Udvada, Gujarat The Holy Land of the Parsis in India

A Small Quaint town on the west coast of Gujarat, is popular for its Atash Behram [the holy place for Zoroastrians which has the holy fire burning since days its ignition in Iran]

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Where – Approximately 200 kms up northwest from the city of Mumbai

https://www.google.co.in/maps/dir/Mumbai,+Maharashtra/Udvada,+Gujarat/@19.7562958,72.5946473,8.5z/data=!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x3be7c6306644edc1:0x5da4ed8f8d648c69!2m2!1d72.8776559!2d19.0759837!1m5!1m1!1s0x3be0db13e6822727:0xa13cffa8d27b8b72!2m2!1d72.8722249!2d20.4863158?hl=en

Accessible By – Road (NH-8) or Western Railway Trains.

How did the Holy fire Land Here – In our earlier blog named, “What is Zoroastrianism”, we learnt how the Zoroasts had landed on the coast of Sanjaan and allowed by King Rana to set up base there. Soon, there was an invasion once again by the Muslims of North India and the sacred fire had to be shifted once again. Eventually, after many months of preserving the same at various places, they established the base in Udvada, 30 kms approximately from Sanjaan.

About the place – The village would be inhabited in a few hundreds and gives a vintage feeling. Walking through the by lanes of the place, you can smell the earth and probably hear the sound of waves from far away.

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Restricted to Non-Parsis – The Main area where the Atash Behram is situated is restricted to the Non-Parsis, as the faith strictly does not allow anyone other than a Zoroastrian to visit the place of worship. A Highly Debatable topic in today’s times!

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What is Zoroastrianism?

“The faith of Zoroastrianism” or more commonly known as the Parsi Community which follows this faith, is one of the oldest faiths (3500 years old approx) in the world.

A lot will be found in the Wikipedia about Zoroastrianism, however, let me share my thoughts of what I perceive and practice of it.

The Faith – I am not a very Religious person, but surely believe in the spiritual connect one share with the Unknown. Every faith teaches us the same things, and here, we call them as “Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta”, i.e. Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds…

The Origin and the Migration – The origin of the Zoroasts was found in the Land of Persia, commonly known as Iran today. However, due to the forced conversions by the Muslim sect, the Zoroasts were compelled to flee Persia as their faith was most dear to them. Be located by the coast, they chose to flee through the waters, along with the holy burning light which was kept alive all through. Incidentally, there are multiple stories of how they survived in the boat for days and months and how the holy fire protected them from the evils of the sea. They followed the route to the East unknowingly, thereby, a few of them landing on the coast of Karachi, Pakistan, and the majority of them landing on the coast of Sanjaan, Gujarat, India.

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Acceptance and Adaptability – On arriving in Gujarat, the then King Jadav Rana was not very comfortable of allowing more migrants into the country and posed a question to the community head. He asked “How can you prove that you will not be a threat or burden or nuisance to Indians, if I allow you to stay here?” To this, the community head, answered,

“Give me a Glass of Milk and some Sugar”….He held the glass straight and added Sugar to the Milk and said “The Way this Sugar has dissolved in this Milk, We too shall Mix and Adapt with you Indians, only adding a Sweet Flavour to the air”

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King Rana was highly impressed and moved by this gesture and thus allowed the Persian Migrants to inhabit on this motherland.

Contribution to the Society at Large – The Contribution towards the society has been immense by the Zoroastrian community, both in terms of business as well as philanthropy. The same could be seen from the establishments of age old Business Houses in India, namely, the TATAs, the Godrej, the Wadias, the Mistrys and so on…

Regarded with Huge Respect – As a Parsi myself, I feel a sense of pride when I see the glitter in eyes of the person I introduce myself to. A person may not be told how good or bad his faith people are, but somehow, each time we are told that the community is flourished with good and honest people. It is nothing but huge huge acknowledgement from others and a certificate that we have been successful towards repaying our debt to India that allowed us shelter when we were homeless.