Preparing wood for the burning cremation

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Some cool prepare for collapse images:

Preparing wood for the burning cremation
prepare for collapse
Image by ePi.Longo
The biggest burning ghat in Vanranasi is Manikarnika, the other is Harishchandra. The former hosts up to 200 cremations each day. The process is efficient and businesslike. Above the ghats are huge stacks of wood; the family of the deceased, according to their means, buys one of many funeral packages on offer, including a certain quantity of wood, sandalwood sawdust, ghee, other ritualistic paraphernalia, and a priest’s services.

Orderlies set up the pyre, the body is placed on it, the priest chants and performs the rituals, ghee is poured on, and the pyre is set alight, as the men of the family watch (women stay at home). If the fire doesn’t catch on well, more ghee and sawdust are added. If a family can’t afford enough wood, as is not uncommon, the body is burned in stages: middle part first, while the head and legs stick out, to be pushed in deftly by a pole after the middle part collapses.

A few hours later, the ashes and bits of bones are gathered by the eldest son or a senior male of the family and consigned to the waters, where "untouchables" stand with wire nettings to dredge up the ash and mud, hoping for a gold tooth or nose ring that may have survived the fire (pieces of jewelry may be left on the deceased by the family). Not all who die are cremated — children under five, lepers, sadhus, pregnant women, and snake-bite victims are offered directly to the river.

Fatality Search and Recovery Team prepares for Operation Vigilant Guard
prepare for collapse
Image by Georgia National Guard
Georgia Air Guard Maj. Ken Nichol (left), who commands the Joint Task Force 781 CBRNE Enhanced Response Force Package’s (CERFP) Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT), lays out the plan for finding, and then removing, “remains” from the rubble of a “collapsed hotel” during Operation Vigilant Guard.

Operation Vigilant Guard 2011 is an annual multi-state exercise designed to test interagency cooperation at the local level. It provides an opportunity for state National Guard headquarters, state joint task forces – like the 781st of Marietta’s 78th Homeland Response Force (HRF) – and their various elements to improve command and control, and operational relationships with other CERFP units as well as local, state and federal emergency responders.

(Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Roy Henry, Public Affairs Office, Georgia Department of Defense)

Hwy 167 workers prepare culverts for weekend work in Renton
prepare for collapse
Image by WSDOT
The construction yard on the west side of SR 167 in Renton has three of these 19-foot-wide culverts. These two Scarsella Brothers contract workers are building a scaffolding inside the culverts.
When finished, the scaffold looks like a complicated wheels of wooden spokes. But these culverts need to be reinforced because a huge crane will pull up on southbound SR 167 and reach several hundred feet and snatch them right up and haul them down the highway. No one wants them to collapse ont he way.
Crews will put these culverts inside a 35-foot-deep horizontal hole, fill the bottom with a thin layer of gravel, refill the hole and then add asphalt.
All of this is just 58 hours. That’s pretty amazing.
We have a timelapse camera positioned in the area and will post that video on Monday.

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3 Responses to “Preparing wood for the burning cremation”

  1. Dick Verton

    Great catch

  2. ePi.Longo

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/daverton] tks!

  3. davesix

    Why galvanized rather than concrete?