Published: 30th November 2019
This start-up will help make your loved ones' last journey pleasant. Here's how
In the next five years, they want to offer services in all metro cities and Tier II and III cities as well
A start-up that offers funeral and post-death rituals services? Erm...sounds a bit...odd, right? That's what I thought at first, but contrary to my assumption, I quickly realised what a relief it must be for bereaved families who otherwise have to run pillar to post to arrange all the necessities for rituals following a death in the family. So, in many ways, Swargadwara.com comes in as a much-needed intervention.
After personally observing the pain points during a death in his family, Plaban Mohapatra realised how difficult it is to arrange for everything when you are time-bound and not in the right state of mind. "I was thinking of launching another app, but then I realised that this space could do with some innovation," he explains. It was in December 2016 that the company was started and the biggest challenge that they had to face was breaking the mindset. "I distinctly remember the time when a lady had seen one of our pamphlets in the newspaper and she called to blast us saying that she didn't like to see such things in the morning. There are people who have laughed at us too," recalls the 38-year-old. But he always knew that there was a need for such a start-up. "Our services are akin to a painkiller, which eases everything and sometimes, is extremely important when you are in pain," he explains. Hiring too, as you can imagine, was tough. But slowly and steadily, they surmounted challenges.
Hearse van | (Pic: Swargadwara.com)
Talking about the kind of pre, during and post-services they offer, Plaban states that they offer mobile mortuary freezers, logistics, newspaper obituaries, catering, funerals and rituals — a complete package, right down to the services of barbers and washermen as well. But imagine, in a country like India where the dialect of the language changes every thousand kilometres, there are varying rituals which are followed by different castes and communities. "We also offer packages with as many as 35 products, all sourced from as many as six to seven vendors, which is much appreciated by our clients," says the Jatni-born entrepreneur who is currently based out of Los Angeles, USA. He travels to Bhubaneswar every three months and works on this start-up.
Today, they have seven staff members, have helped over 1,000 families and offer services in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Berhampur and even Bengaluru. They have even been recognised by Startup Odisha and Startup India. Clearly, these kinds of services are much needed.
Some other services they offer:
- The Shraadh package includes a hotel booking, a priest, a guide, logistics and more, in cities like Allahabad, Kasi and Puri
- Invitation cards and tent-related arrangements
- Funeral logistics like bamboo pyre, last rites saamagri package, pyre wood and so on
- Hearse, helpers and more
For more on them check out swargadwara.com