It has re-developed a crematorium to make it chic, with funeral rites viewable live on the web, bathrooms and lockers for mourners, a cafeteria and a nice garden. Called Mahaprasthanam, which means ‘final journey’ in Telugu, it is located in the posh Jubilee Hills area. Earlier there used to be a derelict crematorium and burial ground over 3.7 acres there, but the grounds have been transformed into a well-landscaped garden with lights and a walk way. The GHMC tied up with Phoenix Foundation to turn it into a modern facility at a cost of Rs 3 crore. Mourners can avail of several services: like a hearse and a store that sells all that’s needed to conduct rituals. An inhouse pandit, of course, is always at hand. Mahaprasthanam also boasts of bathrooms. “There is a belief that one has to have a bath after attending a funeral. In these busy times when everyone has to go back to work, a bath can be had in the premises itself,’’ says an official at the site.
As one heads for a bath, there are lockers available to keep valuables, clothes, wallets and keys. Flowers, an integral part of the send-off, are also available at the venue. Relatives and friends who cannot fly down for the funeral can watch the events unfold on a website as the venue offers live streaming of rituals. The electric pyre has also been refurbished. “This is the first time that the GHMC has taken up the modernisation of a [funeral centre]. We plan to refurbish another 30 such crematoria in Hyderabad,’’ says Special Officer Somesh Kumar. The complex is studded with CCTV cameras and security guards to keep trouble at bay.