How to Prepare Before a Hindu Funeral

Hindu bodies are almost always cremated.

Hindu bodies are almost always cremated.

Preparing a body for a Hindu funeral in the appropriate way will help ease the deceased’s transition into the next life. Although there is no specific time frame for cremating the body, the process should be completed as quickly as possible and preferably on the same day as the death. In India, the body will stay in the home for a time as the family mourns, but in North America the body is typically removed immediately.


Dress the body in appropriate clothing. Bury men and widows in white clothing, but if the deceased was a woman whose husband whose husband is still alive or a young unmarried girl, dress them in red or yellow.


Anoint the head with Sandalwood if the deceased was a follower of Vishnu or Sacred Ash if the individual was a follower of Shiva.


Place a few drops of water from the Ganges in the deceased’s mouth. Hindus believe the water has purifying qualities and will help the individual attain liberation after death.


Adorn the body with jewels and place holy basil leaves to the right side of the body. If you are family, place flowers such as roses or marigolds around the body. This is done to purify the body which many Hindus believe to be a source of impurity.


Offer rice and milk to the Brahman priests. This is done as an offering to the priests who will perform ritual chants and mantras over the body. After this, take the body to the funeral site. Individuals in India often desire to be cremated on the banks of the Ganges. However, funerals are sometimes practiced on the banks of other rivers when the individual dies abroad.

Source: Opposing Views