Vultures are becoming Scarce at Parsi Tower of Silence

ladybird By ladybird, 27th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Philosophy>Eastern

The Tower of Silence is the place where the Parsi ( followers of Zoroaster) leave their dead to be eaten by vultures. Now it is observed that there is a shortage of vultures and the community is alarmed.

Vultures and the Parsi

The Parsi’s, who are followers of Zoroaster follow a peculiar method for disposal of their dead. The body is carried to a large well with concentric circles called a Tower of Silence and left their exposed to nature. The Parsi’s believe that in this way the human being makes a last good deed by giving his body up to birds and nature for a living. In general the bodies so left in the Tower are eaten up by birds like vultures, who thrive on the dead flesh of human beings.

It must be mentioned that the Parsi's were originally from Persia, but escaped to India to escape persecution by Muslims. They landed in India in about the 8th century and have thrived in business and commerce.

As is well known the Parsi Tower of Silence in Mumbai is the place where the Parsi (Zoroaster Followers) takes their dead and leave them there to be fed by the vultures. The Parsi tower of silence is located at Malabar Hill in Mumbai and at one time was a green area. Lots of vultures were available and these ate on the human flesh of the bodies left in the Tower. There are Parsi Towers of Silence in Karachi ( Pakistan) and Surat in India. I have not heard of a Tower of Silence in the USA and UK.

However with increasing population and the fact the Mumbai has become a Mega city with resultant pollution and other factors, the vultures are finding it difficult to survive. Over the decades the vultures are dying away and their numbers have dwindled alarmingly. The Parsi priests are worried as in their faith the Vulture is the bird that eats the dead bodies after they are left in the Tower of Silence. I wonder how the Parsi community is going to solve their problem. In any case many educated Parsi now opt for burial and do not wish to leave their bodies to be fed to vultures. The Indian army Chief who expired some time back was a Parsi (Field Marshal Maneckshaw) opted in his will to bury his body after death.

Parsi priests who are diehard supporters of the philosophy of Zoroaster are not happy at any Parsi opting to get his body buried after death. They want the old rituals to continue, but a shortage of vultures is thwarting their plans


Disposal Of Dead, Parsi Ritual, Tower Of Silence, Zoroaster

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
28th Nov 2015 (#)

Maybe a tower outside busy cities is the way forward to satisfy beliefs and tradition - siva

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author avatar ladybird
28th Nov 2015 (#)

Parsi will not agree to shift their tower out of Mumbai. Thanks siva

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