Children below 10 years, Pregnant women, babas, and victims of infectious disease are not cremated at the burning ghat, instead weights are attached to the body and the body is passed straight into the loving arms of mother Ganga.Children are considered still pure, pregnant women purified by the life they were carrying, babas are pure (as a rule...) and snake bite victims are considered purified by the venom (as well as well as killed!) as the snake is a holy creature. I didn't find out the reason for not burning victims of infectious diseases...perhaps someone else can shed light on that one.
Alas, after a week or two the bindings tend to rot and the bodies bob to the surface often to be washed up on the opposite shore, one morning I saw 10-15 bodies washed up. 'Beautiful photo' said my boatman happily...but our ideas of beauty differed slightly..I decided to spare flickr that one.