"Burning Bodies" – A video from Nepal

nepal-iphone22I’ve thrown together a little video of my first few hours on the ground in Nepal. It runs about four-and-a-half minutes. Have a look. A little commentary follows:

If you’re having trouble viewing the video, click here.

To get to Kathmandu required about 32 hours of travel–including a 15-hour non-stop flight from Chicago to Delhi– with very little sleep.  After a few hours sleep at the very nice Hotel Himalaya in Kathmandu, I was picked up by a wonderful local Christian man who coordinates much of the work of Puresa Humanitarian in Nepal.

We needed to pick up our film crew at the airport but had a couple of hours to kill, so my host took me to one of the holiest spots to the world’s 800 million-plus Hindus.

I was jet-lagged, disoriented, and on sensory overload as we walked along the Bagmati river opposite Pashupatinath Temple. I’ve traveled all over the world but this was the “other-y-ist” place I’ve ever been.

The opposite bank of the river is lined with “ghats”–stone steps that allow pilgrims to come bath in the river and for families to burn the bodies of deceased loved ones and then toss the cremains in the river. (Yes, the same river in which the pilgrims are bathing, not to mention cows are walking and pooping amid the ubiquitous monkeys.


The wind was blowing toward us across the river, which meant we were constantly walking through the smoke of about a half dozen burning human bodies. The smell was . . . distinctive . . . and unforgettable. Gongs and bells were randomly sounding along with an occasional blast from a conch-shell horn. Cows, monkeys, snakes. All that and the jet leg combined to make this feel like a walk through the outer suburbs of hell.

Oh yeah . . . and then there were these guys:

sadhu-1Yellow and White

More video and pics in the days to come. More than you probably care to see.

Aaaaand I'm Back


A week of traveling in Nepal has left me grateful, dazzled and utterly exhausted. Kathmandu. Bairahawa. Pokhara. And a little mountaintop village we could only reach on foot.

terraces-500pxNepal is a place of astonishing beauty. The people are largely warm, friendly and industrious. Oh, and the children are ridiculously cute.


Nepal is 80% Hindu, 11%, Buddhist, 4% Muslim, 4% Kirant, and .9% “Other.”  Somewhere in that .9% are Nepal’s Christians. In those statistics lies the answer to the question: “Why is Nepal such a poor nation.”

I’ll share more thoughts, pics and even a video or two in the days to come.

Re: The Shroud of Turin

I’ve always been of two minds about the shroud. I’ve been skeptical that it is the burial cloth of Christ, simply because the Bible states clearly that Jesus was “wrapped” in “strips” (plural) of linen.

John 19:40–Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

Nevertheless, it’s a pretty mysterious and amazing little artifact. The fact that the image on the shroud is essentially a 3-D negative that current artists can’t find a way to reproduce is fascinating.

Alert Bob Seger. I'm headed to Kathmandu.

kathmandu-city-bReaders of a certain age will understand the Bob Seger reference. I am in fact heading to Nepal in a few days. Work is taking me there to document the amazing work of a couple of organizations combatting human trafficking there. Like this one.

For that and several other reasons, blogging will continue to be pitifully sparse around here for a while. But one of my resolutions for this next trip around the sun is to at least post frequent little links here to things I find interesting, after the fashion of Instapundit.

Here’s a down payment: An amazing shot for shot comparison of the iconic opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark, revealing how very much  Spielberg borrowed from the only adventure serials of the 1930s.

Check it out!