Amidst of the urban jungle that Mumbai is, there are green spots, like the Hanging Gardens. In fact it is not much more then a nice park with flowers and benches. As with all green places in Mumbai it is a favorite place for the locals to go for family pick nick’s, strolls and romantic couple get together’s.
The gardens are built over some of the cities biggest water reservoirs. It is said that the soil is very thin, and that therefor there cannot grow big trees in the garden.
Next to the Hanging Gardens is the Parsi Tower of Silence, an area not visible nor visitible for non-Parsi’s.
The Parsi’s are a small ethnic-religious group in Mumbai that have the habit of laying their dead in the circular open structure of the Tower of Silence for the vultures to be eaten.
This tradition became problematic over the years, when due to diclofenac poisoning the vultures decreased in numbers dramatically. With not enough vultures around, the corpses were laying around longer then normal, causing smell and other problems for residents living in the neighborhood.
The Parsi’s then tried to find solutions like starting a breeding program for vultures and placing solar panels so that the sun would decompose the bodies sooner.
It remains problematic though.
Some people say that the Hanging Gardens have been created to protect and clean the water reservoirs under it from possible pollution from the Parsi corpses nearby.
Another thing I was told is that the city tries to persuade the Parsi’s to gently let go of this tradition and take on burial.
Since the Parsi funeral grounds are off limits, I only have taken some pictures from the Hanging Gardens.
I did find some pictures on the internet that give an idea of what the Tower of Silence looks like:
|So it is a circular structure|
|In the open air centre the corpses are placed.|
|One of the vultures|
So the Hanging Gardens are just a nice, flowery oasis, but nothing special. And the Tower of Silence cannot be seen. But I found this history and culture very interesting myself and therefor I wanted to share it with you anyway.