Udvada Atash Behram

Wednesday 06th January 2016 05:34 EST

The Udvada Atash Behram, also known as the Iran Shah, is one of the eight fire temples of the Zoroastrian religion located in Udvada in Gujarat on the west coast of India; the only other Atash Behram outside India is in central Iran at Yazd. The Atash Bahram, meaning "Victorious Fire", housed in the Udavada temple built in 1742. AD. It has a chequered history of its movement within Gujarat after it was moved from Iran in 715 AD. It was consecrated first in Sanjan in 721 AD. It is one of the oldest fire-temple in India representing the cultural and religious link with Iran. Within the temple precincts there are the Dasturji Koyaji Mirza hall and a museum.

Zoroastrian pilgrims from all parts of India, Canada, Pakistan, and Australia visit the temple on pilgrimage. Newly wed couples also visit Udvada on pilgrimage, and on their behalf, their parents offer a machi (throne of wood to the fire) at the temple.

The fire temple is situated in Udvada, which is a small coastal village, of about 2 square km area, in the southern coast of Gujarat. The village was gifted to the priests by the king of Mandvi. It is approachable by road and rail. It is 206 km away from Mumbai towards the north, situated between Vapi town and Daman on the National Highway (NH8) which passes through Manor.


The Atash Bahram fire was moved from Iran to India in 715 AD consequent to the migration of Zoroastrians in Greater Persia due to the persecution by the Islamic rulers who conquered that country; those who moved to India are called Parsis; the earliest link of worship of the sacred fire in Zoroastrian temples is dated to the 4th century BC. The Parsis travelled by ship from Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and landed on the Indian coast at Diu. They then moved along the coast to Sanjan, where the local Hindu ruler, Jadi Rana, gave them asylum and land to settle down but under a few stipulations. They settled down in Sanjan and then established their first Atash Bahram in India in 721 AD by enshrining the holy fire that had been brought from Iran. This temple thus established a traditional link, for the Parsi community of Sanjan with Iran.

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