The Parsi Fire Temple at Royapuram – Madras
The Parsi Fire Temple
Though a small community with a few thousand at its peak population, which has shrunk to around 200 now, the Parsi community has still left an impact on the history and culture of Madras. They shot films, built theatres, had tea shops and even fashioned the water supply of Madras. Parsis first arrived in Madras around 1800 but it took a century before they built a fire temple for themselves. Jal Phiroj Clubwala Dar E Meher, popularly known as the Royapuram fire temple, is located on Arathoon Road.
Sir Dinshaw Petit of Bombay (whose granddaughter was Jinnah’s wife) donated a large sum. Phiroj Muncherji Clubwala donated another large corpus and land after he was bereaved. The grateful Parsis named the temple after Clubwala’s son.
Only Parsis and Zoroastrian Iranis are admitted into the sanctum sanctorum. The fire at the temple has never been extinguished since the construction of the temple (for over a century now). Priests tend to the fire five times a day during prayers, once even at midnight. When the German ship Emden bombed the neighbourhood, the Arathoon road became empty except for the priest who maintained the fire.
Astad Clubwala writes:
I grew up at Rayapuram in Parsi Blocks behind this Agyari.