For four years we lived on Malabar Hill, adjacent to the Towers of Silence. I've walked and driven past a gazillion times, heading down from Hanging Gardens to Kemps Corner ... as a teenager, it just seemed way too cool in an icky, morbid, Tales of the Crypt kinda way ... the thick trees seemed dark and menacing as they hid what lay within. There were always anecdotal tales a a human limb or two dropping into someone's balcony from the claws of a carless carrion bird. Never happened to us.
Now, a Parsi woman has created a stir by photographing the rotting corpses and distributing them. (The photos, i.e!)
Pictures of rotting corpses piled at the funeral grounds, secretly snapped by a mourning woman, have sparked a furor over the ancient rituals.
When Dhun Baria learned her mother's corpse would take at least a year to decompose, she slipped into the grounds -- a place few Zoroastrians are allowed to enter -- and took photographs and video footage that have shocked her community.
Orthodox elders of the religion, whose followers are also known as Parsis, say the funeral system is working fine.
But Baria challenges that with her stack of pictures, a 15-minute video clip and thousands of handbills she has been distributing in the community showing rotting corpses and body parts.
[This was taken in 2003, looking north on Malabar Hill. The rise to the right, covered by the red Gulmohur flowers, is part of the Towers of Silence]