Hindu Universe > Customs > Last Rites

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Hindus generally cremate their dead. the body of the departed is given a bath and dressed in fresh clothes. Fragrant sandlewood paste is applied to the corpse, which is then decorated with flowers and garlands, followed by a small amount of gold dust sprinkled on different parts of the head and face. After some purificatory scriptural chants and worship rituals, the body is placed on the funeral pyre facing either north or south.

A close relative of the departed lights some kindling and walks around the pyre chanting a prayer for the well being of the departed soul. Then he lights the funeral pyre after touching the mouth of the departed with kindling.

In larger cities bodies are cremated in modern crematoria. The ashes are later put in a holy river or sea.

The body of a Hindu saint is not usually cremated but put in a grave or buried in water.

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