Top 5 Places for Asthi Visarjan in India
As per Hindu rituals and customs, the term “Rest in Peace” extends not just to the deceased but also the family members in grief. More than a one-day affair, its ceremonies are such that they allow for the grieving family and the relatives to congregate and respectfully conduct the last rites while praying for the peace of the soul. The whole experience exhibits the true nature of life and ensures the bereaved that the lost one is in a “better place.”
One such funeral ritual is Asthi Visarjan. It is the act of scattering or immersing the last remains (asthiya) of the deceased in the holy river of the Ganges. It is believed that this will release the soul from bondage and help achieve true salvation. Ash immersion is a must for all Hindus, and one crucial thing to remember is that it can be carried out in specific places only.
Some of the most known places for Asthi Visarjan are:
1. Haridwar (Garhwal region of Uttarakhand)
Known as the Gateway to God, Haridwar is considered one of the seven holiest places in India. It is a city located on the banks of the holy river Ganga and is brimming with ashrams and temples. The ashes are immersed in this river with the belief that the soul of the deceased will rest in peace. People from all over the country come here to bathe in the Har Ki Pauri in the staunch belief that this will relieve the soul of all its sins, and they will achieve moksha after demise.
2. Varanasi (Banaras)
Popularly known as Kashi, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. With spirituality and vibrancy in the atmosphere, it is known as the city of Lord Shiva. It is considered an auspicious location for immersing the ashes of your loved ones and is believed that by doing so, one can achieve moksha i.e liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
The ceremony of Asthi Visrajna is concluded by doing pooja, feeding brahmans, and performing shraddha.
3. Allahabad (In Uttar Pradesh)
Officially known as Prayagraj, Allahabad has its own culturally vibrant atmosphere. It is famous for Triveni Sangam (the meeting point of the three rivers) – the Yamuna, the Ganga, and the Saraswati. In addition to this, Allahabad is also the holder of the largest Hindu gathering taking place in ages – the Maha Kumbh Mela.
Being the final resting place for many of its devotees, immersing ashes here assists in union with the supreme soul.
One of the holiest locations in India, Mathura is the birthplace of Lord Krishna. One side of the city is stretched across the river Yamuna and is a popular spot for Asthi visarjan. Being the home of a deity, it is flocked with tourists during the main festivals of Janmashtami and Holi.
To help bring salvation to the soul of the deceased, the ceremonies of Asthi visarjan are carried out at Vishranti Tirth or the Bodhini, Vayu.
Ujjain is an important Hindu pilgrimage destination. It is the home of the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines devoted to Lord Shiva. The city falls on the banks of the sacred river Kshipra located in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. People visit Ujjain to perform the rituals of Asthi Visarjan in the hope of salvation for the deceased.
These places hold some kind of power and magic that helps both the soul of the deceased and the family members in attaining spiritual enlightenment.