What is the verifiable background of this haven? How did a fire asylum with a welcome to Hindu perfect creatures ascend in this predominantly Muslim Central Asian country arranged on the western side of the Caspian Sea?
On Friday, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj paid veneration at the Fire Temple in Baku in Azerbaijan. The haven, known locally Ateshgah, is a medieval place of affection favored to Hindus, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians.
Swaraj, who is on a three-day visit to the country, was seen staying with hands crumbled in supplication before a consecrated place on which a fire was lit.
MEA agent Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet that "the primary line of the etching at Ateshgah dating to 1745-46 respects Lord Ganesha and second the superb fire".
In any case, what is the authentic setting of this haven? How did a fire haven with a welcome to Hindu awesome creatures create in this dominatingly Muslim Central Asian country arranged on the western side of the Caspian Sea?
1. But it was in the 18th century that Hindus, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians started arriving in the area in larger numbers.
2. The Hindus arrived because of trade. The region fell along one of the many prominent trade routes connecting Indian sub-continent to the West through Central Asia.
3. Construction of the temple as it stands today began after the Hindus arrived, which is sometime in the late 17th or early 18th century. European travelers and historians documented the presence of Hindus, Sikhs and ‘Parsis’ (Zoroastrians) from around 1683 to 1880.
4. There are 14 Sanskrit, two Punjabi and one Persian inscription in the ateshgah baku. The only Persian inscription has grammatical errors.
5. Of the two Sanskrit inscriptions, one mentions Lord Ganesha and Jwala Ji while the other is an invocation to Lord Shiva. The inscription mentioning Lord Shiva has motifs of Sun and swastika.
6. According to Abraham Valentine Williams Jackson’s ‘From Constantinople to the home of Omar Khayyam’, the inscriptions were carved between 1668 and 1816 AD.
7. Parsi priests were sent to the region from India till 1880. In 1925, a Parsi priest named Dr. Sir Jivanji Jamshedji Modi visited Ateshgah and concluded that the temple was Hindu in character yet later evidence did not rule out the place’s Zoroastrian origin.
8. The flame used to burn naturally till 1969 till rampant gas extraction by the Soviets emptied the reserves.
9. The fuel for the fire that now burns is fed from a gas pipeline coming all the way from Baku.
10. Ateshgah was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.