Nepal launches electric cremation service

Kathmandu: Nepal has launched an electric cremation service for the first time to phase out the traditional Hindu cremation process using firewood.

The electric crematorium was inaugurated by Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ananda Prasad Pokharel on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

It has been built in Pashupatinath Aryaghat in the capital.

Hindus traditionally cremate the dead in the open alongside holy riverbanks, using firewood.

Govinda Tondon of the Pashupatinath Area Development Trust (PADT) told Xinhua: “The traditional cremation process using firewood has been a major factor contributing to air and water pollution.

“It is not only time consuming but also quite expensive compared to electric cremation. Thus, we are adopting this modern cremation process.”

The traditional funeral process at the Pashupatinath premises along the holy Bagmati river takes more than four hours to fully cremate a body, Xinhua said.

The body is burned in the open air with the help of around 300 kg of firewood, straw, ghee and other elements, it said.

According to PATD, cremating a body in the new crematorium only takes about 45 minutes.