Mumbai: Moved 75 Meters North, Marine Drive's Parsi Gate Finally Restored After 3 Years

Mumbai: Moved 75 Meters North, Marine Drive's Parsi Gate Finally Restored After 3 Years

The site was restored as the Coastal Road's northbound lane had been built and inaugurated on Monday. It has added features of steps and balustrades descending to the beach.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Monday, June 10, 2024, 11:23 PM IST
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Mumbai: Moved 75 Meters North, Marine Drive's Parsi Gate Finally Restored After 3 Years |

Mumbai: The Parsi Gate on Marine Drive, which had been dismantled to pave way for the Coastal Road project, was finally reassembled on Monday – 75 metres north of the original site. Comprising two carved five-meter stone columns, the revered structure was removed in April 2021 by the BMC. The site was restored as the Coastal Road's northbound lane had been built and inaugurated on Monday. It has added features of steps and balustrades descending to the beach. The new Parsi Gate can be accessed by devotees by crossing a road signal 50 metres away.

The dismantling of the monument, built in the early 20th, had upset the Parsi-Zoroastrian community which used the site for religious rituals associated with water. Though the site is associated with the Parsis, there are no historical documents that link it to the community, said Jehangir Patel, editor of 'Parsiana' magazine.

“It was probably just a decorative gate for people to access the sea. As far as we know, the place is not related to Parsis. The community used to pray there on special days, especially like Ava Roj (water day) in the Ava Mah (water month),” he said. On these days, Parsis make offerings of coconut and other gifts to the sea, a custom probably influenced by Hindu traditions, said Patel. Interestingly, the site was also used by Hindus for religious rituals.

After dismantling the gate, the Radio Club pier in Colaba has been the centre of the rituals. An excerpt from a recent article in Parsiana explains why this location was chosen. “There are few places in Mumbai where one can sit on a pier surrounded on three sides by the sea. Therefore, the jetty of the Radio Club at Apollo Bunder is an ideal location to hold a religious function commemorating the day when Parsis venerate 'Avan Yazad', the angel presiding over water,” read the article.

The columns themselves are not listed as heritage monuments, but the Marine Drive precinct is a protected precinct. The decision to dismantle the columns had spurred petitions against the plans. An online petition 'Save the Parsi Gate' on change.org in 2020 received nearly 7,500 signatures. The Coastal Road engineers said that the site was moved because the canopy built on a section of the road would have obstructed views of the columns from across the road. The new site was selected after consulting members of the Parsi community.

An engineer from the Mumbai Coastal Road said that the site will be inaugurated around July 15. "We have not finalised any plans for the inauguration. We will probably also invite members of the Parsi community for the inauguration as the site is if religious importance to them," the engineer said. He added that the site has been restored using original materials. The pillars are made of Malad Trachyte stone.

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