Doongerwadi’s Large Pavilion Renovated By Pardiwala Family

The conservation and restoration of the sacred Doongerwadi’s large pavilion – the Jamshetji Rustumjee Sethna Mandap (constructed in 1938), was undertaken by siblings Cyrus, Dinshaw and Rashneh Pardiwala, in honour of their parents – Roda and Noshir Pardiwala. The refurbished pavilion was inaugurated on 16th November, 2023, with an auspicious Jashan ceremony followed by BPP Trustee Anahita Desai thanking all donors for their support in restoring the Doongerwadi over the years, and sharing future plans for its continued enhancement.

Addressing the gathering, donor Dr. Rashneh Pardiwala described the project as a ‘labour of love’, in honour of her parents, who imbibed in her and her siblings, the importance of faith. Noshir Pardiwala then unveiled a commemorative plaque. Delivering the vote of thanks, BPP Chairperson Armaity Tirandaz presented the Pardiwala family a memento of appreciation for their generous donation of over Rs. 85 lakhs.

This project was the brainchild of Dr. Rashneh Pardiwala, Founder and Director of the Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE), who has been endeavouring to improve forest diversity at Doongerwadi since 2015. Seeing the deteriorating condition of the large pavilion, she approached the BPP to take on its comprehensive restoration. Her family too contributed greatly to the project.

After receiving the formal approval from the Mumbai Heritage Committee, Dr. Pardiwala commenced the project with Architect Unwalla to restore the pavilion to its original grandeur, with much attention paid to detail as specialist teams worked on different facets – like roofers from Kerala, masons and carpenters from Rajasthan, and antique lamps handcrafted in Lucknow.

One of the highlights is the installation of three stunning stained-glass panels by leading Singapore-based stained-glass artist, Swati Chandgarkar who was commissioned by Dr. Pardiwala to create a pictorial representation of Zoroastrian beliefs mabout last rites and the soul’s evolution, to provide solace to mourners. Extensive research was put into this, including consultations with prominent Avestan scholars and priests. A mini museum corner too has been made at the far end of the Pavilion, where a model of a dokhma and an information poster has been installed. Many thanks to the Pardiwala family and donors for their continued generosity in helping restore and maintain our most holy Doongerwadi structures.

Photo Credit: Farokh Mojia

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