Sky Burial - WARNING GRAPHIC PICS! (Caro)
Trip Start Apr 18, 2010
37Trip End Jul 25, 2010
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The body is taken to a hill and a monk slices the body open and places it on the hill for the vultures to eat. When first asked if i want to see this ritual i declined but then decided it was something i may never see again so...when in Rome...
The body of the deceased (on in todays ceremony bodies) are taken to a sacrid hill where a monk removes the cloth that the body was wrapped in and makes large cuts in the flesh. The body is then tied to a stake in the ground and the monk steps back as the vultures that have been circling in anticipation come in to feed.
What was so amazing about this experience was that within an hour the entire body gone
It is believed that the body is just a vehicle and once the spirit leaves the body is no longer of use.
These birds are incredible - so large. There are hundreds of them on the hill where on this day 7 of these burials were taking place. They are no doubt the most well fed creatures in this area. There is an uneasy feeling walking among all these birds with bloody faces and with hundreds of tiny bones underfoot.
After looking around i was invited to join a group of Tibetan mourners for some food and Tibetan tea - this 'specialty' is not really my 'cup of tea' (excuse the pun) as it tastes like watery salty warm milk. Mmmmm
Friendly chaps though, and through the language barrier i could decipher that they were asking me to join them over the hill in their home for the night. Alack i refrained - Peace guesthouse seemed the safer option for a lone female traveler
Despite the burials and the vultures swarming the skies this location on the hills is very calming. The snow capped mountains make a spectacular back drop.
Litang town itself is less appealing... The pavements down the main street have been torn up and what looks like raw sewage but is more likely decaying rubbish is being dumped in piles on the street. The stench is repulsive and it's less than pleasant on the eye. The people in contrast are colourful and friendly and the children bellow hello from the across the street and greet you with broad smiles as you pass. They are dirty though - from head to toe. Water is spiratic in many homes and bathing is possibly more like weekly than daily.
I also saw some interesting animals wondering the streets - stray dogs galore but I also saw a cow, several yaks and 2 horses feeding from rubbish bins in the main street.