The Tower of (Noisy) Silence

Bangalore! A city which was once known for its quiet, laid back life. A city known for its greenery, and was even nicknamed Garden City of India, is now quite the opposite. Bangalore is now known for its garbage menace, its traffic woes and its maddening crowd. Along with the crowds came expansion of area and formation of new areas on the outskirts. What was earlier known as the outskirts of Bangalore is now part of the city, and one such area is Hebbal. It was once the extreme north of Bangalore and anything beyond was considered to be out of Bangalore altogether. Jakkur was known only for the Aerodrome located there, amidst acres of greenery and nothingness, 15 years later, we see Jakkur completely developed, with shops, residences etc. built everywhere around.


The area once had many landmarks, and one of them was the Parsee Tower of Silence, which was in an apt location, as there were hardly any people around the place, and the whole area was eerie in itself.


Tower of Silence is a circular, raised structure for excarnation built by Zoroastrians. Zoroastrian tradition considers a dead body to be unclean and hence they offer it to the Vultures and birds of the air so that the Food chain may be complete again. The modern-day towers, which are fairly uniform in their construction, have an almost flat roof, with the perimeter being slightly higher than the center. The roof is divided into three concentric rings: the bodies of men are arranged around the outer ring, women in the second ring, and children in the innermost ring and left for the vultures to come and feed upon.


The tower of silence in Bangalore, located beyond Hebbal, was the place where the Parsee community in the city would come to pay their last rites to the dead and leave them there for the vultures to feed upon. This tradition though, has faded into oblivion because of many reasons, the biggest of which is, Modernisation and expansion of population. The Vultures are of great importance in this system of excarnation and vultures like to be secluded, away from noise and human population, which is why we do not see any of these creatures in and around Bangalore now, which ultimately led to the closure of the Parsee tower of silence in Bangalore.


The Parsee tower of silence is dwarfed by many modern buildings on all sides. Right in front of the gate lies the jam-packed service road of the international airport road, with noises of engines and horns all the time, especially in the peak hours. At the northern side of the property lies the Godrej Woodsman Estate premium apartments from where the tower of silence is clearly visible, happening towards the east is the construction of a few premium apartment buildings and toward the south, lies the Kirloskar Tech park and Colombia Aisa Hospital. All these developments might have been good for Bangalore’s Infrastructure, but has led to the closure of one of the most important structures for the Parsee community in the city.


The Parsee’s are now resorting to burial and some are even considering captive breeding of vultures in remote locations, all of which is proving to be very difficult for which is possibly the smallest religious community in the nation.

Map source – Google Maps

Images – Photographed

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