Death in Nepal

Procedure for the cremation of mortal remains in Nepal

Nepal is a Hindu dominated country so most of the rituals follow core Hindu tradition of cremation. The body will be transported by an ambulance and cremated on the banks of the holy River.

The corpse will be wrapped in a white/red cotton cloth. A garland of some flowers will be stretched along the length of the body and then a mourner will light the funeral pyre. At the end the ashes will be gathered and put into an urn.

This is totally different than what most westerners may think about it. Machine cremation may not be available for all the time and it will be done on an open-public area. The whole process will take approximately 4 hours but sometime we have to be in a queue and wait for additional hour or two.

Religious Services

The great majority of Nepalis are Hindus with sizable Buddhist population and small Christian and Muslim minorities. Services of all of these religions are available in Nepal, although availability of Christian and Muslim services may be limited depending on the area.

Because cremation is used in Hindu and Buddhist ceremonies, burials in Nepal is relatively rare for foreigners.

Mortuaries in Nepal (Place to store the deceased)

The Morgue or Mortuary is maintained by the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) with the capacity to store 32 bodies simultaneously. There are no long-term mortuary facilities in Nepal, and deceased foreigners must either be embalmed and shipped home or cremated here.

Beside TUTH, there are few embassies in Nepal with freezers.

Transportation of Deceased: Cremation may be the only option available

If a foreigner dies in a remote area of Nepal, cremation may be the best option. The following reasons illustrate why cremation may often be the only alternative:

  • The long-distance transportation of remains from a remote area to Kathmandu will often increase the decomposition of the body.
  • There are no good storage facilities for bodies outside of Kathmandu.
  • Nepal suffers from daily power outages of up to sixteen hours during the dry season effectively cutting the ability of most facilities to properly store the remains.
  • Many popular trekking areas cannot be reached in a short period of time; and because of Nepali religion and cultural beliefs, few people will want to handle a body, making transportation arrangements more difficult.
  • Private helicopter companies can make arrangements to retrieve a dead body to Kathmandu and other places, but the cost for doing so can easily come up to anywhere between US$2,000.00 and US$8,000.00, depending on the location.


We provide embalming services. Our staffs are trained & experienced.


There are no crematoriums in Nepal. The remains are cremated over wood. A Religious service can be arranged with the cremation, and if desired, the ashes of the deceased can be collected and shipped in an urn.


Before the body can be shipping from Nepal, the casket can only be sealed in the presence of a consular officer. A Nepali customs official screens the casket through a scanning machine at the Tribhuvan International airport and only after can issues the export declaration.

Exportation of the Remains

Local requirements for the exportation of human remains are as follows:

  • Embalming of the remains
  • Doctor’s embalming certificate
  • Letter of Release from Police
  • Customs Export Declaration
  • Consular officer’s affidavit regarding the shipment
  • Death certificate


The Teaching hospital in Kathmandu follows international autopsy standards by certified doctors from the police.


An Autopsy is not mandatory in Nepal in natural death cases unless the death of a foreign citizen becomes a police issue, e.g. death occurred due to an automobile accident, or a foul-play is suspected.

In cases where next of kin (NOK) requests a waiver of autopsy, the police will need a letter from the NOK with a support letter from the Embassy requesting the waiver of autopsy. Waiver of Autopsy cannot be guaranteed as the local police will make the decision case by case basis depending upon the circumstances surrounding the death.