A Journey into Lalish Temple
Accompanied by Yazidi and Muslim friends who wanted to see Lalesh temple and discover the secret behind its sanctity, we set off from Duhok. Lalesh is a place which many Yazidi from all around the world, and many non-Yazidi, visit every year to receive God’s blessing and be forgiven their sins. While we were in the taxi heading to the temple, we saw many beautiful places and high mountains. The road got narrower as we got closer to the temple.
When we arrived, we loaded up with bags of food, our cameras and other essentials and headed toward the temple. We were barefoot, since that is the rule every Yazidi has to follow in respect for the temple. The first place we stopped at for a while was the place of purification to which a pilgrim has to run and kiss the wall, then run back and kiss the other wall, three times. After we have finished that, we headed towards the shrines, admiring the beauty of the place: the leafy green and olive trees that covered the area around the temple, the smell of the fig trees beside the oak trees.
As a group, we entered the shrine and saw the jars filled with olive oil and the tomb of Sheikh Adi, a religious figure. While taking pictures in the shrine, we noticed a piece of cloth and one of our friends asked about why some people were throwing it. The answer: when you throw that piece of cloth with your eyes closed, if the cloth stays on the rock your wish will be granted. Then we moved toward'' Kanya spi'' the white pool in which the Yazidi baptize their children. After that, we moved on to the Dara Muraza, or “marriage tree”--a rounded tree around which a bachelor or spinster wrap their arms: if their fingers touch, they will soon get married. There was another place, too, called Zamzam into which water flows. Here, the Yazidi wash their faces and hands while beseeching God to save the Yazidi and humankind. There were many symbols and scripts in the temple, including the image of the black snake on the wall, which represents wisdom and references Noah saving humankind. Inside the temple, there are seven pillars indicating the seven angels in Yazidi mythology, as well as old inscriptions representing the sun and tools men have used for work.
After a long day exploring the temple and enjoying our time finding out more about it, we had lunch and headed back to Duhok.
Lalesh temple: a view of the trees and shrines.