More than 2,000 Parsis flocked to celebrate the anniversary of the city’s youngest fire temple last week.
The Shapurji Fakirji Jokhi Agiary in Godrej Baug, Malabar Hill, completed 10 years on December 18. The priest performed prayer ceremonies in the afternoon. Youth leaders also spoke to the people about uniting as a community. The celebrations finished with an elaborate dinner at Godrej Baug.
The temple is second in hierarchy after the Atash Behrams, the highest order of fire temple. “It is an Atash Adarsh, where the fire is made of four types. Not all priests are allowed to go inside the sanctum sanctorum when the fire burns,” said Dasturji Yazdi Panthaki, former president of the Godrej Baug Residents Association (GBRA).
Many people present at the festivities vividly remember the enthroning of the temple in 1999. “Almost 5,000 people had gathered at that time,” said Nivedita Mehta, the curator of a Parsi museum in the city.
Mehta said that till then they didn’t have any fire temple in the area. The nearest ones were at Walkeshwar and Kemps Corner. Hence the residents demanded that they have a place of worship closer to home.
“At that time we had two fires in the Navsari fire temple in Gujarat,” said Dasturji Meherji Rana from the Navsari fire temple. “We had brought the fire in 1962 from Tavri village (Surat) where it is believed to have burnt for over 100 years.”
Rana said that since normally the temples have only one fire, the priests decided to get the second one to Mumbai.
“After many years we saw so many Parsis gather in such large numbers. There was also a convoy of 40-50 cars,” Panthaki said
Urvax Dhanda, the current president of the GBRA, said, “According to our customs, the fire has to be moved only at night. Sunlight shouldn’t touch the fire. So we travelled only at night.”