Fire Temple of Yazd

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Yazd Atash Behram

The Fire Temple of Yazd (آتشکده یزد), also known as Yazd Atash Behram (Persian: یزد آتش بهرام), is a Zoroastrian fire temple in Yazd, Yazd province, Iran. It enshrines the Atash Bahram, meaning “Victorious Fire”, dated to 470 AD. It is one of the nine Atash Bahrams, the only one of the highest grade fire in ancient Iran where Zoroastrians have practiced their religion since 400 BC; the other eight Atash Bahrams are in India.[1][2] According to Aga Rustam Noshiravan Belivani, of Sharifabad, the Anjuman-i Nasiri (elected Zoroastrian officials) opened the Yazd Atash Behram in the 1960s to non-Zoroastrian visitors.

Seeing a few children, firebox in their hand, and their occasional naughtiness but with caution not to fall into the ground was a common sight in ancient Iran. The children who like fire were the heat and kindness of every family. At that time, there was no match or other instrument to make fire. Thus, in one place, a fire was always on so that the people can take an amount of fire daily to turn on the firebox of their house. “Kadeh” in Dari Persian language means house, and “Atashkadeh” means the house of fire.[1]

Veneration of fire has its roots in the older practice of keeping a hearth fire going especially in the cold winters on the steppes of Central Asia when the Indo Europeans led a nomadic life, and fire was a source of warmth, light and comfort. The Iranians began calling fire the Atas Yazata (divinity) and began giving it offerings in return for its constant help. The ceremony accompanying recitation of the Yasna Haptanghaiti seems to originate in pre Zoroastrian times where priests offered libations to fire and water. [3]

Background[edit]

The temple is located in Yazd,[citation needed] to the east of Shiraz, in the desert province of Yazda, where Zoroastrians have practiced their religion since about 400 BC.[4] It is located on the Ayatullah Kashani Avenue and is 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) away from Yazd Airport.[5]

The highest grade of fire temples were first constructed in the Sasanian Empire for the reverence of fire, which is the manifestation of Ahura Mazda in the Zoroastrian religion.[1] According to the Zoroastrian religion, this type of fire is consecrated by sixteen different sources, including the fire created by a lightning bolt.[6]

History[edit]

According to an inscription plaque fixed on the shrine, the construction of the Yazd Atash Behram temple is dated to 1934. The funds for building it were provided by the Association of the Parsi Zoroastrians of India. Construction was done under the guidance of Jamshid Amanat. The sacred fire of the temple is stated to have been burning since about 470 AD;[2] originally started by the Sassanian Shah when it was in the Pars Karyan fire temple in southern Pars district of Larestan.[6] From there it was transferred to Aqda where it was kept for 700 years. The fire was then moved in 1173 to Nahid-e Pars temple in nearby Ardakan, where it remained for 300 years until it was moved again to the house of a high priest in Yazd, and was finally consecrated in the new temple in 1934.[2][7]

A bust of Maneckji Limji Hataria who was instrumental in raising funds for building the temple, has been installed in the precincts of the temple. The bust also displays the Zoroastrian divine symbols of the Sun and the Moon.[8]

Features[edit]

Zoroastrian Eternal Flame at the Fire Temple in Yazd, Central Iran

The fire temple is built in Achaemenid architecture style in brick masonry to the design prepared by the architects from Bombay. It is similar in design to the Atash Behram temples in India. The building is surrounded by a garden which has fruit trees.[9] There is a winged deity of the Ahura Mazda embedded on the front door of the temple.[10]

The sacred fire is installed in the temple behind an amber tinted glass enclosure. Only Zoroastrians are allowed to go to the sanctum area of the fire. Non-Zoroastrians can only view it from outside the glass chamber.[11] The Anjuman-i Nasiri opened the Yazd Atash Behram in the 1960s to non-Zoroastrian visitors.[12]

The Zoroastrians’ fire temple was completed by Persian architecture in 1936 and finally in 1939, this 1547 year old fire was transferred to the fire temple. The fire of the Yazd fire temple is from Bahram fire (the specific fire of Sassanid kings) that doubled its importance.

There was always a spring or stream next to the old fire temples of Iran, because it was trying to put together the four elements of water, wind, soil, and fire. After that, they tried to have a spring or stream next to every fire temple. But due to the lack of spring and stream, the constructed pool in Yazd fire temple was built for this reason. At prayer times, you see the bright dressed men and women entering the fire temple with bare feet (without shoes).

The holy fire of the fire temple is in a large bronze furnace, and a person named “Hirbod” is responsible to keep it. This eternal fire can now be watched by visitors separated from it by a glass wall.[13]

Photo Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ejaz 2010, p. 18.
  2. ^ a b c Eduljee, K. E. "Yazd". Heritage Institute. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Atas Yazata".
  4. ^ Steytler, Georgina (26 May 2010). "Iran: treasures and contrasts". The West Australian. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  5. ^ Giara 2002, p. 172.
  6. ^ a b Rogerson 2013, p. 140.
  7. ^ Eduljee, K. E. "Zoroastrian Places of Worship". Heritage Institute. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  8. ^ Warden 2002, p. 32.
  9. ^ Godrej & Mistree 2002, p. 315.
  10. ^ Karber 2012, p. 160.
  11. ^ Godrej & Mistree 2002, p. 285.
  12. ^ Godrej & Mistree 2002, p. 323.
  13. ^ "Yazd Atashkadeh (Yazd Atash Behram)". DAD Hotel. 2019-10-26. Retrieved 2020-02-10.

Bibliography[edit]

Coordinates: 31°54′20″N 54°20′21″E / 31.90556°N 54.33917°E / 31.90556; 54.33917