Jes Therkelsen (Jagaran Media Center – JMC): Jes was born and raised in New Jersey. He has lived in Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Germany and Greece – where he taught through the Hellenic-American Education Fellowship. Jes graduated from Amherst College in May 2002 with a degree in Geology. After returning to the states to work as a state geologist, he produced a photo documentary which caught the attention of Rider University. He was awarded a grant to author another film, “The Best Part of Everything.” After Jes completed the film he moved to Washington, DC to pursue an MFA in documentary filmmaking at American University's School of Communication. After his fellowship, Jes wrote: “There are many other things I’ve gained from this amazing experience. I’ve definitely become more of a global citizen as this was my first time living in Asia. I have forged lasting friendships and have made professional contacts that will help me in the future."

open and close

22 Jul

The burning ghats along the Bagmati River are no more than elevated stone tables. Today is Saturday, a holy day for Hindus, and there is a waiting line to burn the dead. JB and I stand 20 meters away on the other side of the river, but I can still inhale the smoke, although I try not to think about it.

Do the families of the dead bring their own wood to burn or do they buy it here? JB seems to think they could do both, but he’s not sure. There is a large market outside the gates of Pashupati where I saw flowers and trinkets for sale. I didn’t see any wood, but maybe you have to ask for it. The same might be for the orange cloth the body is wrapped in.

I hear a cry from across the river. I watch two men support a woman as she circles a body, five, six, seven times. She is incapable of supporting herself. A wooden coffin sits next to the pile of wood. JB thinks the box was used to ship the body to Nepal. There are many Nepali who work overseas, he explains.

There are people, like JB and I, taking pictures. I hear the shutters open and close; open and close. There are vendors selling juice or snacks. If we climb the stairs there are chairs to look out across the river into the temple and down onto the ghats. We decide to climb, for a better view of our surroundings.

Posted By Therkelsen

Posted Jul 22nd, 2008

1 Comment

  • Erin Carey

    July 24, 2008


    What you are witnessing and experiencing sounds pretty amazing. What a great great opportunity. I wish you all the best on the rest of your adventure! Congrats

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