List of Different Types of Disposal of Dead Bodies / Corpses in India

As and when human beings die, the dead bodies or corpses must be properly disposed and get decomposed.

Death in India

The human dead bodies consist of two basic parts, namely:
  • Soft Tissues, (Flesh) which would rapidly get decomposed and 
  • The Skeleton (Bones) which will get decomposed in a number of years, which can also be preserved for many years,  by some scientific methods under certain conditions.
Funeral in India

The following are some of the modes of disposal of the dead bodies / corpses in the World and also in India:-

Normal Methods of Disposal of Corpses:

Practised by the Jews, Christians and Muslims- placing the corpses inside the earth in Coffins (wooden boxes / containers).

Burial Ground in India

Cremation- Practiced by the Romans, Greeks and Hindus- burning the corpses by fire, gas or electricity- burning the soft tissues and the most parts of the skeleton / bones-
Cremation by Fire in India

Gas Crematorium in India
Electric Crematorium in India
The cremation-remains, are known as “Cremains”, containing  larger pieces of the parts of the skeleton / bones, which  would be ground into ash mechanically-  The ashes would be stored in ‘Urns’ and / or sprinkled on landscapes, rivers and oceans.
Dissolving Cremains in Ocean

Rare Methods of Disposal of ‘Corpses’:

Permanent storage in  ‘Above the Ground Tombs’ -called ‘Mausoleums’, – The dead bodies of many ‘Historical Emperors of India have been kept in ‘Mausoleums’.

For instance, ‘Taj Mahal’ is a Mausoleum of Mum ‘Taj Mahal’, the beloved wife of Shah Jahan.

Mausoleum of Mum Taj Mahal in Agra

Sky-Burial or Open Air-Disposal of Corpses – birds and animals would attack the  parts of the dead bodies and eat the flesh-called ‘Towers of Silence’ -Practiced by Tibetan Buddhists and Zoroastrians, 
Sky Burial

Natural Perishing of Corpses Method- The dead bodies would be  kept in the open and the soft tissues would be  allowed to rot and perish, over a long period of time- similar to the ‘sky burial’ disposal – the remaining parts and the bones would be entombed.

Disposal of the Dead Bodies of Military&Naval Personnel and the Persons dying in the ships on Long Voyages:

Sea Burial- the dead bodies would be suitably packed with weight, to enable sinking into the deep sea- would be dropped into the sea  from a ship or airplane- This method is used in the cases of deaths of military and naval personnel and in case of deaths in ships on Long Voyages.

Sea Burial in India

Boat burial- A form of ‘sea burial’, in which the dead body would be kept on a boat and left to get drowned into the sea and the dead body would get perished in the deep sea bed.

Special Types of Disposal of Corpses:
Dissolution in acids or a solution of lye and disposal as a fluid- Called ‘Alkaline Hydrolysis’ – an abnormal mode of disposal of the dead bodies and  considered to be more ‘environmental friendly’ than the other methods, including burial and cremation and especially the open sky burials,


Donation for Research and Study- to Medical Colleges and Institutes, where the dead bodies would be used for demonstrations, dissections, research and study and after some time the parts of the body would be cremated
Corpse in Medical Dissection and Study in India

Mass Burials and Mass Cremations -of a number of dead bodies, during wars, ‘genocides’ and natural disasters such as tsunami and deaths due to epidemic diseases, when a large number of people would die,
Mass Burial in India

Mass Cremation in India
Dismembermentof the dead bodies- where the corpses are divided into various parts and the different parts would be disposed of separately.
Dismemberment of Corpse Parts

The whole dead bodies or some of the parts of the corpses may be preserved by  some of the following methods:

‘Mummyfication’- A sophisticated method of preservation of the dead bodies, by removing the internal organs, dehydrating the bodies and wrapping and covering with linen cloth- practiced by ancient Egyptians,
Mummyfication in India

Stuffing and Preservation-The dead bodies of some well known personalities have been stuffed with suitable material’s after removing the inner parts and the body would be preserved by suitable chemicals,
Corpse of Vladimir Lenin Preserved by Stuffing

Chemical Preservations of Parts of the Dead Bodies– Some parts of the dead bodies would be chemically preserved for a long time, such as those of some of the  saints of the Roman Catholic Christianity,  which are called ‘Relics’,
Relic of Saint Francis Xavier

Method of Plastination-The dead bodies would be ’embalmed’ and preserved by dissection and slicing and replacing the fluids inside the body with inert plastic for anatomical study of the Medical students and for displaying in Museums,
Plastination of Corpse

Keeping Parts of the Dead Bodies in Chemical Preservative Liquids-Some of the parts of the human dead bodies would be kept within preservative chemical liquids in Museums and Medical College Laboratories.
Human Heart From a Corpse Preserved in Chemicals

Related Readings:

Why do Christians in India pray for the souls of their deceased relatives and others?

Why do Hindus in India pray for the souls of their deceased relatives?

Why do Muslims in India pray for the souls of their deceased relatives and others?

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