Pashupatinath Temple is located a few miles outside of Kathmandu, Nepal. It’s Hindu belief that if your body is cleaned, cremated, and sent down the river, that the soul will eventually reach the Ganges and therefore find salvation.
While visiting the temple, there were multiple bodies aflame, as well as a handful of other corpses being cleaned with river water by family members, in preparation for cremation.
The air was thick with smoke from the burning bodies, the sun was bright with intense heat, and the river was more like a narrow stream without any movement. There were marijuana plants growing wild through the cracks in the concrete (as they do all over the city), holy men asking for money in exchange for there picture, monkeys and cattle roaming free and emaciated in random locations, mourning groups of families and friends saying their goodbyes to the dead, fire stokers, and children sifting through the thick water in search of gold teeth that have been dumped with the body ash.
Pashupatinath is one of those places that had me leaving Nepal feeling incredibly grateful for my opportunities in life. Watching a little kid digging for teeth in dead human muck and septic waste so he could feed himself, while another burning body was just above him, struck me pretty deep.