Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Parsi in Mumbai

Dear reader,
Not sure why - but Sting's Englishman in New York came to my mind the other day when we visited one of the Parsi colonies in Mumbai. I couldn't get that song off my mind. Well, didn't meet the Englishman but on the other hand - I met the Parsi in Mumbai! And what a wonderful meeting it was!

Because - oh, yes, we are up and off again - exploring Mumbai - in this great group we have. Remember I told you about the group and our leading star Manasi? Well, we are in India so we just kicked off our season with a Puja! And then were off exploring, and this time we were ready to learn about the Parsis (= Persians in Persian language) in Mumbai. The parsis came from what is today Iran to India in the 10th century. They were allowed to stay, but not allowed to marry outside their religion neither to recruit new into the religion. Today there are only around 100.000 parsis left.
Happy explorers learning about the Parsis in Mumbai:-)
We were so lucky to be guided by the wonderful Taronish who is a Parsi herself. She took us around to look at their temples and houses, and it was like visiting a whole different place - looks nothing like other parts I have been in Mumbai. The architecture of the houses with the beautiful wooden balconies are typical for parsi houses.
A street with parsi houses

The wonderful wooden carvings on the parsi houses balconies
So, we were strolling around in the parsi neighboorhood, learning about this once world-ruling - and now in decline religion. We were walking in Mumbai, but still not quite in the city in a way... while Taronish enlightened us on their history, customs and rituals. We looked at the temples and the private houses and we made an unautorized stop at a divine-smelling bakery. Mmmh - yoummie parsi bread! The temples have the symbol of zoroastrian with the 3 layers of feather representing Good words, Good thoughts and Good deeds- and on the other side the opposite.
The parsis worship in fire temples. The fire has a special significance with giving light, warmth and energy and therefor life. This is one of the largest parsi temples in Mumbai.

 I think the highlight of the tour was in the end when we were invited in to a parsi home. We were served traditional tea, bread and cookies, and were told and showed more about the parsi life. The initiation in the religion takes place when the child is 7-9 years old. Then they are given the sudrah, a white shirt which they wear all their life- to remind them that their deeds should be as pure as the shirt. We were shown both this and the kusti, the sacred cord. The symbolism in the religion is build on the good words, thoughs and deeds, and it was very inspirational to learn about.
This is from the worship room in their home.
 What a great day! Thanks for the interesting tour and hospitality. Thanks to Taronish and Manasi, and thanks to my fellow explorers. How wonderful it is to experience something new in such great company. And with the sun shining! Stay tuned for more expat tales. Good night from Mumbai!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Dear reader, I love comments! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave one:-)