For Hindus, death is a natural part of the human experience. Hindus have long held the belief that the soul, or essence of who we are, does not perish with the body. Rather, the soul changes its dress i.e. current body and then enters into another body after death and starts playing his or her role.

With this perspective, death is a transition point, not an ending. To support the soul’s journey, Hindu traditions incorporate specific ceremonies and observances after someone has passed away. The aim is to allow the individual to move peacefully into their next phase of life. 

Certain steps are taken to honor the deceased and provide spiritual sustenance. The community also offers comfort and closure to grieving loved ones. Overall, the Hindu view does not see death as something to be feared or avoided. It is accepted as the natural order. 

And the soul’s immortality means life continues in a new incarnation. The funeral rites serve to ease this change and reinforce the Hindu philosophy that we are eternal beings, not defined by physical bodies alone. They help both the soul’s departure and those left behind find meaning and acceptance. 

This article is a guide for anyone to understand hindus death in simplest terms along with its proceedings.

What is the history of Hindu death rituals?

 Hindu death rituals have a long history and evolved based on ancient scriptures and tradition. 

So, Hindu death rites blend ancient Vedic origins with regional diversity, evolving over millennia to reflect philosophical concepts while honoring scriptural authority and tradition. The essence of rituals focused on soul’s journey remains.   

Death Rituals

Preparing the Body

The first steps after someone passes away involve preparing the body. 

1. Closing the eyes and mouth- The eyes and mouth of the deceased are gently closed. 

2. Laying the body straight – The body is laid straight with the head facing North. 

3. Cleansing the body – The body is washed with water or Gangajal and dressed in clean clothes. 

4. Applying tilak – A tilak or religious mark is applied between the eyebrows. 

5. Placing flowers – Flowers, usually marigolds, are placed around the body and on the chest.

Wake and Final Rites

6. Once the body is prepared, Wake- Friends and family gather to pay their last respects. 

7. Homa- A priest performs prayers and homa, a ritual fire ceremony to guide the soul. 

8. Shraddh- On the 13th day after death, a shraddh ceremony honours the soul and offers food. 

9. Antyeshti – The final rites, usually cremation, are performed. The body is carried to the cremation grounds while family walk behind. 

10. Ashes immersed- The ashes are collected after cremation and immersed in a holy river like Ganga.

Mourning Period

11. Hindus observe a mourning period after the death known as Samvatsara-Close family members are expected to follow certain restrictions. 

12. Not attending celebrations- They do not attend celebrations or social functions. 

13. Plain clothes- They dress in plain white or light colored simple clothes. 

14. No haircuts – Male mourners do not cut their hair. 

15. Food restrictions- Strict vegetarian meals are eaten without onion or garlic. The mourning period varies with closeness but is typically 11-13 days for spouse and parents. 


Even after the period of grieving is over, Hindus continue cherishing the memory of their loved ones who have died. Photographs and personal belongings of the deceased remain displayed in the home as a means of keeping them close. Every year, ceremonies are held – especially on the anniversary of the death – where the family offers respects.  

Through these traditions and acts of recollection, Hindus pay tribute to those who have passed away while also finding resolution. Their immortal belief in the soul’s endless journey aids this. While the body may cease, death in truth concludes only one phase, not the entirety, of existence for those with faith in rebirth. The deceased live on, not just in spirit but in the next stage of their sacred voyage through life after life. Rituals and remembrance provide solace and closure through affirming this enduring Hindu perspective.   

What is the Significance of Each Offering?

Here are the main offerings made during Hindu funeral rituals and their significance:

The offerings provide spiritual nourishment and ease the soul’s journey by satisfying all needs through symbols drawn from nature and daily life.   

Kaashimukhti, well known funeral & cremation service provider in India who takes care of your loved ones when departed with their hassle free services and team also take care of all arrangements needed.

Also Read : What are the Shraddha Rituals Practised in Hinduism?

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