Embrace Foundation is a non-profit,
educational foundation set up to
create better understanding
between people of different
religions, cultures, traditions and
Embrace Foundation works to bring
leaders and scholars of world-wide
religions, cultures and philosophies
together by sponsoring forums,
seminars, lectures and developing
an international exchange program.
Embrace Foundation is particularly
concerned with reaching the world
public through the media.
Embrace Foundation is an all
volunteer organization. All
donations go directly to programs.
Embrace Foundation does not and
has never given permission to any
outside organization to solicit or
receive contributions on our behalf.
All donations should be made to
Embrace Foundation only via
Paypal or by mail. All donations are
tax deductible. A receipt will be
emailed to you. Please click on the
Pay Pal link below to Donate.
Embrace encourages all who can
do so, to learn about other
traditions and cultures by traveling
as “Grassroots Diplomats.” We
hope that people every where
become life long students of our
“ In every man there is something
wherein I may learn of him, and in
that I am his pupil.”
TRAVELING IN AZERBAIJAN
Azerbaijan is a small, prosperous country with abundant oil supplies which puts it in an enviable
position in this present age. The leadership seems to have taken some of the best cultural and
innovative developments from the West and put their own stamp on it. Making Azerbaijan easy to
travel in for Westerners who are not experienced travelers and wealthy Gulf and Saudi nationals.
Yet it retains its’ own culture and beliefs. Bacu is an international city by all accounts but an easy-
going, comfortable one. The people, in general, are very helpful and likable.
Every once in a while a visitor may get a throwback to the Soviet era, when your inn doesn’t fix a
broken shower the day it says it will, and then spends the entire following day filling your bathroom
with workmen. Guests it is thought should be glad that they even have a room, after all you were
given a triple bedroom when you requested a double.
Entrepreneurship is not always what it is for customers in Asia, the Gulf and in the West. The
proprietors and employees are always very personable, but they still may not understand why a
guest might want to come back to their room sometime during the daylight in two days.
For those who stay in international hotel chains, this of course, will not be the case and it is not
likely that the above experience will not be repeated by anyone, in any inn or hotel in Bacu in
another year or two. The people of Bacu are savvy and it doesn’t take long for them to figure out the
best way to accommodate tourists.
Those who love old French architecture or reproductions of it, such as that recreated in the heart of
Beirut, will love Bacu and those who love cutting edge architecture will be impressed by some really
magnificent edifices to the “new.”
However, the best part of Bacu is that the setting for new architecture is treated like pieces of art.
They are placed strategically amidst the traditional so it does not become redundant or
overwhelming. A visitor can stand back and really see the whole building and appreciate it.
Dənizkənarı Milli Park
Since the Founders had to spend two days during working hours out of their room at the inn, they
had plenty of opportunity to walk throughout the magnificent (Baku Bayside Park.) People with
children can have a delightful time here. There are rides for children, exotic plants, lawns, a
promanade along the bay that can be walked or jogged for 3 kilometers (2.85 miles) one way. It has
numerous restaurants, or food stands, fountains (one is supposed to be musical) and sculptures. It’s
a great place just to watch people. It has a vibrant, lit up night life also, when the heat is much
Ateshgah Fire Temple
The main reason, the Embrace Founders went to Azerbaijan was to see the Ateshgah Fire Temple
and the Mir Movsom Ziyaratgah - Mosque & Shrine Complex. Professor K.D. Irani, a Zoroastrian
scholar and professor of philosophy at the City University of New York, was one of Embrace
Foundation’s Founding Board Directors and a personal friend of Ajata and Virginia. Since so many
Zoroastrian (in India “Parsi”) temples and shrines have been destroyed, they were very curious
about this one.
Despite the fact, that the current structure was built by Shivite (Hindus) in the 18th century. Many
Zoroastrians (India - “Parsi”) travel to the Ateshgah Fire Temple from India, primarily Mumbai, where
Hindus & Sikhs At the Ateshgah Fire Temple
Some scholars claim that the Ateshgah Temple was also used by the Sikhs but the Founders think
that this is most likely wrong.
Sikhs have helped or collaborated with Hindus when living out of India with funds or support for their
spiritual enterprises but it would be a radical departure for Sikhs to consider “Agni” or fire a focus of
devotion. All Sikh temples must keep a copy of their Holy Book the "Gurugrantha Sahib" in their
temple or "Gurdwara". Their emphasis is on the Holy Name “Sat Nam” not on visuals. However,
Sikhs do go to Hindu temples and show their respect all over India all the time, but as an addition to
going to their own Gurdwara.
Some of the script found at Ateshgah is carved is in Gurumuki. Gurumuki is the sacred language of
the Sikhs (like Sanskrit is for Hindus.) It could be that Sikh traders contributed to the building of the
temple and were being honored. Hindus also may have come from the Punjab that knew Gurumuki.
In the state of Punjab, inter-marriage beween Hindus and Sikhs is not uncommon.
Lastly, Sikhs may have gone to the temple along with going to their own Gurdhwara which they
often do today, as a part of their ecumenism. The Hindu monks may have wanted to honor their
contribution by having a carved acknowledgement in the Sikh sacred language.
There is a modern temple in the U.A.E. that both Hindus and Sikhs share. The U.A.E. temple
contains both the Gurugrantha Sahib and items of Hindu spiritual focus.
Mir Movsom Ziyaratgah - Mosque & Shrine
This is an incredible tribute to a saint, who though physically challenged, was responsible for the
healing of many people and of many miracles.
Nearly every person in Azerbaijan who is a Muslim love him.
Above you will see five photos of the amazing memorial the people built in honor of him. More
photos will be uploaded to EmbraceSacredPlaces.Org.
To go to Azerbaijan and not see this beautiful dedication to love, would be tragic.