Day 57: Kathmandu
Below the temple and flanked by the burning ghats runs the River Bagmati, which, despite carrying the effluent of 1.5 million people, is a holy river, and eventually joins the Ganges. Monkeys scuttle along the parapet ahead of us as we pause on one of two stone and brick bridges and look down on a sight I've heard about but never witnessed. A number of platforms, sort of jetties for the soul, are built on the river bank and on these the dead are cremated on wood pyres. One or two have bodies burning on them already, others are being cleared after a cremation. Attendants, brisk and businesslike in white aprons and cotton vests, are brushing the platforms clean, sending burning embers flying into the river, where they hit the water with a hiss and bob off down the Bagmati, trailing plumes of smoke like so many miniature steamships.
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- Series: Himalaya
- Chapter: Day 57: Kathmandu
- Country/sea: Nepal
- Place: Kathmandu
- Book page no: 129
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