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Saturday, 15-Jul-2006 16:58 Email | Share | Bookmark
Towers of silence in Yazd

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Zoroastrians's City
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dakhmeh or Qol-ye Khamushan (towers of Silence):
These are three impressive buildings remaining from several other structures on hilltops outside and in the immediate vicinity of Yazd (about 15 km to the south-west) where the bodies of the dead Zoroastrians would be brought to the foot of the tower so that a ritual ceremony could be held in presence of the relatives and friends of the deceased.
The body was then carried by the priests into the tower where it was laid on the flat stones on the ground ?thus avoiding that earth, water, and fire, the divine elements be contaminated, the soul of the defunct person having already been by Ahura Mazda.
In a short time the body would be torn apart by the passing vultures and crows. The bones were then thrown into a circular pit in the center of the tower. At the foot of the towers stand the remains of the buildings, which once served for the funerary ceremonies.
When the towers were still used for Zoroastrian burials, only the priests were allowed into them. Nowadays, however, some of them have been opened to the public.
Beneath the hill there are several other disused Zoroastrian buildings including a defunct well, two small bad-girs, a kitchen and a lavatory.
The custom of exposing corpses in a tower of silence largely disappeared throughout the Zoroastrian world around 50 years ago, at about the same time that the eternal flame was transferred to the newly constructed Atashkadeh in the center of Yazd.
As a matter of fact, the towers were used until 1987, after which all Zoroastrian dead were buried in the cemetery at the foot of the towers. The site can be reached only by taxi or private car
http://www.avesta.org/ritual/funeral.htm

http://www.livius.org/a/iran/yazd/yazd.html

http://www.salamiran.org/CT/provinces/yazd.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Towers_of_Silence

http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/dakhma33.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/features/parsis/


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