N. Bayranji, A Chief Official Of The Tower, Invited
Us To His House To Be Present At The Burial Of Some Rich Woman.
So We Witnessed All That Was Going On At A Distance Of About Forty
Paces, Sitting Quietly On Our Obliging Host's Verandah.
the dog was staring into the dead woman's face, we were gazing,
as intently, but with much more disgust, at the huge flock of
vultures above the dakhma, that kept entering the tower, and flying
out again with pieces of human flesh in their beaks.
that build their nests in thousands round the Tower of Silence,
have been purposely imported from Persia. Indian vultures proved
to be too weak, and not sufficiently bloodthirsty, to perform the
process of stripping the bones with the despatch prescribed by
Zoroaster. We were told that the entire operation of denuding the
bones occupies no more than a few minutes. As soon as the ceremony
was over, we were led into another building, where a model of the
dakhma was to be seen. We could now very easily imagine what was
to take place presently inside the tower. In the centre there
is a deep waterless well, covered with a grating like the opening
into a drain. Around it are three broad circles, gradually sloping
downwards. In each of them are coffin-like receptacles for the
bodies. There are three hundred and sixty-five such places. The
first and smallest row is destined for children, the second for
women, and the third for men.
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