, and rebirth.

Buddhists are always regarded as specialists in death throughout Asia. The dying process is most important and sacred to Buddhist beliefs. Death marks the moment of truth when new life begins.

Buddhism’s teachings are very clear as to what happens after death. To achieve a meaningful death Buddhists follow clear and specific directions about their dying process. Therefore, when death is near Buddhism encourages them to recite their holy scriptures. In preparation for dying, Buddhists will give their final thoughts to Buddha because they believe that it may bring good luck to a new start.

It is the key reason that Chinese and Tibetans are attracted to Buddhism.  Thus, the welfare of the deceased person and the mourners are clear in the Buddhist religion. Buddhism also preaches exactly what happens after death. Furthermore, its links to the way the deceased person has lived their life. There is no other religion in Asia that has such clarity on death and funeral rites. This was the major reason for the successful transition of Buddhism from its origins in Indian culture.

Siddhartha Gautama

Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was in shock when he first saw a dead person. This shock was, even more, when he was applying the death principle to himself; realising that he too would die one day.  It was this thought that resulted in Siddhartha taking all the pleasures and tastes for life from himself. He renounced his luxurious life and went into exile in the jungle searching for spiritual guidance.


In search of divine direction, Siddhartha for many years was living on alms and practicing deep meditation. Siddhartha became a spiritual nomad. He was looking for the company of like-minded people doing the same. He traveled extensively learning meditation with a succession of teachers. Siddhartha was looking at ways to know the human situation that may be liberating. When Siddharta combined the knowledge to restraint with withdrawing from the senses that he learned in meditating he entered a state of mind. Recollecting a quiet illumination moment from his childhood, he was remembering his past lives.  He was also understanding what was keeping him and others being tied to the cycle of rebirth. He came to understand death.

Siddhartha attaining ‘awakening’ or bodhi, was an important experience. He came to be called Buddha, which means ‘awakened’. He realised that death may no longer mean anything to him. Thus, Buddha had death written in Buddhism from its inception.


Buddhists believe that we suffer, and we suffer all the time. It includes the intolerable and undeniable suffering of death. Applying this to our lives, everyone is naturally bound to die. Therefore, the Buddhist religion preaches that there is nothing about us uninformed. Buddhist creed emphasis on change and the absence of enduring identity. Death is a constant occurrence, it is inevitable. Hence, in Buddhism, the scriptures of death are consistent and accepted worldwide.


Buddhism believes in reincarnation. It entirely possible that a dead family member may have been reborn close to the living descendants. They may be capable of one way or another be in a dependent relationship. However, the mass belief of Buddhism is to deny that these beings may be seen as actually being our former relative or a family member who passed away.



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