Parsis mark 175th anniversary of Banaji Atash Behram at Thakurdwar
Members of the Parsi Zoroastrian community on Friday gathered at Cawasjee Byramjee Atash Behram, popularly known as Banaji Atash Behram, at Thakurdwar, to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the fire temple.
The trustees of the fire temple said people from the community have great faith in it, and it is also associated with charity.
“This is one of the oldest atash behrams in the city; people have faith in the temple because of a special prayer session called Humbandagi prayer, that takes place here on Mondays. It is only in this atash behram that these prayers take place; people gather with their family to pray as a group,” said BH Antia, managing trustee of Cawasjee Byramjee Atash Behram Trusts.
Hoshang Wania, another trustee, said the fire temple was consecrated on December 13, 1845, as the wishes of Framji Cowasji Banaji, a trader from the city, were fulfilled.
“He belonged to a Shahenshahi Parsi family, but built a Kadmi atash behram and even today Parsis, irrespective of the sect they belong to, come to pray here,” said Wania.
He added that the founder of the fire temple is also known for his contributions to the society and the city. He a built a pyau (drinking water fountain) at Dhobi Talao, a dakhma at the Tower of Silence, was the lease-holder of Poway estate (now Powai), and also built Vikhroli station, among other contributions.
“Framji comes from a family hailing from Surat, which was always involved in social causes. His great grandfather built the Banaji Limji Agiary at Fort, and was also the president of the first Parsee Punchayet,” said K M Gherda, chairman of the trust.
The community has three grades of holy fires, of which an atash behram is considered to be of the highest grade, which can be placed in their temples.
The Parsi Zoroastrian community has eight atash behrams in the country, of which four are in Mumbai.
The oldest fire temple in country is at Udvada, Gujarat, while the oldest one in the city is the Dadiseth Atash Behram at Fanaswadi, consecrated in 1783.