Shrine of the Lady

Pir-e Khanom (Persian translation: Shrine of the Lady)

Pir-e Khanom is a sacred Iranian national shrine 85 kilometers from central Iran in an area known as Yazd and Ardakan. The shrine is a mountain called by the locals as KoohBozorg with the height of approximately 1000 feet. Accordingly to the widely believed Persian legends the mountain is the sanctuary to BanooShah the daughter of the last king of the Sassanian dynasty (400-628) of the Persian Empire Yazdegerd V.

The legends say that BanooShah was running away from the Arab invaders in 628 who had surrounded her when she reached the KoohBozorg Mountain. It is believed by the Persians that out of desperation BanooShah looked upon the sky toward the mountain and cried out ‘Ya-kooh’ (Persian: ‘Oh Mountain’). The mountain (according to the legends) parted itself into two and provided a place for her to hide. This site is also the source of a spring that originates from a towering cliff. The legends say the waters of the spring are the tears of grief shed by the mountain for Lady BanooShah.

The shrine is floored with white marble and its walls are darkened by soot from the fires that are kept burning in the sanctuary. Each year from October 10 to 25, many thousands of Persians from all over Iran and other countries travel to the temple of Pir-e Khanom. The pilgrim road to the KoohehBozorg Mountain is a dirt road starting near the village of Zibashahr, north of Yazd. As of tradition, pilgrims stop and pray for 1 full minute the moment they see the sight of the shrine and continue the rest of their journey by foot. Several roofed pavilions have been constructed on the cliffs below the shrine and throughout the day and night these are tightly packed with pilgrims.