85 Years of Parsi Agiary
An agiary built by Pastonji Contractor in 1923, which is the city’s first private agiary, would soon adorn a sparkling new look. The agiary’s managing trustees are planning to start the restoration work from September. In 2009 this Parsi temple will mark the celebration of 85 years of its establishment.

The last restoration work was carried out in 1999, wherein, Rs 12 lakh was spent to refurbish the shrine. This time, the trustees plan to freshly paint walls within the agiary that have blackened the Holy Fire. But, the sacred fire will be shifted to another  place  till the restoration work is over.  Under the renovation work,  the  management will built a compound wall on
the northern side of the agiary to protect the shrine. A small garden and trees have already been planted to maintain a green cover around the temple.
“It was under instruction of Faramji Contractor, my great grand father that my grand father Pastonji built this agiary in 1923 at Sayajigunj. The significance of this particular space is that Faramji had started his brick manufacturing business at that place but later constructed the temple so that Parsis in the city have a place to offer prayers,” said Jeru Contractor who is one of the trustees of the Parsi Agiary. It was built at the cost of just over Rs 1 lakh in 1923.

Faramji was the main contractor of erstwhile royal family of Baroda state. He had made it clear that the agiary should be managed and financed by family members only and no outside financial assistance should be allowed. His great grand children have maintained the legacy till date. “We had to manage funds in order to carry out restoration work. That is why it took almost ten years to begin repair work.”

A Community Hall, A Dharmshala and A Bungali (used for performing death ceremonies) are also located near the agiary. “In entire Vadodara district there in only one Bungali which is at our agiary. It is from here that the body is taken for the towers of silence,” added Contractor.