Almost a year after a high priest from the Zoroastrian community had suggested that Godavara Agiary, also known as Gamadia Agiary, should be shut and the fire should be moved to some other location, the Grade II-A heritage structure at Fort was restored and opened to the community on Tuesday.
The statement had come in from the high priest considering that the temple was in a dilapidated condition. However, trustees of Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) , the caretaker of the agiary and many other Parsi properties in the city, had in January this year said that the shrine will be repaired and its fire will not be shifted. Ferdoz Pavri, a priest of the agiary, said that around 150 people visited the temple on Tuesday, but on a daily basis around 10-15 people visit. The footfall is expected to increase at the agiary, which houses the second grade of fire in its premises.
“The fire temple is an asset to the community and it is our responsibility to maintain our history and religious structures left behind by our forefathers,” said Xerxes Dastur, BPP trustee.
The restoration was done at a cost of ₹35 lakh, of which the chairman of BPP, Yazdi Desai, contributed ₹10 lakh. The process took around eight months, which involved addressing the leakage in the building, duct and ventilation for the smoke and some tiling work, among others.
“There are a lot of fire temples in this area but those staying nearby come to this one,” said Armaity Pagdiwalla, a resident of Fort. Speaking about the challenges faced during the process of restoration, Jamshid Bhiwandiwalla, architect, said a tree had grown inside the fire temple.
The fire was consecrated on February 2, 1826, in a bungalow earlier owned by Seth Jamshedji Jejeebhoy who donated it to the priests from Godavara clan.