Banaji Limji Agiary, Mumbai’s oldest fire temple, turns 306
Considered the most auspicious event for consecration of fire in an agiary, the day will mark the 306th year of the fire at Mumbai’s oldest Zoroastrian fire temple — the Banaji Limji Agiary, in Banaji Street, Fort, which houses Atash Adaran, the second grade of fire.
Parsis-Zoroastrians will celebrate The Feast of Fire, held on the ninth day of the ninth month (roz adar, mah adar) of the Shenshai or Shahenshahi calendar. It is an important day for the community as it celebrates the “birth of the creation of fire”. The community believes fire is a physical representation of the son of God.
Considered the most auspicious event for consecration of fire in an agiary, the day will mark the 306th year of the fire at Mumbai’s oldest Zoroastrian fire temple — the Banaji Limji Agiary, in Banaji Street, Fort, which houses Atash Adaran, the second grade of fire. The fire at the second oldest agiary, Manekji Sett agiary, located just a kilometre away in Perin Nariman Street near CST, will enter its 282nd year.
Since Wednesday evening, the community members in the city have not lit gas or stove in their kitchens. On Thursday morning, they will visit agiaries and offer prayers to fire, the son of God.
“Only once a year, the day and the month of our religious calendar coincide. From around 3.45pm on Wednesday, Parsis have lit an oil lamp in the kitchen, along with fruits and sweets, to celebrate the birth of fire on Thursday,” said Zoroastrian scholar Khojeste Mistree.
The Mithaiwala Fire Temple in Grant Road and the Seth Pirojsha Ardeshir Patel agiary in Andheri (West) will also celebrate their anniversaries on the day.
“For agiaries, the day is the most auspicious. Families celebrate the day as the new year of house fires,” said Parvez Bajan, head priest, Mevawala Agiary, Byculla (East).
“However, only a handful of the 47 fire temples in Mumbai, had the fire consecrated on this day,” he said.
The oldest installation of the sacred fire in India, he said, is at Iranshah Atash Behram at Udvada, Gujarat, which is over 1,290 years old. Khurshed Dastur, the high priest of the Udvada fire temple, said, “Thursday will be a busy day for fire temples, especially here at Iranshah. While Parsis will start coming in as early as 4am, ceremonies will be held all day and community prayers will be recited.”