APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR RTR 2017
There are two types of tours you can choose to apply for at this stage. We currently only host one type of trip per year so please check the application page to ensure you are applying for the correct trip.
Trip: Track A
The pilot launch of Track A in January 2014 focused on exposing the participants to learning, understanding and connecting with Zoroastrianism and its rituals in India and Parsi material culture (food, art, music). On Track A trips, we also visit consecrated Agiaries and Atash Behrams. In accordance with the rules and customs of these religious sites, participants must satisfy the criteria of entry of these religious sites for this trip.
Trip: Track B
The second track (B), took place in Spring 2015, and drew participants from the Zoroastrian diaspora who want to explore their culture, community, and potential opportunities in Zoroastrian India. Participants met local Zoroastrians at the forefront of business, science, government, philanthropy, arts and music. This track also included religious elements, for example in the forms of visits to Zoroastrian religious institutions that are open to all and viewing a demonstration of the jashan ceremony. This track was open to all participants who have at least one Zoroastrian parent and have had their Navjote (sudreh-pushi) ceremonies.
Where in India will we go?
Track A trips are held in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Track B trips are held in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi.
We also plan to introduce similar trips to Iran in the future, however current political circumstances in the country make it very difficult at this point in time. As we plan to organize trips to future trips to Iran, we especially want Iranian Zoroastrian youth to participate in the India trips.
1) Sanjan Stambh
The idea to build a Sanjan memorial column came from Mademoiselle Daphene Mennent, a French lady who was a scholar on Zoroastrianism. When she visited Sanjan in 1901 she was astonished to find that the Parsis had neglected to raise a commemorative monument where their ancestors had first landed on the western coast of India. Her idea caught the imagination of the Parsis and Iranis and the column was formally inaugurated on 15th February 1920. It is affixed with 3 plaques in Gujarati, English and Avestan giving the short history of the Parsis. The column is made of granite and is 50 feet high.
2) Meherjirana Library
The first Dastur Meherjirana library was established in 1872; it houses some of the finest manuscripts of the Zoroastrian faith and is visited by scholars all over the world. It is situated in the heart of Navsari in an area called Tarota Bazaar, which was at the centre of a terrible controversy which occurred between the priests of the Bhargarsath Anjuman and the Sanjana priests who looked after the Sanjan fire (The Udwada fire now). The fight resulted in the death of a number of people and was finally resolved in the court of the Gaiwad in the town of Sonjhad. It is after this fight that the Sanjana priests took the sacred Iranshah fire out of Navsari to its current location in Udwada.
3) Vadi Dar i-Mehr
It is the oldest known structure in western India. It was built in the 12th century, in 1142, by the first priest, Mobed Kamdin Zarthush, who came to Navsari from Sanjan. It is here that all the priests from Navsari as well as the Sanjana priests who looked after the Iranshah, had their navar and martabs (priestly initiation) done there. The importance of this institution lies in the fact that a priest who has had his navar / martab in the Vadi Dar i-Mehr could for many centuries serve in any fire temple in India. It also functioned as the headquarters of the Bhagarsath Anjuman from where directives were issued and the formation and the secular governance of the community was carried out.
4) J.N. Tata Home
Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata was born in 1839, in a priestly family. He was initiated as a priest in the Vadi Dar i-Mehr in Navsari. When he was 14 years old he joined Elphinstone Institution as a free student. He made his fortune as a commissariat agent for the British during the Abyssinian war. He later joined his family firm of Nusserwanji Kalyandas in Hong Kong and traded in tea, cotton, opium, silk, camphor, cinnamon, copper, brass and Chinese gold. He returned to Bombay at the height of the cotton boom and amassed a great fortune. Jamsetji Tata is known as the one man Planning Commission of India for he set up cotton mills, hotels, educational institutions of science. This humble home is a tribute to a man who rose from a modest family to become one of India’s leading industrialists.
5) Dadar Madressa
The Dadar Madressa was established in 1919 by the great scholar priest Dastur Doctor Dorab Peshotan Sanjana. It started with 10 students and when the numbers increased the present building was built in 1924. The present principal of the Madressa is a scholar priest, Ervad Ramyar Karanjia who has also authored several books on Zoroastrianism.
6) Irani Bakeries
In the 18th and 19th Centuries in Iran, the Zoroastrians under the Qajar Kings were ruthlessly persecuted. A poll-tax known as the Jizya was imposed on every single Zoroastrian, who had to pay this tax either in cash or in kind and if this was not possible it was not unknown for tax collectors to demand from them sacred manuscripts and books which were then weighed and burnt to teach the Zoroastrians a lesson. All this left the Iranian Zoroastrian community in abject poverty. Thus it is not surprising that over a period of time many Zoroastrians came from Iran to India to work in order to send some money back to their families in Iran. The most common jobs available were in the chai-khanas of Bombay which catered to the labour class, dockyard workers and others who worked in the early morning shifts. Some of these bakeries were established by wealthy Iranian Zoroastrian traders who traded with India in commodities such as Asafoetida, resin, fruits, dates, tea and gum. Their most popular dish is Bun Maska which means bread and butter, Keema Paow and Frill Cutlets. The famous Irani cafes are Brittania, Kayani, Sassanian and New Light of Persia.
7) Heritage Walk Tour of Bombay