Udvada – I got to know about this place from a well known Photographer from my City added on my Facebook. He frequently visited this place and kept on posting very interesting pictures of his visits to his account. I was curious to find out more about the place and got to know that it was a Holy Place of Parsi’s or Zoroastrians and renowned all over the world for the Zoroastrian Atash Behram.
Zoroastrianism, the ancient pre-Islamic religion of Iran that survives there in isolated areas and, more prosperously, in India, where the descendants of Zoroastrian Iranian (Persian) immigrants are known as Parsis, or Parsees.
I was excited to go and check the place out. So I planned my trip with a friend on a Saturday who joined me from Surat.
How to reach :
Udvada is located at a distance of 110 kms approx from Surat. If you are planning by Train, you need to get down at Vapi Station. Udvada does have a Railway Station but being a small stations they don’t stop there. From Vapi once can hire a Taxi or take the sharing rickshaws. Since not many people travel t o Udvada, you may not find a rickshaw taking you to Udvada village. We took first auto from Vapi station till Udvada Station and then took another one to the Udvada village. They might charge you 10/- or 15/- rs per person.
I did a little research and checked out the places to eat there. So we asked the rickshawala to drop us at the Ashishwang Hotel as we both were very hungry. The food was great and a typical Persian restaurant cum Hotel. I ordered a fish along with some Chapatis and a Potato sabji. There was also a Veg. Omlette which was delicious. Our another favourite was the local cold drink which came in wonderful colors.Try these instead of the other famous cold drinks.
If you Plan to stay here, this place is a good option. The owner of the Hotel is quite welcoming and when we asked him if we can click more pictures of the place he told us “do anything you want here”
More pictures from the Hotel :
After our heavy brunch, we started our walk around this tiny village to explore. We reached the beach first, but did not see much people around. Unlike other beaches there was not much activity happening here. If you are in Udvada for a day, coming here sometime close to sunset can be peaceful.
It was a hot day even in the 3rd week to October, so decided to move ahead.
Zoroastrain Information Centre
We reached the Musuem next, also known as the Zoroastrain Information Centre. You can find out everything about the Parsi Culture here. This is Open from Wednesday to Monday from 9 am to 5 pm (Tuesday Closed).
Zoroastrian Atash Behram
Zoroastrian Atash Behram, a holy place of worship for Parsi’s is a temple in Udvada, also known as the “King of Iran”. This temple was built in 1742 by Dinshaw Dorabjee Mistry from Mumbai.
Non- Parsi’s are not allowed to enter inside the temple. One can click pictures from outside and talk to the local people to know more about it. There are shops outside the temple selling Sandalwood.
Photo – walking
Most of the streets were empty and the houses vacant. There are not much people living in the village and most of the Parsis have now moved out of this place. On checking with the locals, they told us many have moved to Mumbai or elsewhere. They only come to visit the Holy temple and go back. Sundays are when mostly you get to see more people or otherwise you probably will be walking alone here most of the time.
I loved the old houses, most of them like the Persian architecture, but could not spot many Parsi’s to interact with. There were few who came to visit the temple but soon left in their vehicles after the visit.
There is one Irani Bakery to satisfy your sweet tooth. You may also find the rickshaw wallas selling Mango ice-cream in their rickshaws, make sure you try them.
While walking we saw a nameplate called Della – Majestic and started clicking pictures. Soon the security guard came out with two other people and brought to our notice that we did not take prior permission before clicking. But the moment the other two guys left, he invited us inside and told us they were the owners, hence gave us that reaction. The place was stuffed with old antiques and decorative things that were used during the festival held in December 2015. It was previously a Hotel known as Majestic Hotel, completely ruined now.
Unlike cities, where we cannot walk on the streets without facing unnecessary honking or noise, here there was no disturbance. We walked hours exploring each and every house probably twice or even more. End of day we almost got familiar to this tiny village.
Some bungalows were very old, and so ruined, that bushes and trees grew all over the house.
If you are planning to visit Udvada and wanted to know anything more about the place, I would be happy to help. I would suggest to travel on a Sunday so you come back meeting more Parsi’s unlike me.