A Tower of Silence or dakhma is a wide tower with a platform open to the sky on top of a hill where Zoroastrians brought corpses for vultures to devour as a funeral formality. With its Zoroastrian history, Yazd is home to many of such Towers although they are no longer utilized for their original purpose and currently just serve as a tourist attraction.
Two towers of silence are located on a high hill, about Safaiyeh district, in the south end part of Yazd. The old one is known as Hanjaki Hatria (Indian extraction Zoroastrian), and newer one as Golestan.
There is a well between these two ones tower of silence where Zoroastrians throw down their dead ones. This monument belongs to the Qajar period. The diameter of Golestan tower of silence is 25m and the height of the wall is 6m, from the hill level. The diameter of Hanjaki tower of silence is 15m.
Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. It was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra) in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago. For 1000 years Zoroastrianism was one of the most powerful religions in the world. It was the official religion of Iran from 600 BCE to 650 CE. source
The ZoroastrianTower of Silence is based on the belief that the dead corpse is unclean and preservation of the environment. So the dead are not buried.
The following methods are the least harmful and the most sanitary:
• Towers of Silence
• Stone, above ground level, tombs
• Impervious stone or concrete lined graves source
First they are washed with special ceremony and then the corpse is set on a high construction or tower called Dakhmeh in Persian.
After being cleaned, the corpse is set in front of the sun and the birds eventually come in.The bones of the dead were put in a well-like depth in center of the tower, which was called a stoudan. Men, women, and children were put in separately in different places of the stoudan.
The traditional way of Zoroastrian funeral was almost forgotten in the twentieth century and burying the corpse was used instead. source
Panoramic photo by Ramin Dehdashti