Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Friday, 7 April 2017

The small town of Udwada, just about 12 km northeast of Vapi, is arguably the center of the modern Zoroastrian world. The most important Fire Temple in the world is the Iranshah Temple there.

Originally from Iran, Parsis fled religious persecution when Iran became a Muslim country. In the 8th Century they made their way to the northwestern coast of India, in what is today southern Gujarat. According to legend, the local king, Jadi Rana, gave the group some milk and pushed them away. But the Parsis sweetened the milk with sugar and returned it to the king, indicating that they were requesting a place to settle down peacefully. The king agreed provided that the Parsis put down weapons, adopt the local language and dress, and not allow Hindus in their temples. The agreement has stood ever since. As the plaque at the entrance to the Zoroastrian Information Center in Udwada says, Parsis are recognized for “the outstanding contribution of the minuscule but illustrious Zoroastrian community towards the development of India.” They are especially prominent in Mumbai, and a number of notable industrialists, businessmen, military leaders, and artists are Parsi.

Udwada is a small, clean, quiet town.
A street on the north end of Udwada near the Zoroastrian Information Center.
There are many beautiful bungalows in Udwada.
But there are also a few that haven’t been occupied in some years.
The Iranshah Fire Temple is the fire source for Zoroastrian temples around the world. Only Zoroastrians are allowed inside.
At one time, the Della Majestic must have been a very nice seaside guesthouse.
Today it contains a fabricator of Zoroastrian concrete sculptures.
More concrete sculptures.
Currently the hotel is in ruins. This is the sea-facing side.
Udwada has a small beach on the Arabian Sea. Here fishermen have laid out their nets to dry.
Lon in front of the Irani Bakery -- an Udwada landmark. The bakery sells all sorts of Iranian breads.
The Zoroastrian Information Center is really a museum that explains both the beliefs of Zoroastrians, and their history, especially as it pertains to India. It’s worth a visit.

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