Medi Agrahara cremation ground

Exploring Medi Agrahara Cremation Ground: All You Need to Know

Last updated on June 20th, 2024

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Medi Agrahara Cremation Ground is very old. It is also one of the biggest in Bengaluru, Karnataka. People established it centuries ago. It spans over 50 acres. Every year, they cremate thousands of bodies there. Visiting the incineration ground can be educational. It demonstrates the process of conducting burial services and customs. 

The Medi Agrahara Electric Crematorium provides excellent incineration services. It is for families who want a modern option.

It is inside the esteemed Medi Agrahara. The Electric Crematorium aims to offer its cremation services with care and skill. They also aim to offer short waits.

In this article, we investigate the Medi Agrahara cremation ground. We look at its history and offer insights on what to expect when visiting.

A Brief History of Medi Agrahara Cremation Ground

Established over 300 years ago in the 17th century. Someone established it over 300 years ago in the 17th century. The outskirts of Bengaluru city housed it. Over the centuries, the city grew. It surrounded the cremation ground with homes. It was originally only for Hindus. But, people from other faiths started using its facilities over time. 

Records show the incineration ground has undergone many redesigns and development attempts. They were to deal with the rising burden. Even today, it is one of the city’s oldest and most important incineration facilities.

Layout and sections 

The cremation ground sprawls over a vast area. It has sections for people from different faiths and communities. The main sections are:

  • The Hindu section is the largest. Hindus are the majority there. Thousands of pyres are lit there each year. Wood and CNG furnaces are also available.
  • Muslim section has open grounds. They perform last rites there. Islam practices burial.
  • Christian section: Houses a chapel and small burial ground.
  • The Jain section has facilities for performing last rites. These rites are as prescribed in Jainism, which prohibits cremation.

Medi Agrahara Cremation Ground Process 

The whole process of cremation, especially for Hindus, involves certain rituals and procedures:

  • Hearses and ambulances bring bodies to the crematorium office for paperwork.
  • They arrange the wood and lay the body, along with sandalwood logs, on the pyre in a prescribed manner.
  • An elderly family member lights the pyre as others stand nearby with folded hands.
  • As it burns, priests may chant prayers. You may also add ghee or purifying herbs.
  • Once wholly burnt, the close relatives collect the remaining bones and ashes in a clay pot.
  • Then, people put them in water or save them for later use in death ceremonies.

Other facilities

In addition to the cremation facilities, Medi Agrahara also houses:

  • Pooja and waiting halls are for the last rites, rituals, and prayers. They happen before cremation.
  • Administrative offices: To process paperwork related to issuing death certificates and permits.
  • Priests and staff who facilitate cremations around the clock have accommodation provided to them.
  • Water tanks and taps: For ritual bathing and purification purposes.
  • Open grounds serve as temporary waiting areas. Some also double up for annual death ceremonies and rituals.

Things to keep in mind

The cremation ground at Medi Agrahara sees thousands of cremations each year. A visit there requires sensitivity to certain aspects:

  • Respect the sanctity of the place as the last rites of departed souls are ongoing.
  • Do not disturb or interfere with religious ceremonies and mourning families.
  • You can take photographs, but please do not capture images of rituals without consent.
  • Dress conservatively with full sleeves and avoid bright colours as a sign of respect.
  • Avoid weekends and public holidays when more people visit for death-related rituals

Are there any rules for photography at Medi Agrahara cremation ground?

Here are some key points about photo rules at Medi Agrahara cremation ground:

  • You can take photos everywhere. But, not near pyres where last rites are happening. 
  • Do not take photos of mourning family members or rituals. Only do so with their explicit permission. 
  • Do not use flash or extra lighting. Flashing lights may disturb rituals or bother priests or relatives.
  • Filming is not allowed without local approval. The approval is to manage the cremation ground. 
  • Do not take pictures of partly or wholly burnt bodies on pyres out of respect for the deceased. 
  • Be discreet while taking photos, and do not obstruct paths or crowd around places. You cannot photograph privately owned buildings.
  • Photos should only be for personal viewing. Without consent, no one should use them for any commercial purposes.
  • Follow any instructions security guards give regarding photography restrictions in certain areas.

What are the different cremation methods used nowadays?

Below are the different cremation methods used at Medi Agrahara cremation ground nowadays:

Wood Pyre Cremation:

  • Traditional methods practised by Hindus for centuries. 
  • People use wood logs to light the pyre and burn the body.
  •  Takes 2-3 hours for complete cremation. Biowaste is later collected.
  • Considered the most inexpensive option.

CNG Cremation:

  • Introduced in the 1990s to reduce burning time and firewood use.
  • They place the corpse on a platform above the cremation chamber. 
  •  CNG jets are lit to heat the chamber to around 750–1000 °C
  •  Significantly faster, taking only an hour to incinerate bones thoroughly.
  • More costly than a wood pyre. We manage emissions via the chimney. 

Electric Cremation:

  • The latest and most technologically advanced method.
  • An electric element heats a sterile cremation oven where the body is placed.  
  • Temperature reaches around 1100–1200 °C, reducing time to under an hour.
  • Completely eco-friendly with no emissions. However, it is the most expensive option.

Open-Air Cremation: 

  • Some communities like Parsis and Jains still practice open-air cremation.
  • People place bodies on structures and leave them to sun-air dry for birds to clean bones.
  • Only bones are later collected and placed in structures.

What are the cost differences between these cremation methods?

Typical cost differences between the various cremation methods at Medi Agrahara varies:

Wood Pyre Cremation:

  • The most inexpensive option costs around Rs. 5000-7000. 
  • Includes bare pyre wood, paperwork charges and death certificates.

CNG Cremation:

  • The cost is Rs. 8000-12,000 depending on the timings and the day of cremation.  
  • Higher charges are for cremating bodies during evenings/holidays when gas prices surge.

Electric Cremation: 

  • By far the most expensive method at Rs. 15,000-25,000 per cremation.
  • Price varies according to oven booking time, slot availability, etc. 

Factors affecting overall cost:

  • Time of cremation – Early morning/night slots are cheaper.
  • Day of the week – Holidays/weekends see a 20-30% premium.  
  • The cost of prayer materials like flowers, incense, etc., is extra.
  • Cost of transporting the body to the crematorium if outside Bengaluru.

Subsidies for economically weaker sections:

  • Some options, like CNG and electric cremation, have lower subsidies. These are for cardholders below the poverty line. 
  • Wood pyre remains the most affordable choice for many.

Kaashimukthi is one of the top cremation service providers in Bengaluru. They run the electric crematorium at Medi Agrahara cremation ground.

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