Religion: The Towers of Silence

The choicest residential area in Bombay is Malabar Hill, where gleaming mansions and apartments house the city's elite. But the crown of the hill remains a jungle, thick with date palms and banyan trees, girded by two concentric walls that protect it from the encroachments of civilization. Inside the walls, amid the trees, are six low, stadium-like enclosures. Residents of Bombay know them as dokhmas—the "towers of silence." It is to these structures that the city's powerful community of Parsis bring the bodies of their dead, exposing them to the air so that scavenger birds can pick the corpses clean.

The origins...

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