Parsi New Year is also known as ‘Jamshedi Navroz’ after the legendary King of Persia, Jamshed who started the Parsi Calendar.
Parsis follow the religion of Zoroastrianism which is one of the ancient world’s most important religions for over 1000 years and was the official religion of Persia (now Iran) from 650 BCE until the rise of Islam in the 7th century.
Parsi and Bombay
Mumbai history is full of Parsis contribution. The cosmopolitan community of Mumbai has seen Parsis for more than four centuries now. The first record of a Parsi, Dorabji Nanabhoy, settled in Bombay in the 1640 for trade reasons and with the arrival of the Britishers, more and more Parsis migrated to Bombay. In 1673, the British handed over a piece of land in Malabar Hill to the community for the establishment of their first Dakhma, Tower of Silence. After death, Parsis were taken to the Towers of Silence where the corpses are quickly eaten by the city’s vultures.
Famous Parsis (from Mumbai):
- The Bombay Samachar, Asia’s oldest newspaper, was founded by a Parsi scholar and priest by the name of Fardoonji Murazban.
- Dadabhai Naoroji, known as the “Grand Old Man of India”, was a Parsi intellectual, educator and the first Asian to be a British MP.
- Pherozeshah Mehta was known as ‘The Lion of Bombay’ and ‘Uncrowned King of Bombay’ was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress.
- Cowasjee Nanabhoy Davar who set up the Bombay Spinning and Weaving Company, the first cotton mill to be established in Bombay, on 7 July 1854 at Tardeo
- Jamsetji Tata, regarded as the “Father of Indian Industry” who founded the Tata Group.
- Rockstar Freddie Mercury, the lead vocalist of Queen was born of Parsi descent in the Sultanate of Zanzibar, and grew up there and in India before moving with his family to Middlesex, England, in his teens.
Must-see Parsi places in Mumbai:
- Dadar Parsi Colony in the famous Five Gardens area of Dadar-Matunga is the largest Zoroastrian enclave in the world, and in 2009, out of the 45,000 Zoroastrians living in Mumbai, 10,000 lived in Dadar Parsi Colony.
- Bhikha Behram Well is the oldest sweet water well in Mumbai , sunk way back in 1725. The site is a declared heritage structure and is held sacred by the Parsi community.
- The Banaji Limji Agiary in Fort entered its 309th year old this year.
Parsi New Year is celebrated by visiting the Agiary. Agiary is commonly known as the Fire Temple which was brought from Iran and the fire is always kept burning in the temple by the high priest. The Parsis worship Ahura Mazda which symbolizes fire. They offer milk, flowers, water, fruits and sandalwood to the sacred fire on this special day. No festival is complete in India without decorating your house. And on Navroz as well, Parsis decorate their houses with colorful flowers and rangolis, in which the motif of a fish is used.
If you are looking to spend your day at some Irani café eating the Parsi food, the perfect place is SodaBottleOpenerWala in BKC.
SodaBottleOpenerWala, your quintessential Bombay Irani café and bar by the Olive group presents Bhonu or the Parsi feast on 17th August 2017, to join-in the Parsi New Year celebrations. Enjoy myriad flavours of the Parsi culture through a sumptuous Parsi feast and sample some signature traditional dishes put together to make the Parsi New Year meal a delightful one.