The Parsis, devotees of the Zoroastrian religion, came to India from Iran around 1,000 years ago. They are followers of one of the oldest religions in the world, thought to have begun in the late 2nd millennium BCE with the teachings of Zarathushtra.
On a truly unique itinerary that travels from Mumbai to Jaipur, Far Horizons invites you to follow in their path through the Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, and then on to Rajasthan.
So what do we know about the Zoroastrian religion?
According to the 1991 census, there were 79,382 members of the Zoroastrian faith. Seventy-nine percent lived in Maharashtra (primarily in Bombay) and most of the rest in Gujarat.
Zoroastrians today are primarily descendants of tenth-century immigrants from Persia who preserved the religion of Zoroaster, a prophet of Iran who taught probably in the sixth century B.C.
Although the number of Parsis steadily declined during the twentieth century as a result of emigration and low birth rates, the religion is significant because of the financial influence from this mostly trading community. Also, they represent the world’s largest surviving group of believers in this ancient faith.
Originally, the Parsis were shipbuilders and traders located in the ports and towns of Gujarat.
Many moved to Bombay…a base for expanding their business activities throughout India and abroad.
Because of their Western commercial contacts and English-language education during the colonial period, the Parsis are the most cosmopolitan community in India.
Today in India, Parsis are the most urban, elite, and wealthy of any of the nation’s religious groups. They have an important role in the development of trade, industry, finance, and philanthropy. They have earned an important place in India’s social and economic life. Many have achieved high rank in government.
The source of Parsi religion is a body of texts called the Avesta, which includes a number of sections in archaic language attributed to Zoroaster himself, and which preserve the cult of the fire sacrifice as the focus of ritual life.
The supreme spirit is Ahura Mazda (or Ohrmazd), whose will is manifest in the world through the actions of bountiful immortals or good spiritual attributes that support life and love.
Opposing the supreme spirit is the force of evil, Angra Mainyu (or Ahriman), which is the cause of all destruction and corruption in the world.
Equipped with free will, humans can choose sides in this struggle and after death will appear at the bridge of judgment.
People who choose to do good deeds go to heaven, those who commit evil go to hell.
The opposed cosmic forces battle through the history of the universe, until at the end of time there will be a final judgment and a resurrection of the dead to a perfect world. ~photius.com
Join only 13 others for this truly unique sojourn! Plan now…the dates of this trip are February 4 – 19, 2017. Click here to see the wonderful itinerary.