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Udvada Atash Behram – The Temple of Fire

Atash Behram
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The place of worship of Zoroastrians is called a Fire Temple, which in Persian is Dar-e-Mehr and in Gujarati is called the Agiyari. In Zoroastrianism, fire along with water are considered agents of ritual purity. There are around 50 fire temples in Mumbai, 100 in the rest of India and 27 in the rest of the world. One of the most-visited and popular fire temples in India is in the town of Udvada in Gujarat. Renowned for its fire temple, which is the oldest functioning temple of its kind, Udvada is visited by Zoroastrians from across the world. Literally meaning “Victorious Fire”, the Udvada Atash Behram is one of the most important pilgrimage centres for Parsis. Here’s a lowdown on the Udvada Atash Behram

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The Significance

The Udvada Atash Behram is also known as Iranshah, meaning King of Iran. The Atash Behram is important for Indian Zoroastrians because of the ritual fire, which in Zoroastrianism is the highest level of ritual fire housed in the temple. This Atash Behram is one of the nine Atash Behrams in the world, eight of which are in western India and one is in Yazd, central Iran, which can be seen above in the featured image.

The History

Built in 1742 AD, the Atash Behram has an obscure history after it was moved from Iran to India in 715 AD. This move came as a result of the migration of Zoroastrians from Greater Persia, after the persecution by Islamic rulers. The Zoroastrians that came to India came to be called Parsis. The Parsis that settled in Sanjan established their first Atash Behram in India, a first-grade fire by enshrining the holy fire that was brought from Iran. In 1741, following disputes the Sanjan priests moved to Udvada and built an Atash Behram with the sacred fire that they carried there in 1742.

The Architecture

The temple was designed and built by Dinshaw Dorabjee Mistry from Mumbai. The temple features a spacious and well-decorated design and houses portraits of important priests and religious organizations. The fire at this temple is placed in a vase like structure, and this is the model that is followed in all the later fire temples. The original temple was renovated in 1894 by Lady Motlibhai Wadia.

The fire temples of the Parsis exude a captivating aura and are a must-visit if you are fascinated by their culture and history. Have you ever been to a fire temple before?

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Nikita is a total and complete bookworm. She’s also a writer and a dreamer who dreams of travelling far and wide. Her other very important dream is to one day, very soon, write books for children.

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