Global warming may douse Iranshah fire at Udvada

UDWADA (VALSAD): If there is one place the Parsi community considers holiest of holy in India, it is the small town of Udwada on the Gujarat coast. For two-and-a-half centuries, it has been home to the ‘holy fire’ that they brought from Iran more than 1,300 years ago.

But, just as Parsi numbers are dwindling, the Iran Shah, where the fire is kept, too is threatened by the forces of mother nature. Because of global warming, the rising Arabian Sea is threatening to drown the Iran Shah.

The waves, which rise as high as 12 metres in the monsoon, have already damaged some houses and hotels on the beach. Today, the distance between the damaged houses and Iran-Shah is barely 200 metres.

According to the preliminary observations of a committee of M S University geologists headed by professor Nikhil Desai, seawater has moved inland by around 15 metres from Danti towards Umbergaon in the last decade. Danti in Valsad is worst affected with seawater moving inland by about 90 metres.

“The Gujarat government built the first protection wall to preserve Iran Shah but it was washed away. The second wall designed by Central Water and Power Research Station, incurring an expenditure of Rs 1.4 crore, is still unfinished but we don’t have funds to complete it,” says Temas Pandol of Udwada Bachao Samiti (UBS), that has taken up the challenge of protecting this heritage town.

Bioscientist and environmentalist Minoo Parabia feels protection is not a permanent solution. “We have to think of a permanent solution like shifting the holy fire to a safer place. In the past, whenever there was a threat to it, the fire was shifted.”

The fire was shifted from Sanjan in 1393 AD after Mahmood Ghaznavi had attacked India and descended on Sanjan. After a series of events, the fire was moved to Udwada in 1742.

Chairman of Gujarat Ecology Society, Hasmukh Shah says, “Because of global warming, there is an urgent need to be concerned about treasures all along Gujarat’s coastline. Gujarat is looking at the coast for economic development and the agenda for protection of heritage properties, communities, fertile land should be part of the development agenda.”

Original article here

  • No comments on this vital issue! Shows Parsis do not care, they are in a deep state of slumber, sleep walking through other issues like where the next International Conference be held-not in Dubai! Or, Code of Conduct has dissappeared from Agiary notice boards.
    Parsis now flit, like butterfies, and colourless butterflies, through one non-vital issue to the other, and no answers for dwindling populations, conversion issues, rise in sea levels that just might effect Udvada. There are any number of respected websites on the internet that even illustrate effects of sea levels rise at 1 m to 15 m……see this site I used this site to see effects of sea level rises in the Udvada region; at some 7 M Iranshah + plots become an island, at 12 M the whole village goes under the sea!

  • rustom

    Its a time to test the zoroastrians of a generation that has taken the most?
    We always wanted Udwada to be there and everything honky dory on our annual/monthly/ Visiting india-Trips whilse neglecting everything there…
    There are umpteen stories of members of different communities who have migrated ou of their villages, become businessmen, industrialists etc but always gone back developed their villages and roots including providing jobs from within, a social network within other comunities makes them sucessfully compete against other communities whilst we try and belitlle our own, be it our brethern, vilage or roots..
    after all ‘Ama su thayu”

  • ragini parag kalyani


    i was born in udvada,my village is udvada…i am currently living in fiji……….i feel great concern for the increasing effects of green house…i think government shoud help the villagers….