The migration of Parsis to India – part 1

Posted by:

Roj Adar Mah Tir, 1383 Yz. , Fasli Adar Parab.

Today, November 24th 2013, is an auspicious day as it is Fasli Adar Mah and Adar Roj. On this day, nearly 1300 years ago, Dastur Nairyosangh Dhaval and his group of advanced Ashavan souls established the sacred Iranshah Atash Behram and the Pav Mahel of Hindustan in Sanjan. A few days ago, on Roj Bahman Mah Tir, we also observed the date of the landing of the Parsis in Sanjan.

When did the Zoroastrian Empire fall in Iran? Who was the last Zoroastrian King? Who defeated us and why? Why did we leave Iran? Did we leave immediately after the Empire fell or later? Why did we choose to come to India? Why did we come by boat and not over land? How many of us came? Were we refugees? Did we get women and children along or did only men come? Why did we land in Diu? Why did we stay there for 19 years? Why did we leave Diu after 19 years? Why were we happy to leave Diu? Why did we set sail again when it could have been easier to walk to Sanjan?

What about the story of the storm in the sea and ‘Parsi taro Thabaryo?’ In which year did we land in Sanjan? Did we get any Fire from Iran? Who was Jadi Rana? Who was this Nairyosangh Dhaval? Did he suffer from low blood sugar? Why was he moving around with sugar in his pocket? What is the real truth behind the story of the milk and the sugar? Was is sugar or something else? How did Dastur Nairyosangh know Sanskrit? What is this story about the 16 couplets recited by him in front of Jadi Rana? What conditions did Jadi Rana impose on us? Why did we accept these conditions? What happened after we landed?

How did we get the land to build the Iranshah complex in Sanjan? How long did it take to consecrate the Iranshah? Did non-Parsis construct the building housing Iranshah? What is the story behind the fire of lightning brought down by Dastur Nairyosangh? What is the story of a hidden Atash beneath the visible Iranshah? Which calendar did Dastur Nairyosangh use for consecrating the Iranshah? For how long did the Iranshah reside in Sanjan? What happened after 600 years?

Why was Iranshah shifted? What happened to the whole Sanjan complex? How and where was the Iranshah shifted? How did Parsis in those days travel to pay homage to Iranshah? What is the ‘Iranshah Jatra no Garbo?’ Who was Changa Asha? How did Iranshah come to Navsari? How did the priests organize themselves in these years? Who inherited and who lost the right to serve Iranshah? What are the different groups of priests like Sanjanas, Bhagarias, Karkarias? What disputes arose in those early days and how were they settled? How did Iranshah finally come to Udvada? What historical sources do we have for our early years in India? Who was Mobed Bahman Kaikobad? What is Kisseh-i-Sanjan? Is it a fabrication? Why are some of the verses so difficult to understand? What is the future of Iranshah? How is it linked to the future of the Parsis?

What light has our Master, Ustad Saheb Behramshah N. Shroff thrown on these questions? These are some of the topics we will try to answer in this new series beginning today.

For me personally too, November 24th is an important milestone. On this day, in 2003, I took charge as the Panthaky of the Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nowroji Shroff Daremeher in Behram Baug. Today, as I complete 10 years in this position, I look back at this journey and wonder how it all panned out. It has not been an easy task. But I have enjoyed every bit of it. Through thick and thin, the Padshah Saheb has helped me, giving me determination, good health, vigour and courage to serve Him with honesty, humility and purity. Within this short time, our Daremeher at Jogeshwari has established a reputation as being a centre of excellence in prayers, and possibly the last bastion of traditional, orthodox Zoroastrian ritual.

For this I have to thank many people, but most of all my family members who have sacrificed a lot so that I could perform as per the traditions and rules of purity which are so essential in this position. And it would not have been possible without the help of so many Mobed Sahebs, helpers, assistants, volunteers who have each given their bit towards ensuring the sanctity and beautiful atmosphere that our Daremeher exudes. To all of them I offer my humble thanks.

Ten years is an insignificant time for an Agiary or an Atash Padshah. The road ahead is long and the future is uncertain. But we will not move from our principles, we will not stray away from the teachings of our beloved Ustad Saheb and we will remain true to the essential traditional methods and rituals of our faith. In this journey, I look forward to the support of my many readers of Frashogard, who not only read what is written but also comment on it, forward it to many other people and hence spread the light of Khshnoom. With your support and the blessings of the Padshah Saheb, we will continue our journey on the long, but straight road towards Frashogard.

Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram



  1. doneshlaher  November 24, 2013

    eagerly waiting for the answers to read.

  2. Shahnaz Irani  November 25, 2013

    Congratulations to you Ervad Marzbanji,for completion of 10 sucessfull years as a panthaky of Ustad Saheb Behramshah Nawroji Shroff Daremeher.Under your leadership and guidance,I am fortunate to join many of those who are heading towards their final destination Frashogard.

  3. Mohnaz  November 25, 2013

    Congrats, for successfully completing 10 wonderful years at the Daremeher & best wishes for many more fruitful years to come, may you always be blessed by Dadar & Paak Atash Padsha Saheb for doing the good & humble work, in the one of the most unselfish manner in today’s times. The topics to be covered in this series seems to be quite captivating & informative & am eagerly awaiting to read the same.

  4. Porus Homi Havewala  November 29, 2013

    Congrats, All the Best.

  5. rita  December 4, 2013

    Congratulations and best wishes Ervad saab. Look forward to reading the informative and interesting articles. God bless.