About Atashkadeh (fire temple)
Atashkadeh (fire temple)
The Atashkadeh (fire temple) of Yazd city is located on Kashani Street. The place of Zoroastrians houses Atash Bahram (the victorious fire).
The building was built in 1934 under the supervision of Jamshid Amanat on a piece of land donated by the Amanat brothers, and funded by various sources, HistoricalIran reported.
The fire temple is said to be Iran’s only temple housing Atash Bahram. The latter defines the grade of consecrated fire in the temple, more than it does the temple.
It involves the gathering of different types of fire gathered from 16 different sources, including lightning, fire from a cremation pyre, fire from trading places where a furnace is maintained and fires from the hearths of houses.
Each of the 16 fires is subjected to a purification ritual before its merger. Thirty-two priests are required for the consecration ceremony, which can take up to a year to complete.
However, the name Atash Bahram has now come to mean the temple that houses the highest grade of fire used in Zoroastrianism.
Jamshid Amanat made five trips to India soliciting funds for the construction of the fire temple. On four occasions, he traveled by ship and once by land through Pakistan.
It appears that the final donors included Homa Bani of Bombay, the Persian Zoroastrian Amelioration Funds managed by the Zoroastrians of India and the Parsi Panchayet.
Jamshid Amanat and his brother also made donations in the name of their father Ardeshir Mehraban Rostam Amanat.
The main building of fire temple sits in the middle of a large garden and is surrounded by pine, cedar and cypress trees.
The Farvahar above the main entrance of the temple and the adorned stone columns magnify the venue’s glory.
Designs on the columns, walls and Farvahar are the work of craftsmen from Isfahan who completed the work in their hometown and then transported the finished stones to Yazd.
A pool lies ahead of the entrance. The overall structure is heavily influenced by Parsi fire temples in India.
The plaque at the entrance of reads: “This Zoroastrians’ temple was built in 1934 in a site belonged to the Association of the parsi Zoroastrians of India under the supervision of Jamshid Amanat.
“The sacred flame, behind a glass case and visible from the entrance hall, has apparently been burning since about 470 CE and was transferred from Nahid Pars Temple to Ardakan (Yazd province), then to Yazd (city) and to its present site.”
Zoroastrians observe certain entry rules not required of other visitors.
In addition to observing cleanliness, Zoroastrians enter barefoot and wear white or light-colored clothing. Men wear white caps and women sport white scarves.
The fire is inside a bronze vessel and visible only from behind a glass wall. Only priests attached to the fire temple may enter the innermost sanctum. There are no lights in the inner sanctum other than that of the fire itself.
The fire inside the temple is believed to have been burning for 1,500 years. The fire originated from the flames of the Pars Karyan Fire Temple in Larestan, Fars province, which was brought to Aqda, Yazd province, and was kept alight there for 700 years. In 1143, it was taken to Ardakan where it burnt for 300 years.
Subsequently, in 1473, it was transported to Yazd where initially it was kept in the home of a high-ranking priest named Tirandaz Azargoshasp in a neighborhood called Khalaf Khan Ali. It was finally placed in its current location upon the completion of the fire temple.
These days, the fire temple is a tourist destination, especially during Norouz (the Iranian New Year that begins on March 21).
In 1999, Yazd Fire Temple was registered on Iran’s National Heritage List.
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