I personally think that sky burial is one of the most beautiful concept on Earth. Sky burial represents the true circle of life. We eat. We die. We get eaten. Even in death, we are still useful and able to sustain another living being’s life.
The sky burial is located on one of the mountain nearby Seda. There is a daily burial that takes place around 1 pm. If you don’t speak Chinese, ask your hostel to take you there. If you do, head down to the town square and negotiate your own price with the drivers available there. We got ours for about 100RMB. That includes a return trip, and he had to wait for us at the sky burial site until we are done.
The process was quite long. There were 5 naked corpses laying down on the floor. A Tibetan monk with a huge cleaver was in charge of chopping the bodies into smaller pieces. To respect the dead, I did not take any pictures of the ritual. It’s an experience you have to see for yourself. 🙂
I did take loads of pictures of the vultures and surrounding landscape, because, well, they were both amazing.
What to expect? Loads of vultures and beautiful mountain landscape. The stench of rotting corpses.
What NOT to expect? A sacred burial. Although it was a burial, the place was swarmed with tourists. There were people taking photographs and there were fences in place to keep the tourists from getting too close to the burial site. Also, the government has big plans for Sichuan tourism that I was so grateful to have ticked Aba province from my travel list before that plan is realized.
Still, an experience worth traveling for if you’ve never seen any sky burial. Which, we haven’t.