PHOTO: Nepali Woman at a Puja Ceremony to Honor the Deceased in Pokhara, Nepal

Nepali Woman at a Puja to honor the deceased in Pokhara Nepal

Considering a future visit to Nepal? You’ll want to check out my Essential Travel Guide for Pokhara, Nepal, which is updated regularly.

12 thoughts on “PHOTO: Nepali Woman at a Puja Ceremony to Honor the Deceased in Pokhara, Nepal”

  1. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will benefit from your writing. Cheers!

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  2. Its an absolutely gorgeous photo, I’ll admit. And I would have taken it, but somewhere a voice inside my head says, “Is it right to photograph people in mourning?” I come across this dilemma often. There’s a great shot waiting to be taken, but shouldn’t there be common restrictions about recording people if they’re in mourning for a family member? Its a lack of respect, isn’t it? Could you imagine a funeral of a loved one with someone on the sidelines taking photos of the whole process?

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    • Hi Hamantha: The puja I was attending was for a relative of my family here in Nepal. I had permission to take photos throughout the day and when I took close-ups, asked individual permission. The thing you must realize is that a puja that celebrates the passing of a soul in Nepal (or India or any other place that is Hindu) is just that – a celebration! After a day of food, prayers, and ceremonies, a tray of prayer strings is set aflame, releasing the soul from its earth-bound plane and a joyous celebration breaks out. The festivities go on throughout the night, with dancing, singing and loads of merriment. Nepali do not think of death the same way we do. There is no mourning in the way we experience it. My family loved the fact that I took pictures all day to document the event and soon I will be putting a video up on YouTube, also with their complete approval.

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    • Thanks Ali. I love the fact that we can see the beauty in an older, lined face, especially since I have quite a few of those wrinkles myself these days.

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  3. This is a gorgeous photo. The colours and the contrast works wonderfully. I’ve never heard of a puja before, so I guess I have a little bit of research to do thanks to this photo.

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    • Hi Tom W: A puja is a religious celebration, performed for many dfferent reasons and occasions. For instance, the naming ceremony for a new baby, the ceremony for the first haircut of a child, a wedding puja, whenever priests and worshipers gather together to chant prayers, etc. The diversity pis really amazing, and each one has a specific set of rituals associated with it.

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  4. What an expressive face – although she might be tagged old woman, I wonder how much older she is than you or I who consider ourselves quite young.

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    • So true Heather. Many times women in the villages ask my age and are shocked that I am traveling like I do at 60. Most say, in Nepal, that is not possible. Their lives are so much harder than ours that they age young.

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  5. Pujas whether they be the Buddhist or Hindu variety are a very meaningful way for people to cope with their loss and pay their respects to loved ones at the same time and I believe at least in the Buddhist case, to help the deceased in the afterlife. When I die I would like to have a Buddhist funeral complete with a puja. I wouldn’t want any of my friends and loved ones to be sad for me when I’m gone. All I am like the rest of us is the result of conditions being a certain way. Conditions are a certain way and we come into the world. Conditions are a certain way and we stay in the world. Conditions are a certain way and we leave the world. And it is on that note that I end my little dharma talk for today:)

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