On the river bank opposite, a small funeral procession arrived, carrying a bright red coffin. A group of men, followed by women in saris, stood around for a while chatting, then opened the coffin and pulled out a body, wrapped in a white sheet. The mourners lugged it down to the river, where they left it with its feet in the water. An older gentleman was assisted down the bank to scoop up water and pour it on the eyes of the departed. The face was now exposed; it was a woman, presumably his wife. The family members all took out mobile phones and ritually took final snaps of her. The body was then strewn with flowers, wrapped in orange cloth and carried to the funeral pyre further down the bank.
A young boy climbed into the coffin and tried it out as a boat, paddling it along the river to join the next stage of the ceremony.