Shirinbai and Khurshedji Hormusji Doongaji Daremeher
Navi Mumbai gets its first Fire Temple at Kopar Khairne
Parsis celebrate after the new fire temple at Kopar Khairane was inaugurated on Monday. After the idea to build a fire temple or dadgah was first conceived 11 years ago, Shirinbai and Khurshedji Hormusji Doongaji Daremeher was inaugurated at Kopar Khairane on Monday.
Inauguration of the dadgah — third category of holy fire, which is lower than agiaries and atash behrams — comes 18 years after Shapoorji Fakirji Jokhi Agiary was built at Godrej Baug in December 1999.
“The fire is being consecrated at the spot for the past five days. Today [Monday] the final rituals were completed. Since we are still awaiting clearance from court, we haven’t been able to get fire from other agiary. But once we get a go ahead, we will get that too. But only Parsis/Irani -Zoroastrians are allowed inside the temple,” said Farokh Bachana, trustee, Shirinbai and Khurshedji Hormusji Doongaji Daremeher.
In 2016, a few members of the Parsi community had approached Bharuch district and sessions court with a plea to stay shifting of 700-year-old fire from Bharuch’s Pestonji Aslaji Doongaji Agiary.
The area, which has around 60 families with 250 members, registered with New Bombay Zoroastrian Association Charitable Trust saying they do not have any temple around and the members are forced to travel to fire temples in Thane, Dadar or Bandra.
“Minor ceremonies such as post-funeral rituals can be performed here. There is an old age home for community members behind and a party hall managed by the same trust is adjacent to the temple,” said Noshir Mistry, resident of Nerul.
Another controversy which had stalled the inauguration of the fire temple was the earlier proposal to allow non-Parsis onto its premises, which was eventually cancelled. Earlier, an apartment in Colaba was converted into a prayer hall that was open to non-Parsis. It was eventually shut. Currently, a fire temple in Pune allows entry to non-Parsis.
Dasturji Khurshed K Dastur, high priest of the Udvada and the Zoroastrian representative on the National Commission for Minorities, said that Parsi Anjuman had put in a lot of efforts for this fire temple.
“It has been specifically stated that the place is only for Parsis and people who came for the function came with good faith. But, some people in the community have to simply play politics over smallest of issues,” Dastur said.