Chak-chak, a time-honored Zoroastrian temple

July 13, 2011 - 12:2

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The village of Chak-chak, also known as Pir-e Sabz, consists of a shrine perched beneath a towering cliff face. Located near the city of Ardakan in Yazd Province, this remote site is the holiest and most visited of the Zoroastrian mountain shrines.
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Moreover, one of the pilgrim trails to Chak-chak is a dirt road starting near the village of Elabad, north of Yazd.
Each year from June 14 to 18, many Zoroastrians from Iran, India and other countries flock to the temple where a holy spring issues from the towering cliff, also called Chak-chak, which means 'drop-drop' in Persian.
The shrine enclosure, a man-made cave, is floored with marble and its walls are darkened by soot from the fires kept eternally burning in the sanctuary.
It is a conventional tradition for pilgrims to stop the moment they see the sight of the shrine and continue the rest of their journey by foot.
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Shrine legends tell of a conquering Arab army that had pursued Nikbanoo, the daughter of the conquered Sassanian Emperor Yazdgird III, to this region. Fearing capture, she prayed to Ahura Mazda to protect her from them.
In the nick of time the mountain miraculously opened up and gave her protection.
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Growing beside the source of the holy spring is an immense and ancient tree which legends says used to be Nikbanoo's cane, and the waters of the spring are believed to be tears of grief shed by the mountain for Lady Nikbanoo.
Several roofed pavilions have been constructed on the cliffs below the shrine and throughout the day and night these are tightly packed with pilgrims.