PARSI TEMPLE (Agiyari), opposite Benyon Smith High School, Camp Belgaum.
The Parsi Temple in Belgaum was consecrated about 124 years ago. On December 9th 1891.The temple was built by Kurseji Pestonji Boyce. There is a Dharamshala, a guest house for Parsi travelers and also residences for the priest.
In the year 1920, the temple was handed over to the Anjuman for maintenance and for performing the daily rituals. The rituals essentially comprise of fire worship and prayers which are carried forth, five times a day. The chief priest is the only authorized person to perform these rituals. The first of the daily prayers is held immediately after sunrise, later in the noon, immediately after sunset, at night and the last worship is performed at 1am. Zorastrianism is a simple religion and has less of rituals and restrictions compared to other religion. The basic tenets only say that nothing should be done in excess. The prophet Zarathushtra, preached what is known as the “Golden Mean”, which says that there should be no over indulgence in any given activity of human life. Parsi religion relies simply on good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
The religion recommends no fasting or abstinence for any religious function or observance of a ritual. There is no allowance for conversion in this religion. One cannot be converted to Zorashtrianism. This alone has caused for the diminishing of the community. Marriages outside the community are also forbidden and would lead to ex-communication in case of any violation of the dictum. Children of those excommunicated are barred from undergoing the “Navjyoth”or the initiation in to the religion.
“Farwasi”, the bird like symbol is all embodying for the Parsis, as it conveys that the soul also has light and fire in it.
The temple is managed by the Anjuman which consists of five elected members. There are only two classes of Parsis-the priestly and the non-priestly class.
The entry into the Fire Temple is restricted only to the Parsi community. The once 2000 and odd number of community today has dwindled to less than 150 souls. At present there are only a few families left in Belgaum city.