Parsis flock to 300-yr-old agiary to celebrate | india | Hindustan Times
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Parsis flock to 300-yr-old agiary to celebrate

More than 1,000 Parsis flocked to the city’s oldest fire temple to celebrate the Zoroastrian Feast of Fire, which fell on the agiary’s 300th anniversary, reports Naomi Canton.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2009 01:59 IST
Naomi Canton

More than 1,000 Parsis flocked to the city’s oldest fire temple to celebrate the Zoroastrian Feast of Fire, which fell on the agiary’s 300th anniversary.

The Banaji Limji Agiary, in Banajit Street in Fort, was built by a wealthy Parsi trader Banaji Limji in 1709. It is one of 40 fire temples in the city housing the Atash Adaran, or second grade of fire.

There are a total of 47 temples: three contain the lowest grade of fire, the Atash Dadgah, and four the highest, the Atash Behram.

Parsis believe that fire is a physical representation of the son of God, so fires at Parsi temples are kept burning 24 hours and if they stop burning a series of complicated rituals are required to restart them.

The Feast of Fire is when prayers of thanks are offered to the fire.

On Thursday from 4 am Parsis started turning up pay their respects at the modern pink temple, which stood out in its bustling Fort bylane of scrap dealers, stationery shops and paanwallahs.

After untying and retying their sacred chords they went inside to chant the prayer Atashnyaish to the fire.

Dr Darius Umrigar (44), an alternative therapist from Grant Road, said: “I am here to take guidance from the fire on the correct direction of my life.”

“It is remarkable to think there is a fire which has burnt continuously for 300 years,” said Khojeste Mistree, co-founder of day Zoroastrian Studies, an organisation, which educates people on Zoroastrianism.