Tomb of Daniel, Uzbekistan
The Tomb of Daniel in Uzbekistan is an 18-mete long tomb of the Old Testament prophet Daniel.
Prophet Daniel is revered by Muslims, Jews and Christians alike – although only Christians regard him as a prophet. His grave is believed to have been constantly growing longer over the years, but that’s not the only thing about the shrine that is curious.
Apparently this is not the only place that claims to be the final resting place of Daniel. The most widely accepted of these places is in Susa, Iran. Even beyond Uzbekistan and Iran, Syria and a couple of cities in Iraq also lay claim to be the final resting place of Daniel.
Legend has it that Tamerlane (Timur the Lame), a renowned Turko-Mongol ruler, tried to conquer modern day Syria, but successively failed because the body of Daniel was preventing it. When he finally succeeded, it is claimed, that he ordered the body to be buried at Samarkand for good luck. Immediately after he was buried, a natural spring started to sprout and is said to have healing powers.
As for the grave growing every year, a more believable version is that Timerlane was paranoid about grave robbers and extended the grave to make it harder for potential robbers to pillage the bones.
The Tree of Knowledge, Iraq
The Tree of Knowledge is a dead tree which stands in the small southern Iraqi city of Qurna. The small, dead tree is protected by low brick walls and surrounded by a concrete plaza.
As the local legend goes, it is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the one that Eve ate from in the Garden of Eden.
British soldiers reportedly climbed and broke the Tree in post-World War I occupation; it was repaired with concrete.
People travel from other parts of the country to pray at the tree, sometimes tie small green pieces of cloth around its branches as tokens.
Shah Daula, The Rat Children’s Shrine, Pakistan
The centuries old legend goes that a woman who is unable to conceive will become fertile by offering prayers at the Shah Daula shrine, but for a price. The first-born will be handicapped, a rat child with a tiny head and must be handed over to the shrine. Anyone who did not comply would be severely punished by God.
This does have some basis, in fact, as apparently hundreds of women do end up handing over their first-born children to the shrine in hopes of having more babies who are not deformed. However, there are whispers that those offered babies are deliberately deformed for begging.
Kunigami Shrine, Japan
According to an ancient Japanese tradition, those who pray at the Kunigami Shrine and wash their backsides at a nearby river followed by eating egg offerings are completely cured of hemorrhoids. Plus, the ritual also prevents them from ever reoccurring.
The practice has somewhat altered in recent times. Since people no longer wash their behinds in public, they make do with pointing their posteriors at a smooth, shiny, egg-shaped butt washing stone placed at the center of the shrine and recite a chant.
The Scorpion Shrine of India
It is said that no scorpion stings within in the premises of the shrine of Hazrat Shah Willayat. It is also said that it a scorpion taken from the shrine won’t sting anyone at all.
The local lore attributes it to an interesting interaction between two saints. When one of the two saints Saint Shah Willayat arrived in Amroha, India, a nearby saint sent him a cup full of water, hinting the satiation of this place in spirituality due to his presence. Shah Willayat responded by putting a rose on the water and sending it back. In this metaphorical communication, it was meant to sort of one-up his status.
In response, the first sufi, Geso Daraaz exclaimed that there will be scorpions on your shrine and the latter replied, "Yes, but they won’t sting."
St. Michael's Mount, United Kingdom
St. Michael's Mount is a civil parish and tidal island accessible only during low tide.. To travel, people have to take a boat at other times to reach the shrine.
It is one of 43 tidal islands within walking distance of mainland Britain. St. Michael's consists of a 15th-century chapel, a village made up of eight houses, an island cemetery and a castle.
Juliet's Balcony, Italy
Now this is a pilgrimage site for all lovers pining for their sweethearts.
Every year tourists from around the globe flock to Verona just to see the balcony where Juliet was wooed by Romeo at La Casa di Giulietta, the House of Juliet.
Love-struck couples hang around the garden, pose for pictures on the balcony and attach love letters to the walls. People even send mail to Juliet of Verona. What’s more there is a local volunteer group that is dedicated to responding to the countless missives seeking romantic advice.
Bighorn Medicine Wheel, United States
These mysterious structures are the Native American circle of stones used to predict astronomical events situated at the summit of Medicine Mountain, nearly 10,000 feet above the Bighorn Range in Wyoming. Covered by heavy snows for most of the year, the stone configuration reveals itself only in the summer months.
Though ancient, even today, the Bighorn Medicine Wheel is an accurate predictor for the summer solstice and is used by various Native American groups.
Mount Osore, Japan
Mount Osore is a smelly, rather unappealing site with highly sulfuric fumes in the air. It is said to be the entrance to hell but it is sacred to the locals who believe blind mediums come to the grounds and speak to the dead. Most of the people who visit are grieving survivors who have come to this alleged bridge to the afterlife to mourn their dead children and usually leave behind things like pinwheels and snacks for the kids.
The Tiger Temple, Thailand
The Tiger Temple, or Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, is a Buddhist temple in western Thailand and was founded in 1994 as a forest temple and sanctuary for wild animals. The sanctuary has several tigers that live alongside other animals and are looked after by the local monks.