Gender, death, monkeys and cows at Pashupatinath and Swayambunath

At Pashupatinath on  Bagmati River, hundreds of monkeys roam freely while groups of mourners wash the feet of recently departed loved ones in the river and prepare them for cremation.

Like the Ganges in India,the Bagmati is  a sacred Hindu river. Devotees believe that a ritual bathing or even cremation in this river will break the cycle of samsara (or rebirth) and take them to the afterlife. 

Other monkeys below were photographed at Swayambunath (Monkey temple), high on a hill overlooking Kathmandu.

My fourteen year old son, Eli, loves animals.  We traded the camera back and forth.  He photographed the monkeys and cows.  He couldn't get enough of the monkeys.  They completely engaged him.  I was interested in the families and friends of the departed, the fact that only men were allowed to surround the body, and that women had to sit together well away from the dead. 




Kina Nepal Treck 2011 group: Dave Wood, Linda Solomon, Eli Krag, Shahin Mitha, and Ellen Vallaincourt (above)

All animal photographs by Eli Krag

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