Parsi (Zoroastrian) Fire Temple, Calcutta (Kolkata)
Zoroastrianism is a religion based on the teaching of prophet Zoroaster. Founded in the 6th century BC, Zoroastrianism is considered one of the oldest religions of the world.
The Parsi first arrived in India well before the birth of Christ and settled in the West Coast of India. About 200 years ago the Parsis first settled in Calcutta (Kolkata). The first Parsi Temple was first set up in 1839 but it was abandoned.
The present fire temple of Anjuman Atash Adran was established in 1912 by Ervad Dhunjeebhoy Byramjee Mehta and operates to this day. Anjuman Atash Adran Temple is located on the Metcalfe Street (Popularly called the Bandook Gali) in the Boubazar area of Central Calcutta (Kolkata).
The Parsi are fire worshipers and the holy flame eternally burns in the Parsi Fire Temple. The Parsi Temple is out of reach of Non Parsis . But the during the first week of December 2010 the temple was repaired and holy fire removed from the alter. Non Parsis were allowed in the Fire Temple and I was luck enough to shoot inside the temple.
The ground floor of the Parsi Temple consists of a large hall usually used for social gathering. It also contains a century old grand father’s clock. The walls contain a bras plate of Faravahar, the Primary Symbol of Zoroastrianism. Faravahar consists of a winged disc, with a male upper body.
The second floor consists of a similar hall, with beautiful marble flooring. The circular alter, at the centre of the hall housed the holy fire (removed during my visit). Opening in the roof above the fire allowed the smoke to escape but prevented the rain from coming in.
Each of the doors and windows are crowned with a semi – circular stained glass, depicting different aspects of Zoroastrian iconography, ranging from the holy fire to the winged disc of Faravahar. The fire temple also houses beautiful frosted glass work.
- 100 years of city’s only Parsi fire temple by Soumitra Das, The Telegraph, Oct 5, 2011
- In Good Faith by Soumitr Das, The Telegraph, Dec 5, 2010
Links from my website:
- Words of appreciation from the best selling author Amitav Ghosh
List of my Blog entries on Calcutta (Kolkata)