Ateshgah: Fire Temple in Azerbaijan with Sanskrit Inscriptions

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In the Caucasus region, where Europe ends and Asia begins, lies the Absheron peninsula of Azerbaijan. Surrounded by the Caspian Sea on three sides, this scenic region is today an industrial wasteland known for the rusty remnants of the Soviet-era oil and gas industry, it housed. But amidst the debris, is a unique fire temple worshipped by Zoroastrians and Hindus both. The first reference to it can be traced back to 730 CE and the Ateshgah of Surkhani is a unique testimony to the rich heritage of the region and its close links with India.
For centuries, even before the Soviet era exploitation, Azerbaijan was known for its huge reserves of oil and natural gas. Oil was in such abundance, that it used to literally ooze out of the ground. It was this presence of oil and gas which led to the emergence of the unique culture of Odlar Yurdu, the Azerbaijani term for ‘Land of Fire’, which was used to define an entire civilization.

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