From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Burning the effigy of a person religiously, is called ākṛtidahana. It has been recommended by the dharmaśāstras in the cases where there is enough evidence to believe that a person might have died and neither the body nor its parts were available for cremation.

Rituals for Ākṛtidahana[edit]

  • An effigy is prepared out of palāśa[1] stalks and leaves, 360 in number.
  • These stalks are used in the prescribed manner that 40 pieces for the head, 20 for the chest, 30 for the abdomen and so on.
  • If he had preserved the Vedic fires, then his sacrificial vessels are also consigned to the fire, as it is done in regular cremation when the body is available.
  • In case, the person were alive and returned later, then all the sanskāras or sacraments had to be repeated again including remarrying his own wife.


  1. Scientific name of palāśa is Butea frondosa.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore