Advertisement
Thursday, Oct 28, 2021
Outlook.com

Touched By Sacral Fire

Iran Shah Atash Behram Temple: Sacred to the Parsis, it has wrought miracles for others too

Touched By Sacral Fire
Mayur Bhatt
Touched By Sacral Fire
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

As one breaks away from the din of the heavy traffic on NH-8, slithering from Ahmedabad to Mumbai, at a fork just short of the industrial town of Vapi, the silence hits hard. Eight kilometres down the verdant countryside, the sprawl of  Udvada begins to show, the overgrown village displaying its pretensions to township. The seashore, one senses, isn’t far. It’s another eight kilometres before one reaches Udvada village proper, where in a whisper-quiet, spotlessly clean precinct of whitewashed, old-fashioned cottages stands the Iran Shah Atash Behram agiary, or fire temple, the most sacred shrine of the Parsi community and its Zoroastrian faith.

History has it that a group of Zoroastrians who fled Iran after the Arab invasion in the mid-seventh century encountered a storm near the Gujarat coast. Praying for deliverance, they vowed to consecrate an Atash Behram (victorious fire) if they safely made it ashore. They did, and decided to settle down in India. Within five years of their arrival, the first Atash Behram in India, which has come to be known as Iran Shah, was consecrated in Sanjan, 30 km away from Udvada. For various reasons, the sacred fire had to be moved, and ultimately, on October 28, 1742, it was consecrated in Udvada, a small fishing village the king of Mandvi had gifted to the dasturs or priests at the fire temple. It remains in Udvada to this day, one of nine Atash Behrams in the world. Parsis believe that fire is a living, breathing embodiment of the supreme divinity. Agiaries are places of quietude, where only those who are born into the faith are admitted; cellphones and cameras are not allowed. In fact, in the very area around the temple, the slightest rise in speaking volume invites frowns.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Aryan Khan Drug Case: Bombay HC Adjourns Hearing Of Bail Petition Till Thursday

Aryan Khan Drug Case: Bombay HC Adjourns Hearing Of Bail Petition Till Thursday

Justice Sambre has once again adjourned the hearing. The Bombay High Court will hear the petitions of Aryan Khan, Arbaaz Merchant and Munmun Dhamecha tomorrow afternoon after 2.30 pm.

Mandi Bypoll: 'Do They Want Me To Become Sati?', Asks Congress Candidate Pratibha Singh

Mandi Bypoll: 'Do They Want Me To Become Sati?', Asks Congress Candidate Pratibha Singh

Pratibha Singh talks about her decision to contest the poll and carry forward the legacy of ‘Raja Sahib’, ex-Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh.

IPL: Sourav Ganguly Steps Down As ATKMB Director

IPL: Sourav Ganguly Steps Down As ATKMB Director

ATK Mohun Bagan is owned by Sanjiv Goenka-led RPSG Group, which will now own an IPL team based out of Lucknow.

Pegasus Snooping Row: SC Cites 'Right To Privacy', Appoints 3-Member Probe Panel

Pegasus Snooping Row: SC Cites 'Right To Privacy', Appoints 3-Member Probe Panel

Stressing on the right to privacy, CJI Ramana said it was incumbent upon the Centre to seriously consider the use of such a technology.

Advertisement