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Tuesday, December 08, 2009


When does one circumnavigate Janabahaa Dyo anticlockwise? Well, when one is dead.

A high-ranking Buddhist priest belonging to the Newa community passed away on December 3, and his dead body was taken on a funeral procession the next day to the banks of the Bishnumati River where his relatives performed last rites before cremating his body. Now, it so happened that Janabahaa fell on the procession route. Instead of going around Janabahaa in the clockwise direction, as done normally by all living Buddhists, the funeral parade went counterclockwise, following centuries-old tradition.

Friends and relatives attending the funeral procession carry incense in their hands.

Traditionally, the dead body, placed on a palanquin, is carried by relatives, but this one was mounted on a vehicle.

This particular body was wrapped in colorful, gold-yarn embroidered fabric, and kept in a sitting position throughout the cavalcade, indicating the deceased individual's special status.

 Close relatives walk barefoot all the way to the cremation spot, covering their heads with Dhaka shawls. Only male friends and relatives participate in the funeral procession.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.