Zoroastrian / Zoroastrian “Dakhmeh” of Yazd

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Zoroastrian “Dakhmeh” of Yazd, the last destination of the body

Our land, Iran, not only has got verified climates in different places but also has hosted different religions and today it has many followers of different religions. Because of this diversity we an see specific customs, ceremonies, and religious constructions which are the evidences of current religions in Iran and show the beliefs and opinions of their followers. Some of these evidences and signs remained from very far past and changed into a cultural and historical heritage of those years.

The Zoroastrian are of religious minority who hold different religious ceremonies based on their religion and beliefs. The followers of this religion have their specific buildings that fire temples are just one sample of these buildings and they are kind of the most important building of Zoroastrian religion. Yazd is a city in which the sign and the sample and buildings of the Zoroastrian can be seen much and in many places of the city you can find the signs of this religion. Tour to Iran  is going to go to Yazd and introduce one of the most interesting works of the Zoroastrian to you. Our destination is “Dakhmeh” which is a little far from the city center and their destiny has been combined with the concept of “death”. This work is one of the symbols of ancient Zoroastrian customs and rites which is related to the burial ceremony of their dead that has been abolished.

The Zoroastrian are of religious minority who hold different religious ceremonies based on their religion and beliefs.

Introduction to Zoroastrian Dakhmeh, a world mixed with death

Zoroastrian Dakhmeh is the name of one of the Zoroastrian religion works in South east of Yazd which is also know as “Tower of silence” and because it is the English equivalent for “Dakhmeh”, the “Dakhmeh” in Yazd is known as “Tower of silence” and the Persian of India call it “Dakhmoo”.

“Tower of silence” located near “Safayieh” district and on top of a short and sedimentary mountain which is called “Koohe Dakhmeh” (Dakhmeh mountain). Many centuries ago this construction has been constructed in order to hold dead burial ceremony and nowadays is one of the important works of the Zoroastrian in Iran.

In the past based on their beliefs and customs the Zoroastrian put the dead bodies in “Dakhmeh” to be the food for birds and wild animals and the bones just remained. They did not bury the dead in the ground, because they believed that the dead bodies are not clean and also these dead bodies can contaminate the soil which is a holy element for them; so the bones of the dead remained in “Dakhmeh” in a hole.

This style of burial was common for a long time, but at last it got forbidden in Pahlavi era and all “Dakhmeh” changed into grave yard. In spite of this, the secrets of this style is not simply forgettable for every one and can excite the curious mind of them.

It seems that there was no construction as “Dakhmeh” in ancient time, but they put the dead bodies in a place far from their residence to be corroded gradually. Using the term “Dakhmeh” came from a time when Arian tribes burnt dead bodies and called the place of burning “Dakhmeh”. Emerging Zoroastrianism, this custom was extirpated; but “Dakhmeh” remained in its place and used as a place for putting dead bodies or a place of burying. Although, Zoroastrian called “Dakhmeh” as “Dodgah” which is meant the “court of God” or “divine court” that alludes to the end of life and “Day of judgment”. The Zoroastrian believed that death is the main weapon to fight against devil is death and the dead bodies must be put in a place that the devil is attended.

“Tower of silence” located near “Safayieh” district and on top of a short and sedimentary mountain which is called “Koohe Dakhmeh” (Dakhmeh mountain).

Why “Dakhmeh”?

Iranian ancestors believed that the nature is composed of four elements and the people must change into one of these four elements without polluting the other elements after the death. Every person had a specific style; the people who lived near the sea put their dead bodies into the water, those who lived in jungles, set fire to the dead, those who lived in plains buried their dead bodies into the graves and the residents of mountains and cold places put them on top of the mountains and into “Dakhmeh”.

The Zoroastrian chose the forth way and continued it up to some decades in Yazd, Kerman, and some parts of Iran.

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