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Doongerwadi Needs Your Help, BPP Tells Parsi Community

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First phase of project, for which the Parsi community have been asked to contribute, will include road and room repairs along with increasing the green cover along compound wall

Doongerwadi needs your help, BPP tells Parsi community

The plan includes fixing potholes on the road that leads to the crematorium. Pic/Suresh Karkera

After conducting minor repairs over the years, the Bombay Parsi Punchyet has decided to carry out a holistic restoration of the 300-year-old Doongerwadi or the Parsi Tower of Silence at Malabar Hill for the first time. The first phase of the project is pegged to cost around R50 lakh. Earlier this month, the BPP sent out an appeal to the community exhorting them to participate by making donations required to raise the amount.

Members of the BPP said that they have been meaning to take up the overall restoration of Doongerwadi for a long time now. Kersi Randeria, one the BPP trustees, said, “The roads from the entrance to the prayer halls have been in a bad shape and several potholes need to be fixed. There are storage and changing rooms, which although not used frequently, need to be repaired,” he said.

Barring the prayer halls, the BPP plans to carry out repair work at the bunglies, where the rituals on the body are performed, and separate prayer rooms where the relatives reside for four days. There are eight to 10 such rooms where false ceilings will be installed. This, they believe, will reduce the air-conditioner cubic area and save power since the height of the original roof is too high. The project will also include increasing the green cover along the compound walls within premises.

While the BPP will contribute to the expenses, Desai is hoping that members will pitch in with donations. “The BPP was started 300 years ago only to take care for the Doongerwadi. Since it is a community property, we felt that people would want to be a part of it,” he said. Desai added that they will take up repairs of the Dohkmas or the towers in the second phase. And, depending on the funds collected for phase one, they will decide whether additional donations will be required.

Rs 50 lakh
The amount the BPP hopes to raise in the first phase

An ancient custom
The deceased are placed in ridges at the Dokhmas (towers) where the bodies are allowed to be fed on by scavenger birds as a means of giving back to nature.

Published on Mid-Day