ASI relief for Parsi temple, may soon become a monument of national importance
The Fire Temple at Ezra Street, though one of the earliest symbols of pluralistic and cosmopolitan culture of ‘Calcutta’, has long been taken over by trading units that have turned it into an electrical storehouse of sorts. But with the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) taking an interest in the monument, things have started looking up for the 175-year-old building. And if things go as planned, it may soon become a monument of national importance.
ASI regional director (east) Dr P K Mishra, who inspected the temple recently, said, “The building is an intrinsic part of the city’s heritage. I will recommend the government to turn it into a monument of national importance. We need an urgent restoration work to protect it from complete destruction.”
But as of things stand now, the building — popularly known as Rustomjee Cowasjee Banajee Agiary — is in a sorry state. Plasters are peeling off from each wall, the marbles on the floor have been scooped out and growth of vegetation has weakened the entire structure. Every inch of the building, including the temple basement, has been encroached upon by business units. Even the gate can hardly be seen from the road.
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I was informed by Mr. Natubhai Chawda a partner in a wine shop which had a Parsi Licensee in the years gone by that our Agiary at Rajkot is a sprawling structure but almost unrecognisable today. Can any one enlighten me if there is a Dastur saheib or care taker to look after it ?