In an unprecedented move to help Amdavadis better understand the culture and religion that is Zoroastrianism, the Parsi Panchayat in the city opened the doors of the Vakil Adariyan Agiyari to observe and quench the curiosity of those who will never set foot inside the religious halls of the Parsis. Non-Parsis are not allowed inside an Agiyari. However, since renovations are underway at the 90-year-old structure, and since it will have to be consecrated again with a new fire at the end of repairs, the officials though it would be a good time to open the doors of the religious hall to give us a peek inside.
As one enters the holy place of worship, the words Humata Hukhta Hvarshta are noticeable. Explaining the same, Brigadier (retd) Jehangir Anklesaria, the president of the Parsi Panchayat says that these words contain the core beliefs of Zoroastrianism in the Avesta language. He said, “The words mean Good thoughts, Good words and Good deeds.” Anklesaria, explaining the character of this particular Agiyari and its importance, even showed the ‘Afringanyu’, the vessel which holds the holy fire in the ‘Keblo’ Sanctum Sanctorum of the Agiyari.
This is probably the first time in the 90 years of the Agiyari’s existence that even Parsis have entered this room, much less people from other religions. Only ‘Dastoors’ Parsi priests are allowed inside to keep the holy fire burning. The Agiyari, has not been renovated since 1986, and had developed cracks in one wall and had to be repaired. The wall was dug to its foundation and cement poured in to stop it from collapsing. The repairs cost Rs50 lakh.
The Afringanyu is kept in a small room and also has a cover that is attached to the roof of the room with the help of the pulley. The holy fire that burns in an Agiyari is made up of four types of fire taken from the houses of a king, a pauper, a farmer and a blacksmith. A prayer is carried out on all of them individually before mixing them one by one and there is prayer after mixing each one into the main fire. Five times aday, the bell is rung thrice and there is prayer on the holy fire by the priests.