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Religious groups in Nepal coming to grips with destruction from earthquake
Religious groups inside Nepal are among the communities struggling to recover from the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the Himalayan nation Saturday. - photo by Mark A. Kellner
Religious communities in Nepal are coming to grips with the devastation left by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that has left at least 4,000 dead in the isolated Himalayan nation, according to the latest reports.

"Tall towers and pagodas, monuments to Nepal's deep Hindu and Buddhist roots, were toppled and reduced to rubble," CNN religion reporter Daniel Burke wrote. "The majestic temple devoted to Shiva, the Hindu deity and its twin, the Narayan temple pagoda, which drew centuries of pilgrims to Kathmandu, are now in ruins."

One Hindu temple in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu that is still functioning is Pashupatinath, where a guide named Ramesh told The Australian cremations are a non-stop endeavor.

"When we have cremation, we have reincarnation," Ramesh told the newspaper. "People want to come here in death because this is a holy place. We believe this temple is where you see the dead being born in a new life. When we die, we burn and we are destroyed. But when we are destroyed in the flesh, the spirit can be anything again."

According to a report from, at least one Protestant church in the country is known to have suffered a catastrophic loss. "Nepali Evangelical Church in Kapan has lost 80 members along with their pastor," the report said. In Nepal, faith communities worship on Saturday, because Sunday is a regular working day, reports indicated.

Umesh Pokharel, president of the Nepal Section of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, told the Adventist Review that four of the movement's churches were partially destroyed. The group's 150-bed Scheer Memorial Hospital, located just outside the capital, sustained very minor damage but "has been inundated with hundreds of people seeking medical treatment," the magazine reported.

While the local Jewish community of Nepal appears to be limited to a Chabad Lubavitch outpost as well as staff at the Israeli Embassy in Kathmandu, thousands of Israelis visit Nepal annually, reports indicate. Some 100 Israelis believed to be in Nepal during the earthquake are unaccounted for, according to the Times of Israel website, which noted "four Israelis were rescued from the slopes of Mt. Everest on Monday."
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