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Uttar Pradesh’s first Ashti bank to preserve mortal remains coming up in Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat is one of the biggest and busiest cremation ghats in India and to preserve ashes of pyre, Uttar Pradesh Government will establish ashti bank (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@indiadivine)

As the largest cremation grounds in India, the Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi which is considered one of the most pious places among the Hindus, is one of the busiest, immersion of ashes here is a difficult task. With a view to provide a solution for this, the Uttar Pradesh Government is planning to set up a facility for storing the pyre remains.

This facility has been aptly named as ashti bank and it will help to preserve the ashes so that the last rites of the departed soul can be completed properly as per the rituals.

Sharing details about this initiative, M.P. Singh who is the Nagar Swastha Adhikari, Nagar Nigam Varanasi, said construction of ashti bank – for preserving the ashes — is urgently required at present and so a proposal for its construction at Manikarnika Ghat has been sent to the authorities.

He added that the proposal has been approved by the Government. The entire project will become operational by the next financial year.

About 120 bodies are cremated daily at Manikarnika Ghat and because of this huge numbers, it becomes very difficult for the grieving family, especially those who have come from far away, to wait to collect the ashes. So many leave without taking them.

With the ashti bank becoming operational, these ashes can be stored and handed over to the family members.

As per the Hindu traditions, the immersion of ashes is an integral and vital part of the last rites. It is believed that this enables the departed soul to attain moksha. It should be done within the first 10 days following the death of the person and preferably by one who lights the pyre. In case that is not possible, a friend or a relative can step in.

With the nod for the bank coming through, officials of the Nagar Nigam are now looking for an appropriate place to build it and working out the modalities for its operation.

Located in Varanasi along the river Ganga, Manikarnika Ghat is one of the holiest cremation grounds. The ghat is known as Manikarnika as Sati’s earrings fell here.