Zoroastrian Temple ‘Atash Kadeh’ to Open Doors in Houston

The Zoroastrian Temple, Atash Kadeh, has been built through financial contributions donated by the Bhandara family. The grand opening of the temple will take place on March 23, 2019.

HOUSTON: Those who practice the 4,000-year-old faith of Zoroastrian will now have a place to worship in the Bayou City. On March 23, the Atash Kadeh Temple will open on West Airport Blvd. and will be the first in North America to facilitate a full range of traditional Zoroastrian religious practices, including performance of higher liturgical rituals and ordainment of priests.

The religion, a monotheistic faith with roots in the Persian Empire, operates on the ideals of “good thoughts, good words and good deeds” and “there is only one path – the path of truth.” A life-affirming religion, it has seen a resurgence in recent years as there are now 26 associations and one North American federation (FEZANA), providing a strong communal structure.

“It made sense to build this temple in Houston – one of the most diverse cities in the country – that embraces a wide range of cultures, ethnicities and religions,” said Fred Bhandara, whose financial donations made the construction of the temple possible. “It will provide the approximately 1,000 Zoroastrians residing in Houston with a sacred and quiet place for worship and meditation.”

Worldwide, it is estimated that 200,000 individuals practice the faith, one that has survived despite many devastations, destructions of scriptures, annihilation of priests and persecution of believers.

“The goal was to create a practical and contemporary building that fulfills the needs of the present-day community, while still referencing and perpetuating the rich religious and liturgical heritage of the faith,” said Aban Rustomji, spokesperson for the Atash Kadeh Temple.

Located at 8787 West Airport Blvd., the temple features ornamental stone columns. The interior of the building provides a peaceful environment with a glass walk that overlooks a garden. The prayer area, with its simplistic design, has marble walls, which help those worshiping focus without distraction. A quiet garden provides space for outdoor worship and reflection.

The temple will officially open on March 23rd with a grand opening celebration, which will include prayer ceremonies, social events, lectures and a gala dinner.