Dakhma or tower of silence
Dakhma or in Avestan: the tower of silence is one of the sacred places for Zoroastrians of Yazd. A tower for the funerary ceremony on a hill close to the Zoroastrian fire Temple in Yazd. Tall towers built of brick or stone, and contain a surface for the corpses. After vultures have picked the bones clean, they fall into a pit below, thereby fulfilling the injunction that a corpse must not suffer contact with either fire or earth.
This change of approach took place in Iran for several reasons.
- Establishment of Dar al-Fonun Medical School in Tehran and opposition to this practice from a medical point of view.
- The growth and expansion of cities led these towers to enter the cities.
Finally, many of the Zoroastrians found the system outdated.
What is a tower of silence?
Soil is one of the four sacred elements and one of the main beliefs of Zoroaster next to the fire. They believed that soil should not be contaminated by the dead body.
Zoroastrians believed that the burial of the dead would cause the soil to be used for development and construction, wasted, and a place of wasted and unwelcome remains.
For example, if the corpses of the Zoroastrian dead were buried in this place, there is no place to expand the city and build a school, a university, a hospital, etc. So they used the crypt for the corpses of the dead. In the Yazd city, there is a place called the crypt of the Mount. At the top of this mountain, there are two famous Zoroastrian crypts which are called Maneckji crypt and Golestan crypt.
This tower or silence tower is divided into several parts:
1- the road toward the tower 2- crypt door 3- Inscription of the crypt 4- Segments inside the crypt 5- Ostudan
-The path to the crypt: Since the crypt was located far from the villages and somehow far from civilization, the path should be used to get there. Part of the road was used by the public to deliver the bodies of the dead; But from the tower of silence to the door, only those responsible could travel.
- Crypt door: One of the ways to protect the corpse was by using an iron or stone door.
-Crypt Inscription: There was an inscription on the top of the door crypt containing information.
-Segments inside the crypt: the inner surface of the tower of silence includes a flat and rounded space that has covered large rocks. It can be divided into three divisions within the catacombs: the men's division, the highest and largest, the women's division, which is the middle section, and the children's section, which is the smallest and lowest.
-Ostudan: The inner surface of the catacombs from the wall towards the center is a slope and in the middle of the crypt, there is a deep well that is a moving rock called "Erwis" at the bottom.