SHERNAAZ ENGINEER's blog on the Parsi community

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Birthday – 150-years-old today!

The Sorabji Thoothi Agiary was built in 1859 and is recently renovated with painstaking care

People have birthdays, and places do too. Sacrosanct places that are awash with a vibrancy which the passing years just cannot wear away – and sustain us with a grace that gets more generous as time goes by.

For many Parsis, one such sanctuary for the soul is the Sorabji Thoothi Agiary at Walkeshwar, which turns 150-years-old today.

What a beautiful and bountiful bastion of faith this is, with its blessed well skirting the shimmering rim of Mumbai’s Queen’s Necklace, and sanctified by the waters of the Arabian Sea.

The Thoothi Agiary was recently renovated by the generous endeavours of the Bapuna siblings, and it’s mobed, Ervad Kersi Gonda, the righteous priest who has devotedly tended to the Holy Fire for close to a quarter of a century, affirms that countless faithful folk have had their wishes fulfilled down the years, following the timeless tenets of the Zoroastrian faith without compromise or controversy.

It is his fervent wish on the occasion of the 150th birthday of the Agiary that the Parsi community should preserve, protect and prudently propagate its unique legacy, without falling prey to petty and pernicious politicking, or rushing recklessly into reform, so that the flame of our faith continues to burn bright forever.

This brings us to another haloed precinct of the Parsi faith, the Banaji Limji Agiary at Fort, which celebrates its 300th anniversary on April 24. Three awesome centuries of nurturing, inspiring, blessing and bestowing its boons upon generation after generation of Parsis!

These two ancient, sacred fires should, fittingly, be the beacon of hope that brings all of us out of the dark alley of despondency… and the self-destructive dramatics that could well bring the curtains down on us. Unless we, like our forefathers, stay unwaveringly devoted to the very reason why they fled Iran and came to India: to preserve our fires and our faith.

The old style of the Thoothi Agiary has been maintained throughout the renovation

The prayer hall at Thoothi Agiary, with portraits of our illustrious forefathers, none of who ever advocated radical reform as the solution for our survival!

The wishing well at Thoothi Agiary. Devotees affirm it has wish-bestowing powers, and its right by the sea

Inside the Thoothi Agiary, where the flame of our faith has bestowed its boons for 150 years... and many more to follow!


Kappal_tero_deekra said...

Shernaz, deekree mehree, thank you so much for this uplifting and wonderful article. I truly enjoyed reading it. If you are ever in the New York region please do visit the ZAGNY religious center. I am sure you will like it as well.

Siloo Kapadia

Biliboy said...

Thanks Shernaaz for the beautiful article. It brought back some good old memories, when I used to visit Thuthi agiyari years ago before moving to Muscat.

Homiyar Bilimoria
Muscat, 23 April 2009

Alu said...

If I am not mistaken, there is a folklore about the Thoothi Agiary, that, when the Agiary was built, the well water was SALTY and everyone was concerned. Finally, Mrs. Thoothi (again,if I recollect right) decided to remedy this. She would be lowered on a seat with a tough rope every day and would pray for many hours inside the well. The water slowly turned sweet
and her efforts were well rewarded. It took some weeks.

There are many instances when our prayers have performed miracles. We should have faith in them, even if we do not quite understand everything we pray.

Shernaaz Engineer, Mumbai, India Email: said...

thanks siloo, homiyar and alu...

sure siloo, if i am in and around ny i willsurely get to the zagny centre and am sure it will be interesting.

homiyar, the thoothi agiary is one of the loveliest in mumbai, nestled as it is by the sea.

and, yes, alu -- the legend of kuvarbai thoothi is still being told, of how she would be lowered into the well and would pray for the waters to turn sweet, which they did!


Biliboy said...

Shernaaz, I can't agree more with you. The location of the agiyari is lovely. I loved to pray at the rear of the agiyari facing the sea.


Percy said...

I have heard that the trustees have sold the land of the Agairy trust to build a building on Agairy land for all, Paresees and NON-Parsees right behind the Agiary thus desecrating the Agiary and the holy well.
I also heard that a lot of them suffered inexplicably for this.
Why don't you research this and publish the TRUTH