July 15, 2011

Fort but not in ruins

All the forts I have seen are ruins but to my surprise there is still one fort exists which is very much intact. In my recent trip to Daman - a sea shore town about 180 km from Mumbai; I got chance to visit Daman fort aka Moti Daman Fort.

Like every time I have expected nothing but huge outer wall and wrecks inside. But this fort has everything in working condition; a church, a school, a secretariat, a light house (actually two light houses- one old & one new), a post office, a monument and moreover lots of houses.

That place took me couple of centuries back. This was the most amazing place I have seen. The way my husband think about abandon places now I started thinking about the people who are residing there. How they must be feeling to live inside the fort in 21st century? Or it is just like another place for them?

I don’t know what others feel but I definitely felt thrilled while standing in the middle of Century old but still intact fort.

July 12, 2011

Abandon Houses

I really feel sad about abandon properties. Even about the ruins. Whenever we visit ruins of forts, palaces; my husband always says "How this place was about few hundred years ago? Who was the last person to lock this place down? What he had felt that time?" He says all these things without fail for each ruined place. I actually started to paint picture on those lines about the prosperous time of that place.

Small Town of Udwada

This time during trip to Udvada; I found so many such houses. It was surprising as the town is too small to have many abandon houses. Some of those seems to have been locked up since 30~40 years. Floor, walls, gates were covered by weeds and even big plants.

Below house which I found near Daman - a town on sea shore. It must be the best house of that time. It was overlooking sea and there was a river flowing in front of the house. Nice bridge was constructed over the river which was leading the beach. Thought came in mind; what if that house would have been mine.

July 4, 2011

Iranshah Atash Behram

This time I went In Search Of Zoroastrian culture and their holy place. Search took me to a small town called Udvada in Gujarat State of India. This is about 190 km drive from Mumbai.

I was excited about this trip because I have never visited any Zoroastrian (better known as Parsis in India) temple. But all excitement died when I saw a notice board saying “People other than Parsis are not allowed inside”.

It was a quiet afternoon and we were standing outside a magnificent temple thinking how can we go inside? It was so quiet not many people were around; a thought came in my mind; let’s try entering. But then I realized this is the most holy place for them; even some Hindu temples do not allow other religion people to enter. I decided to respect their religion and took some photos from outside only.

Of course before taking the photos from outside; I checked with security guard if it is OK. He told us to visit a small museum where we can learn more about the Zoroastrians; their history and culture.

Same as temple museum was beautifully white and crisp clean. As not many people are aware about this town and Atash Behram; we were the only to visit the museum.

Museum was small but very informative. I learnt not only about the fire temple but also a lot about this silent small community living in India from last 10 centuries.

Parsi community has its roots in India from 10th century when many of them were migrated from Greater Persia. First parsi establishment was in Sanjan (Gujarat State in India).

According to parsi legend; these bunch of refugees arrived in Sanjan had ash of holy fire with them. This ash is served as the bed for the fire today at Udwada.

Fire temple was moved from Sanjan to Navsari to Udwada (all are towns in Gujarat State).

The highest grade of fire is the Atash Behram means “fire of victory”. It involves the 16 different kinds of fires gathered from 16 different sources. Udvada’s Atash Behram is established in India in 1742. This is the oldest and thus significantly important temple for Zoroastrians. This temple holds the fire since more than 250 years.

Apart from this there are 4 Atash Behrams in Mumbai; oldest is Dadiseth Atash Behram established in 1783; 2 in Surat, 1 in Navsari and 1 in Yazd Iran.

More than thousand years Parsis have been integrated in Indian society while maintaining their own distinct customs.

Parsi community has remarkable contribution to the history and development of India. Notable parsis in field of Science and industry includes Homi Bhabha, Dadabhai Navroji and many members of Tata, Godrej and Wadia family.