The New Year has brought some good news for the Parsi community. On the very first day of the New Year itself, community members held a jashan – celebration and prayer ceremony – at the completion of the first phase of the only Parsi museum, Framji Dadabhoy Alpaiwalla Museum, popularly known as Alpaiwalla Museum, at Khareghat Colony, Hughes Road.
Made in the 1920s, the museum was in a poor shape due to leaking roofs and not in sync with the modern museums.
“As part of the first phase, the structural work of the museum is over,” said Pheroza Godrej, a consultant for the renovation work.
The second phase will include internal fitting and detailing like lighting, temperature control, monitoring of TV, and curatorial staff.
“The third phase would include mainly work that will help wheel bound visitors. A hydraulic lift, ramps and other things are planned for the same,” added Godrej.
“For visitors, the museum is expected to be opened by March or April. The overall renovation cost will be around Rs1 crore,” said Dinshaw Mehta of the Bombay Parsi Punchayet, which owns the premises.
By March, the consultants are also hoping to have shows at the museum.
“Around 2,500 artefacts will be moved in around that time,” said Godrej.
Almost 80 per cent of the artefacts are of ceramic in nature and are said to be 3,000 years old.
Some of them are already put up at the National Gallery of Modern Art where an exhibition on the evolution of the trade of Parsi community is going on. Most were collected by Alpailwalla and Unwala, two archaeologists over 100 years ago from Iran and silk route from where they were collected.
The community is also asking its members to donate some artefacts. Two new artefacts that will be shown are a grand staircase of Apadana of Persopolis and sanctum sanctorum of a fire temple. These are donated by Dr Cyrus Poonawala who got them made here. At present, they were being shown at the School of Oriental and African Stuides (SOSA).