Recognised as a heritage structure by the erstwhile Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (Huda), the Fire Temple has a unique architecture resembling the Indo-European style with huge columns in the facade.
A mega winged symbol, Faravahar, welcomes the devout at the entrance of the temple. This symbol of Zoroastrianism is more than 4,000 years old and is also found in Egypt and what was ancient Mesopotamia. The symbol is commonly associated with the sun and the deities connected with it.
There is a sacred well on the premises of the temple, where a priest offers prayers. The 70-feet well brims with water all round the year. The devout also place burning candles at the mouth of the well.
“Fire occupies a prominent place in Zoroastrian eschatology. Zoroastrian priests take precautions to keep the fire alive throughout the year. Earlier, our community used sandalwood to keep the fire burning. But now we are using dry logs of babool as sandalwood has become expensive. Moreover, there is also restriction on the movement of sandalwood,” Capt KF Pestonji, president of Old Parsi Fire Temple Trust, told TOI.
Incidentally, Hyderabad has the second largest Parsi population in India after Mumbai and has two more fire temples apart from the one in Secunderabad. But on August 17, as many as 1,100 members of the community will gather at the Secunderabad temple at 7am to offer prayers. They will end the day with festivities at the Zoroastrian Club on SP Road.