Azerbaijan Hindu Fire-Temple ( Re: Zoroastrians in other countries)

Yashwant Malaiya malaiya at CS.COLOSTATE.EDU
Fri May 12 02:24:57 UTC 2000

Rustam wrote:

>I read that in Baku, Azerbaijan, the Fire-Worshipers' Temple
>used to belong to the Hindus, instead of the Zoroastrians. How
>is that possible?

There is an account in Bongard-Levin & Vigasin's "Obraz Indii",
a history of Soviet Indology. I have a Hindi translation.

The first account of Baku fire-temple, owned by Hindu traders,
is found in 17th century. In the middle of 18th century
as many as 40-50 monks lived there permanently. The Hindu
traders from Punjab/Multan used to arrive through Iran. Many were
settled  in Astrakhan across the Caspian, and some as far away as
St. Petersberg. The last priest extinguished the fire in 1883
and departed.

The collection of manuscripts form the temple is in some Russian
collections. The temple was a museum in the Soviet era. I'm
no sure what happened to it after that.

The Khatri traders used to trade throughout central Asia. Some
still live in Iran, those in Afghanistan have mostly fled.
Some Khatris used to be Jain (a few still are), a travel account
throughout central Asia is preserved in a temple in Delhi.

The Baku fire temple was a pilgrimage center, complete with
a dharmashala. If you will look it up in map, you will notice if
is very, very far away from India.


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