For Parsis, all roads will soon lead to Udvada in Gujarat. Udvada, a small town in South Gujarat, where the Parsi community consecrated the first fire temple of Gujarat in 1742 after their arrival to Sanjan, is to be conserved as a Parsi Heritage site and developed as a global centre for inter-faith peace, love and harmony.
Now, when Parsis in Gujarat are gearing up to celebrate the 1290th anniversary of the installation of the sacred Iranshah fire at Udvada, they plan to make Udvada a centre where Parsis across the world can meet, exchange ideas and help conserve the Parsi culture.
Importantly, Udvada, under threat due to commercial activities and unplanned industrial growth, can heave a sigh of relief as the state government plans to set up Udvada Area Development Authority (UADA) to control and regularise haphazard development in the area.
"It is good news for Parsis. Growing industrialisation adjacent to the holy temple was a threat to the sanctity of the area. Now, the state government has taken measures to protect it. With formation of UADA, the state government promises to control development and ensure that the Sacred Iranshah fire is protected," said Behram Mehta, MD of Aava Water who along with his wife Tina Mehta worked passionately to make this possible.
Jehangir Cama, Parsi community head, said that finally they have realised their dream of setting up a Zoroastrian Information Centre at Udvada, which has been funded jointly by the Government of India and the Government of Gujarat through Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC). "We propose to make Udvada a place where Parsis can meet, mingle, exchange ideas and celebrate occasions," he said. He added that a committee will now will be formed to plan further development of the area.
Recently, Parsi community members honoured chief minister Narendra Modi, and invited him to the Iranshah fire installation anniversary celebrations. Chief minister Narendra Modi gave assurance to the Parsis that like King Jadav Rana, he too would ensure protection of the sacred fire. Modi was desirous that Udvada should project itself as the global capital of inter-faith peace, love and harmony to the world.