Tower of Silence, Bombay

1880s - 1900s

Tower of Silence, also known as the dakhma or funerary tower, is where deceased Zoroastrians are exposed to the sky to be devoured by scavenger birds—it’s known as a ‘sky burial’. According to the community’s belief, a dead body is impure not only because of its deterioration and infection but also because evil spirits conquer it quickly. Consequently, cremation and burial are considered inappropriate, and the use of dakhma is the most consecrated way of coping with the dead. For more than four centuries, the Zoroastrian or Parsi community has been integral to the history and the growth of Mumbai.

This photograph, like many in our collection, was taken during the time of the Bombay Presidency—read about that period in Indian history here.

Tower of Silence, Bombay
1880s - 1900s
With mount - H:32.9 cm x W:41 cm; Without mount - H: 18.8 cm x W: 23.2 cm
Accession No.