Ladakh Funerals

With exception in a few cases, the usual funeral consists of certain ritual practices at home of the deceased before the dead body is carried to a walled oven like structure where prayers associated with funeral rites are done by attending Lamas. Thereafter, the corpse is cremated. After cremation, the ashes are then consigned to a holy river.

In cases of dead person of high status, the ashes are retained in a chorten. The ashes of a high lama are mixed with clay and formed into a small few inches high chorten. Then this chorten is placed in another highly decorated and bejeweled chorten which is kept inside a gompa.

Children below the age of seven or eight and persons dyeing of Smallpox are never cremated. The dead body is disposed off in most auspicious method in each case decided by Lama. The various methods include embalming the body and leaving it on a mountainside or consigning it to the river or burial after embalming.