Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

Alls Well: Bhikha Behram Well in Fort Mumbai

The Parsi community may not be the biggest in terms of numbers, but when it comes to culture and

heritage they have plenty to offer. The Bhika Behram Well in Fort, a Grade I heritage structure, is one such monument.

The vast expanse of Cross Maidan was a matter of concern for travellers who came there during the summer season. It is to address this concern that a prominent Parsi named Bhikaji, who had come from Bharuch, dug this fresh water well. Situated at the southern end of Cross Maidan, near the Central Telegraph Office, it first opened to travellers in 1725. The pavilion was added in the 1950s. The well and its stone canopy are decorated with beautiful stained glass.

Behram, a Parsi, was passing through this region, when he built this well for travellers. The well has a perennial source of sweet water, which is remarkable as most of the water in the area is brackish owing to the proximity to the Arabian Sea. The site is held sacred by the Parsi community.

The well and pavilion premises are highly venerated by the Zoroastrian community. It has received structural and management care in the form of philanthropic contributions. The structure had reached a state of disrepair and needed urgent repairs. The conservation committee took over to see that the repair specifications are taken into action without damaging the essential architectural and historic character of the building.

The Parsis treat the well and its surroundings as sacred because it contains fresh water even though it is close to the sea. They pray here with their foreheads pressed against the stone rim. It is said that if anyone lights a lamp near it, all his wishes would be fulfilled.