Udvada is a coastal town situated around 187 km north of Mumbai. Located between the Union Territory of Daman and the district town of Valsad on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, it is also known as the Mecca of Zoroastrians. Udvada is a holy place of Parsis, which was constructed in the 7th century by invaders from Iran. Udvada derived its name from ‘uth vada’, which means ‘grazed by camels’. The condition of the destination was same before it was converted into a fishing village.
The history of Udvada dates back to the 7th century when the Muslim invasion of Iran led to the negligence of Zoroastrians. The Zoroastrians were marginalised and fled to India in order to preserve their culture and belief. Bringing with them the sacred fire, they first reached Sanjan, which is located 30 km from Udvada.
Historians state that during the 14th century, Sanjan was assaulted by armed forces of the Delhi Sultanate and the Parsis again departed themselves into the caves of Barhot Hills. These caves are situated at a distance of around 14 km from south of Sanjan. During the 18th century, a decision was made to return the sacred fire to Sanjan; however, the priests preferred to remain in Udvada.
Majority of the population belong to the Persian religion. Fishing being the prime industry of Udvada, it plays a vital role in transforming the culture as per local customs and traditions adopted by the community. Shivaratri, Holi and Dussehra are some of the prominent festivals celebrated in the destination.
Atash Behram is a popular tourist attraction here. Being one of the most important sacred fire-temples of Zoroastrians, the temple is the oldest continuously burning fire-temple in the world. It is one of nine Atash Behrams in the world, out of which eight are located in western India, with one in Udvada. It is believed that a Parsi must visit any of these fire-temples once during their life time.
Udvada can be reached through flights available for Surat Airport. It is the nearest airport to the destination and is located at a distance of 176 km from Udvada. Udvada has a railway station, which is located at a distance of about 11 km from the city centre.
Maharashtra State Transport Corporation buses and private buses operate frequently from all the major towns and cities to the location. Travellers can visit Udvada during October to February as the weather conditions are pleasant and most of the festivals are celebrated during these months.