Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ruining the pavitra environment of Pak Iranshah Atashbehram at Udvada

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: TZML Admins 
Date: Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 3:47 PM
Subject: Ruining the pavitra environment of Pak Iranshah Atashbehram at Udvada



23 January 2009

Dear Zarathushti humdins,
cc: Vada Dasturjis,
cc: Ervad Sahebs,
cc: Parsiana,
cc: The Parsee Voice,
cc: Zoroastrian Studies,
cc: Parsi Pukar,
cc: Dini-Awaz,
cc: Prominent Zoroastrians,
cc: TZML
cc: TMYZ officials

We are very sad to hear about the recent so-called modernisation which
has taken place at our holiest Atashbehram, the Iranshah at Udvada.

All that these changes just decrease the pavitrata (holy atmosphere)
of Iranshah.

We must understand that Iranshah is not a museum that it need be
glossed up to attract visitors and neither is Udvada a tourist centre
which needs to be "modernised" so more tourists come there. If one
needs to showcase a tourist spot, then Sanjan and Navsari are more
appropriate places.

Parsis go to Iranshah primarily for offering their sincere prayers to
the most Exalted of our Holy Fires, and as commensurate with a holy
place, a bit of simplicity and spartan atmosphere is indeed necessary.

The "holy bulls" and the "angelic figures" guarding the gates look
gaudy and cheap. Some Zarathushtis have even written that these are
made of synthetic material, which is taboo for religious places like

What was the need to change the existing serene atmosphere of the
building of Iranshah. Preservation yes, but attempting to add modern
day grandeur to a splendid ancient building does not make sense.

In a recent speech at Udvada, Vada Dasturji Dr. Peshotan Dastur
Hormazdyar Mirza mentioned that the tranquil and serene ambiance of
Udvada attracted the forefathers of the present Nine Family Athornan
Anjuman-Udvada, who decided to enthrone the Holy Fire permanently at
Udvada. In contrast, Sanjan had by that time become a commercial
centre and the atmosphere was not conducive to peace and quiet which
is what the Holy Iranshah unconditionally needs to maintain the
spiritual sanctity.

Dasturji Mirza also emphasized that to maintain the religious and
spiritual sanctity of the Holy Iranshah; it becomes our duty that
Udvada should not be turned into a Tourist Centre with Tourist Lodge,
Tourist Walk etc. He added emphatically that the Tourist Agenda and
the clauses that are not in the interest of The Holy Iranshah and
Udvada should be deleted from the FDU Trust Deed. He further
maintained that Udvada is a 'Holy' place and must remain a 'Holy
Place' and no attempt should be made to turn it into a 'Holiday Place'
as this would ruin the sanctity of Udvada as a place of Parsi/Irani
Zarathushti pilgrimage.

When the Mumbai Municipal Corporation has agreed to preserve some 47
Agiaries in Mumbai, why does the Udvada Anjuman have to give
permission to those who have ruined the Iranshah building.

Due diligence should be exerted and orthodox scholars like Mr. Adi
Doctor, Mrs. Pervin Mistry, Ervad Roointon P Peer, etc should be
consulted before such work is undertaken in the future.

We also enclose the photos of the "modernisation" efforts.

The pictures do the talking.

Thank you to those who have sent the cautionary note below to us.

We request that it be shared to other members of our community to
bring an awareness of this issue of "modernisation" of our religious
institutions. Today it is Iranshah, tomorrow it may be the local
Atashbehram or Agiary, next to you.

Let us all exert vigilance in this issue and work closely with the
trustees of the Agiaries and Atashbehrams so that such breaches do not
happen again in the future.

In case you wish to correspond with us, our email is

TZML Admins.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Forwarded Message Attachment--
Subject: IRANSHAH ATASH BEHRAM post recent renovation

 Cold blooded murder of Iranshah Heritage Building in the name of renovation.

Were these fancy additions to a heritage building really necessary ?
Wasn't the existing Atash Behram structure including the gate, stairs
with brass banister beautiful enough that we need to create studio
sets like these ? Only the lights, actors and camera crew seem to be

Soon you will find fickle minded devotees kissing and hugging hoofs of
the bull and  statue embossed at the entrance and ask for additional
blessing to fulfill their wishes. This in a way promoting idol worship
which is forbidden in our religion. This sight is very common in
Mumbai Renovated agairies.

That's the front side of the building. What has been done inside the
premises and the open area within the Iranshah premises is even more

The old tiles on the floor in the main hall have been replaced with
white marble with stone inlay work. You get impression as if you have
entered a hotel and not in an Atash Behram. The old beautiful yellow
tiles on the wall have been replaced with white marble. Based on past
experience we know that all this marble will turn yellow in no time.
Old Brass handles and fittings are replaced with chrome fittings on
the door. Brass banisters have vanished.

For Parsee / Irani Zoroastrians, Iranshah is our "Vatican".Do we ever
hear of such crazy changes made to the Vatican just because some one
with pots of money didn't feel the existing structure is  beautiful
enough. On the contrary great efforts are made to restore the
structure to how it was when it was originally built.

But for the people on this Iranshah project it is not restoration but
renovation. They treat this heritage structure like a 5 star hotel
lobby, one that needs to be given a new look every few years to keep
up with the modern trends.

What's more, all the debris of this renovation which includes the
tiles, plaster, cement, old carpet pieces etc have been thrown in the
open area ( behind the toilets ) WITHIN the Iranshah compound
boundary. The debris has been spread and NOT piled in this open area.
This clearly indicates that this mess will remain even after the
renovation is over. This area which is and was used by the Mobeds  for
their nahan and beresnum  ceremony has now become a rubbish dump.

The small room next to the main door ( where the Dadgah  fire was
temporarily placed in the past ) is now a dusty dumping room of old
carpets, clocks, furniture etc which is understandable. But what was
Alarming and Shameful is in the center of this dusty messy pile was a
very valuable old huge copy of the Sacred Vendidad in ancient Avesta
script. The book was completely covered with dust.  Considering it is
a rare scared book shouldn't the so called Vada Dastur be more
vigilant ?  Further shocking is the disrespectful way Zarthost Big
frame is kept on the ground gathering dust. Should this be left to the
workers who do not know the value of things around.

In the month of February 2008 I have seen workers in the Iranshaw
Kebla hall SPITTING on the floor while working where piles of marble
sheets were kept.  So ignorant are these workers that even my telling
them not to spit being a holy place did not register in their mind.

The embedded Kash , Vibrating  flux surrounding the Iranshah Kebla is
all gone. The locals - agree they also have faith in Iranshah  were
permitted inside the Kebla Sanctum  to bow on the Stone Pedastal and
light a Diva and be blessed.  Good additional income to the Divawala -
you know who ! Even the foreigners were allowed to go in being a
tourist spot. Have all these non Parsi coming in the Kebla have taken
BATH before entering ? In fact allowing them inside the Atash Behram
and Kebla the ignorant worshippers have committed a sin . A grave sin
is also committed by the the so called protector and guardian of
Iranshah and learned Dastur of Udwada.

Does any of the Udwada Dastur and Mobeds know what is Kash and Its
significance. Iranshah Fire when replaced on its throne will be
nothing but a stand alone fire in the Kebla. All powers of the
Iranshah Fire will be gone. This is for those who understand what I
mean. All that one can say is forgive them as they know not what they
have done.

Should we say Cheers to Udwada Anjuman and Wah Wah to the head ?


Deen Parast said...

When a heritage site is being promoted as a tourist attraction, such incongrous and strange structures are bound to come up, all to attract tourists. This has happened all around the world and is now happening in our sacred site. Sad but true.

We pray that the hidden TRUE custodians of the Holy Fire have taken steps to protect the Holy Fire from the many attempts being made right now by the so-called "tourists" to attack our ancient belief system, that our fires are meant for the eyes of born Zarathushtris only.

May the sordid aims of these people, who are aiming to denigrate an ancient people's belief,
be ever defeated and come to naught, by the Grace of Dadar Ahura Mazda. Destructive acts of such people are not inspired by God, since it is not God who destroys in our religion, but it is God who creates (Ardibehest Yasht Nirang). May these modern day destroyers be defeated in their evil aims, and may they learn to respect an ancient people's pride in their heritage and beleifs. Atha Jamyat Yatha Afrinami. So may it be, as we wish.

Unknown said...

I have created a blog, for the same reasons, at and share the same sentiments as detailed here. You can go to this blog and "vote" for removal of these additions.
Some good dedicated Parsis in Mumbai, have succeeded in placing Mumbai Agiaries on the Heritage List. This means two things: one, the structure cannot be removed or destroyed, under any circumstances; two, no alterations or additions can be made which do not disturb or distort appearance of the original structure.

Besides, my guess is our Udavada building has not been included as protected site by the Archaeological Society of India because it does not qualify on the grounds of age of structure, otherwise no one would have dared alterations/additions, they would face prosecution.

Whist these dedicated Parsis in Mumbai went to great trouble to get all Mumbai Agiaries under the Heritage List, some others have, perhaps with good but unfounded intentions, gone ahead and allowed/paid for the cheap inaccurate additions to the "Vatican" of Zoroastrianism!
If there is poor response from the community, I don't know where this community is going.

pappukadri said...

am from daman india now in uk during my last india visit i went udwada to see pak iranshah atashbehram
that was wery peas full area
i puted some photo on google erth link below