Tower of Silence, Mumbai, India
The Tower of Silence is a Dakhma, a religious and ancient place, boasting a past and purpose that could not be grizzlier.
It was here, in accordance with Zoroastrian beliefs, that bodies were arranged in great number, atop the circular raised structure that ensured contact with both earth and fire, as experienced in other methods of dealing with the dead, was avoided. This might not sound too bad. But consider the following.
The bodies arranged on this putrefaction plateau were left, beneath the beating sun, for the carrion birds, usually vultures, to pick the flesh from the slowly-disintegrating corpses. Known as excarnation, the bones, once ‘cleaned’, would, in time, drop through a hole in the tower’s centre and into a dark pit below. It’s a process that doesn’t bear thinking about in great detail and those curious enough to venture to these parts find the experience extremely eerie.
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