KATHMANDU, June 19: Renowned neurosurgeon Dr Upendra Devkota's last rites were performed at the Pashupati electric crematorium on Tuesday.
Devkota's spouse Dr Madhu and daughters Medha, Basudha and Manjari performed the last rites in the presence of friends, relatives and well-wishers before the mortal remains were taken into the crematorium.
Dr Devkota, a towering figure in medicine in Nepal who was instrumental in institutionalizing neurosurgery as a distinct medical discipline in the country, died on Monday at Neuro Hospital, Bansbari. He was 65. He had been diagnosed with bile duct cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma).
The doctor's body was kept on the premises of Neuro Hospital, Bansbari until 1 pm Tuesday for paying last respects. Thousands of people from members of the general public to dignitaries, relatives, friends and well-wishers reached the hospital to bid farewell to the departed soul.
Dr Devkota's body was in daura suruwal and Dhaka topi as per his own wish. He was a man of patriotic fervor.
After doctors at King's College Hospital, London concluded that his cancer was incurable, Dr Devkota expressed a strong wish to spend his remaining days in his home country, and he was flown to Kathmandu . He was then admitted to the Bansbari hospital, which he himself had founded in 2006.
A week before his death, the ailing doctor was taken by helicopter to his birthplace in Gorkha as he wished to visit his birthplace one last time and drink from the Sisnepani Dhara (a stone water spout) located near his family home at Panditgaun.
He had returned from the UK in 1989 after finishing his advanced training in neurosurgery, and founded the first neurological trauma unit in Nepal, at Bir Hospital. He also played a crucial role in establishing the National Academy of Health Sciences at Bir to train future doctors.
Later, he set up his own neuro hospital, and that was where he was to breathe his last.
Dr Devkota's funeral procession started from the Bansbari hospital and made its way to Pashupati Aryaghat via Narayangopal Chowk, Chabahil and Gaushala. A contingent of the Armed Police Force presented a guard of honor at Aryaghat.
According to Akashiraj Ghimire, a relative of the Devkotas, the post cremation rituals will be performed within seven days by the late doctor's three daughters.