A shrine (Latin: scrinium "case or chest for books or papers"; Old French: escrin "box or case")[1] is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon, or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated.[2] A shrine at which votive offerings are made is called an altar.

Shrines are found in many of the world's religions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Shinto, and Asatru as well as in secular and non-religious settings such as a war memorial. Shrines can be found in various settings, such as churches, temples, cemeteries, museums, or in the home, although portable shrines are also found in some cultures.[3]

A shrine may become a focus of a cult image.

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The shrine of the Hodegetria at the Assumption Cathedral in Smolensk, Russia, photographed by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1912).
John William Waterhouse - The Shrine
The Shrine, Oil on canvas, by John William Waterhouse (1895).

Types of shrines

Bankfield Museum 024
Chinese Taoist household shrine 1850–1860, Bankfield Museum

Temple shrines

Many shrines are located within buildings and in the temples designed specifically for worship, such as a church in Christianity, or a mandir in Hinduism. A shrine here is usually the centre of attention in the building, and is given a place of prominence. In such cases, adherents of the faith assemble within the building in order to venerate the deity at the shrine. In classical temple architecture, the shrine may be synonymous with the cella.

Household shrines

Historically, in Hinduism, Buddhism and Roman Catholicism, and also in modern faiths, such as Neopaganism, a shrine can commonly be found within the home or shop.[4] This shrine is usually a small structure or a setup of pictures and figurines dedicated to a deity that is part of the official religion, to ancestors or to a localised household deity.[5]

Small household shrines are very common among the Chinese and people from South and Southeast Asia, whether Hindu, Buddhist or Christian. Usually a small lamp and small offerings are kept daily by the shrine. Buddhist household shrines must be on a shelf above the head; Chinese shrines must stand directly on the floor.

Yard shrines

Small outdoor yard shrines are found at the bottom of many peoples' gardens, following various religions, including historically, Christianity. Many consist of a statue of Christ or a saint, on a pedestal or in an alcove, while others may be elaborate booths without ceilings, some include paintings, statuary, and architectural elements, such as walls, roofs, glass doors and ironwork fences, etc.

In the United States, some Christians have small yard shrines; some of these resemble side altars, since they are composed of a statue placed in a niche or grotto; this type is colloquially referred to as a bathtub madonna.[6]

Wayside shrines

Religious images, usually in some sort of small shelter, placed by a road or pathway, sometimes in a settlement or at a crossroads.

Religious shrines

Shrine of Qubrat Hamran, South Arabia, dating from the 15th or 16th century.

Shrines are found in many religions. As distinguished from a temple, a shrine usually houses a particular relic or cult image, which is the object of worship or veneration. A shrine may also be constructed to set apart a site which is thought to be particularly holy, as opposed to being placed for the convenience of worshippers. Shrines therefore attract the practice of pilgrimage.[7][8]


Shrines are found in many, though not all, forms of Christianity. Roman Catholicism, the largest denomination of Christianity,[9] has many shrines, as do Orthodox Christianity and Anglicanism.

Catholic shrine: glass coffin of Saint Catherine Labouré

In the Roman Catholic Code of Canon law, canons 1230 and 1231 read: "The term shrine means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary, is by reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims. For a shrine to be described as national, the approval of the Episcopal Conference is necessary. For it to be described as international, the approval of the Holy See is required."[10]

Another use of the term "shrine" in colloquial Catholic terminology is a niche or alcove in most – especially larger – churches used by parishioners when praying privately in the church. They were also called Devotional Altars, since they could look like small Side Altars or bye-altars. Shrines were always centered on some image of Christ or a saint – for instance, a statue, painting, mural or mosaic, and may have had a reredos behind them (without a Tabernacle built in).

However, Mass would not be celebrated at them; they were simply used to aid or give a visual focus for prayers. Side altars, where Mass could actually be celebrated, were used in a similar way to shrines by parishioners. Side altars were specifically dedicated to The Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph as well as other saints.

A nativity set could also be viewed as a shrine, as the definition of a shrine is any holy or sacred place.


Islam's holiest structure, the Kaaba (within the Al-Haram Mosque) in the city of Mecca, though an ancient temple (in the sense of a "house of God"), may be seen as a shrine[11][12][13] due to it housing a venerated relic called the Hajar al-Aswad and also being the focus of the world's largest pilgrimage practice, the Hajj. A few yards away, the mosque also houses the Maqam Ibrahim ("Abraham's station") shrine containing a petrosomatoglyph (of feet) associated with the patriarch and his son Ishmael's building of the Kaaba in Islamic tradition.[14][15] The Green Dome sepulcher of the Islamic prophet Muhammad (where his burial chamber also contains the tombs of his friend Abu Bakr and close companion Umar) in Medina, housed in the Masjid an-Nabawi ("The Mosque of the Prophet"),[16][17][18] occurs as a greatly venerated place and important as a site of pilgrimage among Muslims.

Sunni Islam

The Data Durbar Shrine, Lahroe, Pakistan
The Data Durbar Shrine, Lahore, Pakistan.

Two of the oldest and notable Islamic shrines are the Dome of the Rock and the smaller Dome of the Chain built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.[19] The former was built over the rock that marked the site of the Jewish Temple and according to Islamic tradition, was the point of departure of Muhammad's legendary ascent heavenwards (al-Mi'raj).[20][21]

More than any other shrines in the Muslim world, the tomb of Muhammad is considered a source of blessings for the visitor.[22] Among sayings attributed to Muhammad include one stated as: "He who visits my grave will be entitled to my intercession."[22][23][24] Visiting Muhammad's tomb after the pilgrimage is considered by the majority of Sunni legal scholars to be recommended.[25]

The early scholars of the salaf, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d. 241 AH), Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh (d. 238 SH), Abdullah ibn Mubarak (d. 189 AH) and Imam Shafi'i (d. 204 AH) all permitted the practice of ziyāra to the Prophet's tomb.[26] The hadith scholar Qadi Ayyad (d. 554 AH) stated that visiting the Prophet was "a Sunna of the Muslims on which there was consensus, and a good and desirable deed."[27]

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852 AH) explicitly stated that travelling to visit the tomb of the Prophet was "one of the best of actions and the noblest of pious deeds with which one draws near to God, and its legitimacy is a matter of consensus."[28] Similarly, Ibn Qudamah (d. 620 AH) considered ziyāra of the Prophet to be recommended and also seeking intercession directly from the Prophet at his grave.[29][30]

The tombs of other Muslim religious figures are also respected. The son of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, one of the primary jurists of Sunnism, reportedly stated that he would prefer to be buried near the mausoleum of a saintly person than his own father.[31] While in some parts of the Muslim world the mausoleums of the tombs are seen as simply places of ziyāra of a religious figure's gravesite (Mazār/Maqbara), in others (such as the Indian subcontinent) they are treated as proper shrines (Dargah).[32][33][34]

Many modern Islamic reformers oppose the building (and sometimes the visitation of) tomb shrines, viewing it as a deviation from true Islam.[35] This mainly includes followers of the Wahhabi and Salafi movements, which believe that shrines over graves encourage idolatry/polytheism (shirk) and that there is a risk of worshipping other than God (the dead).[36][37][38][39]

The founder of the Wahhabi movement, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab derived the prohibition to build mosques over graves from a hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad in which he said "May God curse the Jews and Christians who make the graves of their prophets into places of worship; do not imitate them."[40] Additionally, he commanded leveling of the graves (taswiyat al-qubur), which the scholar Imam Al-Shafi'i supported.[39]

The Wahhabi movement was heavily influenced by the works of the medieval Hanbali theologian Ibn Taymiyyah who was considered by them to be the "ultimate authority on a great number of issues".[41] One of these issues was the position on the visitation of the Prophet's tomb. According to Ibn Taymiyyah all the ahadith encouraging the visitation of the Prophet's tomb are fabricated (mawdu‘), are not contained in the six main collections of hadith or Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and violate tawhid al-uluhiya.[42]

This view of Ibn Taymiyyah was rejected by mainstream Sunni scholars both during his life and after his death. The Shafi'i hadith master Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani stated that "This is one of the ugliest positions that has been reported of Ibn Taymiyya".[43] The Hanafi hadith scholar Ali al-Qari stated that, "Amongst the Hanbalis, Ibn Taymiyya has gone to an extreme by prohibiting travelling to visit the Prophet – may God bless him and grant him peace"[44] Qastallani stated that "The Shaykh Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya has abominable and odd statements on this issue to the effect that travelling to visit the Prophet is prohibited and is not a pious deed."[45]


Kerbela Hussein Moschee
Pilgrims outside the Shrine of Imam Husayn ibn Ali in Karbala, Iraq.
Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini - 27 May 2018
Imam Khomeini Shrine

Shias have several mazars dedicated to various religious figures important in their history, and several elaborate shrines (Marqad/Maqam) are dedicated to Shia religious figures, most notably in Iraq (such as in the cities of Karbala,[46] Najaf,[47][48] Samarra[49] and likewise Kadhimiya[50]) and in Iran (such as in the cities of Qom[51] and Mashad[52]).

Specific examples of Shia shrines include the Al-Askari Shrine,[53] and Imam Hussein Shrine.[54] Other Shia shrines are located in the eponymous cities of Mazar-e Sharif ("The Noble Mausoleum") in Afghanistan,[55] and Mashhad (al-Rida) ("Martyrium [of Ali Rida ]") in Iran.[56] The Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran houses the tombs of Ruhollah Khomenei, the leader of Iran's 1978–79 revolution, his wife, and a few other related people.[57][58][59]


In popular Sufism, one common practice is to visit or make pilgrimages to the tombs of saints, renowned scholars, and righteous people. This is a particularly common practice in South Asia, where famous tombs include of saints such as Sayyid Ali Hamadani in Kulob, Tajikistan; Afāq Khoja, near Kashgar, China; Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh; Ali Hujwiri in Lahore, Pakistan; Bahauddin Zakariya in Multan Pakistan; Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, India; Nizamuddin Auliya in Delhi, India; and Shah Jalal in Sylhet, Bangladesh. [60] Likewise, in Fez, Morocco, a popular destination for pious visitation is the Zaouia Moulay Idriss II.[61] The area around Timbuktu in Mali also has many historic Sufi shrines which were destroyed by Islamist in recent years. Many of these have since been rebuilt.[62][63][64] A saint's tomb is a site of great veneration where blessings or baraka continue to reach the deceased holy person and are deemed (by some) to benefit visiting devotees and pilgrims. In order to show reverence to Sufi saints, kings and nobles provided large donations or waqf to preserve the tombs and renovate them architecturally.[65][66] Over time, these donation, rituals, annual commemorations formed into an elaborate system of accepted norms. These forms of Sufi practise created an aura of spiritual and religious traditions around prescribed dates.[67] Many orthodox or Islamic purists denounce these visiting grave rituals, especially the expectation of receiving blessings from the venerated saints. Nevertheless, these rituals have survived generations and seem adamant to remain.[68]


The two most well-known Bahá'í shrines serve as the resting places for the respective remains of the two central figures of the Bahá'í Faith, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. They are the focal points of a Bahá'í pilgrimage:

Other sites have been designated as Bahá'í Shrines, the most notable being the home of William Sutherland Maxwell and May Maxwell in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.[71]


Shrine outside Wat Phnom
Buddhist shrine just outside Wat Phnom

In Buddhism, a shrine refers to a place where veneration is focused on the Buddha or one of the bodhisattvas. Monks, nuns and laypeople all give offerings to these revered figures at these shrines and also meditate in front of them.

Typically, Buddhist shrines contain a statue of either the Buddha, or (in the Mahayana and Vajrayana forms of Buddhism), one of the various bodhisattvas.[72] They also commonly contain candles, along with offerings such as flowers, purified water, food, and incense. Many shrines also contain sacred relics, such as the alleged tooth of the Buddha held at a shrine in Sri Lanka.

Site-specific shrines in Buddhism, particularly those that contain relics of deceased buddhas and revered monks, are often designed in the traditional form known as the stupa.

Germanic paganism

In Germanic paganism, types of shrines were employed, but terms for the shrines show some level of ambiguity:

  • Hörgrs, which may have originally exclusively referred to "holy places", whereas its Old English cognate hearg could mean "holy grove" and/or "temple, idol"[73]
  • Vés (Old Norse) or wēohs (Old English), referring to either a types of shrines or sacred enclosures. The term appears in skaldic poetry and in place names in Scandinavia (with the exception of Iceland), often in connection with a Norse deity or a geographic feature. The name of the Norse god , refers to the practice.[74]


New Mayapur Radha Krishna murtis
A temple shrine for Radha Krishna
Svu kerala
A household shrine.

In Hinduism, a shrine is a place where gods or goddesses are worshipped. Shrines are typically located inside a Hindu temple of various forms. Most Hindu families have a household shrine as well. For example, according to memoirs of Stephen Huyler of his visits to some Hindu homes, a part of home was dedicated to the household shrine. Here, image of a deity was placed and offered prayers, instead of visits to a temple.[75] Among Tamil Hindu homes, according to Pintchman, a shrine in Kitchen is more common. If the family is wealthy, it may locate the household shrine in a separate room.[76]


D303- un prêtre taôiste. - L1-Ch5
A Taoist shrine.

The line between a temple and a shrine in Taoism is not fully defined; shrines are usually smaller versions of larger Taoist temples or small places in a home where a yin-yang emblem is placed among peaceful settings to encourage meditation and study of Taoist texts and principles. Taoists place less emphasis on formalized attendance but include ritualized worship than other Asian religions; formal temples and structures of worship came about in Taoism mostly in order to prevent losing adherents to Buddhism.

Frequent features of Taoist shrines include the same features as full temples, often including any or all of the following features: gardens, running water or fountains, small burning braziers or candles (with or without incense), and copies of Taoist texts such as the Tao Te Ching, Zhuangzi or other texts by Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu or other Taoist sages.


A number of Confucian temples and shrines exist across the sinophone world. Ofen in Chinese they are called 文庙 or "culture temples". Like Taoist temples they consist of gardens and then a large pavilion where incense is burnt. However inside the shrine a statue of Confucius or Mencius is held.

Confucian shrines are often adorned with messages to the sage (God of learning) mainly wishing for good luck in exams.

Confucian shrines exist outside of China too, for example in Naha, Okinawa. However some Buddhist temples reserve a room for Confucius also.

Secular shrines

In the United States and some other countries, landmarks may be called "historic shrines." Notable shrines of this type include:

Halls of fame also serve as shrines into which single or multiple individuals are inducted on the basis of their influence upon regions, cultures or disciplines. Busts or full-body statues are often erected and placed alongside each other in commemoration.

By extension the term shrine has come to mean any place dedicated completely to a particular person or subject such as the Shrine of the Sun in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[77]

See also


  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "shrine". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  2. ^ Shrine.
  3. ^ Portable Tibetan Shrine Archived 2015-10-19 at the Wayback Machine. British Museum
  4. ^ Patricia Chang (February 23, 2007). "Shrines in shops in Chinatown". Downtown Express. 19 (41).
  5. ^ Household Shrines. Gualala Arts
  6. ^ Front Yard Shrines Archived 2009-03-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Catholic Shrines. Sacred Destinations
  8. ^ David Tyson (1997). "Shrine pilgrimage in Turkmenistan as a means to understand Islam among the Turkmen". Central Asia Monitor. 1.
  9. ^ Wikipedia Roman Catholic Church
  11. ^ "Masjid al-Haram - Oxford Islamic Studies Online". Retrieved 2018-08-12. The Grand Mosque of Mecca in western Saudi Arabia. Along with the Prophet Muhammad 's Mosque in Medina, it is one of the two holiest shrines in Islam, its spiritual center, and the focus of the hajj pilgrimage. A place of worship even before the time of Muhammad, the mosque is organized around the Kaaba, a pre-Islamic “House of God” founded by Abraham and Ishmael, toward which all Muslim prayer is directed. The present layout of the Grand Mosque evolved from a series of enlargements during the Umayyad and Abbasid periods, Ottoman refinements, and recent Saudi additions.
  12. ^ "Kaʿbah | shrine, Mecca, Saudi Arabia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  13. ^ "Great Mosque of Mecca | Overview, Description, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  14. ^ Peters, F.E. (1994). "Another Stone: The Maqam Ibrahim". The Hajj. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 16–17.
  15. ^ "Maqam-e-Ibrahim shines ... like visitors' faith". 25 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Al-Masjid An-Nabawy". Retrieved 2018-08-12.
  17. ^ "Important Sites: The Prophet's Mosque". Inside Islam. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2018-08-13. The most distinct aspect of the mosque is a green dome called the Dome of the Prophet and marks the location of the Prophet Muhammad’s tomb. Abu Bakr and Umar, the first and second caliphs, are buried near the Prophet.
  18. ^ "Prophet's Mosque | mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  19. ^ Slavik, Diane (2001). Cities through Time: Daily Life in Ancient and Modern Jerusalem. Geneva, Illinois: Runestone Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8225-3218-7.
  20. ^ M. Anwarul Islam and Zaid F. Al-hamad (2007). "The Dome of the Rock: Origin of its octagonal plan". Palestine Exploration Quarterly. 139 (2): 109–128. doi:10.1179/003103207x194145.
  21. ^ Nasser Rabbat (1989). "The meaning of the Umayyad Dome of the Rock". Muqarnas. 6: 12–21. doi:10.2307/1602276. JSTOR 1602276.
  22. ^ a b Diem, Werner; Schöller, Marco (2004-01-01). The Living and the Dead in Islam: Indices. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 46. ISBN 9783447050838.
  23. ^ Bayhaqi. Sunan. V. p. 245.
  24. ^ Iyyad, Qadi. Shifa. II. p. 71.
  25. ^ Diem, Werner; Schöller, Marco (2004-01-01). The Living and the Dead in Islam: Indices. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 55. ISBN 9783447050838.
  26. ^ Diem, Werner; Schöller, Marco (2004-01-01). The Living and the Dead in Islam: Indices. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 23. ISBN 9783447050838.
  27. ^ Rapoport, Yossef; Ahmed, Shahab (2010-01-01). Ibn Taymiyya and His Times. Oxford University Press. p. 290/291. ISBN 9780195478341.
  28. ^ Rapoport, Yossef; Ahmed, Shahab (2010-01-01). Ibn Taymiyya and His Times. Oxford University Press. p. 291. ISBN 9780195478341.
  29. ^ Zargar, Cameron (2014). The Hanbali and Wahhabi Schools of Thought As Observed Through the Case of Ziyārah. The Ohio State University. pp. 28–29.
  30. ^ Ibn Qudāmah, Abū Muḥammad, Al-Mughnī, (Beirut: Bayt al-Afkār al-Dawliyyah, 2004), p 795.
  31. ^ Diem, Werner; Schöller, Marco (2004-01-01). The Living and the Dead in Islam: Indices. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 7–8. ISBN 9783447050838.
  32. ^ Dasgupta, Piyali (7 January 2014). "799th birthday celebrations of Hazrat Nimazuddin Auliya, held recently at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  33. ^ "797th Urs of Khawaja Moinuddin Chisty begins in Ajmer". Sify. Retrieved 18 February 2012.
  34. ^ "Pakistan's Sufis defiant after Islamic State attack on shrine kills 83". Reuters. 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  35. ^ "Shrine - Oxford Islamic Studies Online". Retrieved 2018-08-10. Many modern Islamic reformers criticize visits to shrines as mere superstition and a deviation from true Islam.
  36. ^ "Mecca for the rich: Islam's holiest site 'turning into Vegas'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 October 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-10. In the eyes of Wahabis, historical sites and shrines encourage "shirk" – the sin of idolatry or polytheism – and should be destroyed. When the al-Saud tribes swept through Mecca in the 1920s, the first thing they did was lay waste to cemeteries holding many of Islam's important figures. They have been destroying the country's heritage ever since. Of the three sites the Saudis have allowed the UN to designate World Heritage Sites, none are related to Islam.
  37. ^ "Saudi Arabia Bulldozes Over Its Heritage". Time. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-10. Wahhabism, the prevailing Saudi strain of Islam, frowns on visits to shrines, tombs or religio-historical sites, on grounds that they might lead to Islam’s gravest sin: worshipping anyone other than God.
  38. ^ "Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history". The Independent. Archived from the original on 10 August 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-10. In most of the Muslim world, shrines have been built. Visits to graves are also commonplace. But Wahabism views such practices with disdain. The religious police go to enormous lengths to discourage people from praying at or visiting places closely connected to the time of the Prophet while powerful clerics work behind the scenes to promote the destruction of historic sites.
  39. ^ a b Ondrej, Beranek; Tupek, Pavel (July 2009). Naghmeh, Sohrabi, ed. From Visiting Graves to Their Destruction: The Question of Ziyara through the Eyes of Salafis (PDF). Crown Paper (Crown Center for Middle East Studies/Brandeis University). Brandeis University. Crown Center for Middle East Studies. p. 16. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 August 2018. Ibn Taymiyya argues that the prohibition against treating graves as places of prayer is not based only on the impurity of such places;58 the true reason lies in concern over the temptation of worshiping the dead (khawf al-fitna bi alqabr). This was the opinion of Imam al-Shafi‘i and other salaf, who commanded leveling these graves (taswiyat al-qubur) and effacing what might arouse the temptation (ta‘fiyat ma yatafattan bihi minha).
  40. ^ Ondrej, Beranek; Tupek, Pavel (July 2009). Naghmeh, Sohrabi, ed. From Visiting Graves to Their Destruction: The Question of Ziyara through the Eyes of Salafis (PDF). Crown Paper (Crown Center for Middle East Studies/Brandeis University). Brandeis University. Crown Center for Middle East Studies. p. 19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 August 2018. Relying mainly on hadiths and the Qur’an, Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab’s most famous work, The Book of God’s Unicity (Kitab al-tawhid), describes a variety of shirk practices, such as occultism, the cult of the righteous (salih), intercession, oaths calling on other than God himself, sacrifices or invocational prayers to other than God, and asking other than Him for help. Important things about graves are remarked on in a chapter entitled “About the Condemnation of One Who Worships Allah at the Grave of a Righteous Man, and What if He Worships [the Dead] Himself.”72 Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab starts by quoting a hadith: “Umm Salama told the messenger of Allah about a church she had seen in Abyssinia in which there were pictures. The Prophet said: ‘Those people, when a righteous member of their community or a pious slave dies, they build a mosque over his grave and paint images thereon; they are for God wicked people.’ They combine two kinds of fitna: the fitna of graves and the fitna of images.” He then continues with another hadith: “When the messenger of Allah was close to death, he . . . said: ‘May Allah curse the Jews and Christians who make the graves of their prophets into places of worship; do not imitate them.’” From this hadith Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab derives the prohibition of building places of worship over graves, because that would mean glorification of their inhabitants, which would amount to an act of worship to other than Allah.
  41. ^ Zargar, Cameron (2014). The Hanbali and Wahhabi Schools of Thought As Observed Through the Case of Ziyārah. The Ohio State University. p. 3.
  42. ^ Ondrej, Beranek; Tupek, Pavel (July 2009). Naghmeh, Sohrabi, ed. From Visiting Graves to Their Destruction: The Question of Ziyara through the Eyes of Salafis (PDF). Crown Paper (Crown Center for Middle East Studies/Brandeis University). Brandeis University. Crown Center for Middle East Studies. p. 15. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 August 2018. Ibn Taymiyya criticizes hadiths encouraging visitation of the Prophet’s grave, pronouncing them all forgeries (mawdu‘) and lies (kidhb). According to him, most famous are ”He who performs the pilgrimage and does not visit me, has shunned me” and “Who visited my grave must ask me for intercession.” Ibn Taymiyya notes that although some of these hadiths are part of Daraqutni’s collection, they are not included in the main hadith collections of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Nasa’i, nor are they part of the Musnad of Ibn Hanbal. He observes that with regard to visiting the Prophet’s grave, ulama rely only upon hadiths according to which the Prophet must be greeted (al-salam wa al-salat alayhi).56 As for the contents of hadiths encouraging visitation, they contradict the principle of tawhid al-uluhiya.
  43. ^ Rapoport, Yossef; Ahmed, Shahab (2010-01-01). Ibn Taymiyya and His Times. Oxford University Press. p. 290. ISBN 978-0-19-547834-1.
  44. ^ Rapoport, Yossef; Ahmed, Shahab (2010-01-01). Ibn Taymiyya and His Times. Oxford University Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-19-547834-1.
  45. ^ Rapoport, Yossef; Ahmed, Shahab (2010-01-01). Ibn Taymiyya and His Times. Oxford University Press. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-19-547834-1.
  46. ^ "Free at last from Isis, millions of Muslims stage the greatest religious march in the world". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-08-12. The Arbaeen has provided many modern-day Shia martyrs, murdered by Saddam Hussein, al-Qaeda and Isis, but its purpose is to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the revered Shia leader, killed in the battle for Kerbala in AD680. The long ritual walk to his golden-domed shrine in that city – some walkers spend 10 or 12 days on the road from Basra or Kirkuk, others two or three days from Najaf – comes on the 40th day of the mourning period as religious fervour reaches its peak among the faithful.
  47. ^ "Najaf - Oxford Islamic Studies Online". Retrieved 2018-08-12. One of Iraq's two holiest cities (Karbala is the other one). Reputedly founded by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid in 791. A Shii religious center located south of Baghdad and six miles west of Kufa. Site of Ali ibn Abi Talib's (the first Shii imam) tomb. Kufa retained its importance as the locus of Shii activities until the fifteenth century, when Najaf replaced it. Hospices, schools, libraries, and Sufi convents were built around the shrine. Late nineteenth-century Qom replaced Najaf as the center of Shii learning; this was reversed with the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini (d. 1989) and Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr (d. 1980).
  48. ^ Abid, S. K. "Imam Ali Shrine, institution and cultural monument: the implications of cultural significance and its impact on local conservation management". CiteSeerX
  49. ^ Carnelos, Marco (18 July 2018). "Like it or not, Iran will continue to be the most powerful player in Iraq". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 2018-08-12. Every year, during the annual Shia pilgrimages to the Holy Shrines in Najaf, Karbala and Samarra, millions of Iranians, in numbers two or three times higher than the entire traditional Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, cross the Iraqi border; they are spontaneously fed and housed by the poorest Iraqi Shia families free of any charge.
  50. ^ Kadhimiyah
  51. ^ "Qom - Oxford Islamic Studies Online". Retrieved 2018-08-12. Leading center of Shii theological seminaries and site of Hazrat-i Masumah, which is the second most important Shii shrine in Iran. Burial site of numerous shahs of the Safavid and Qajar dynasties and many religious scholars. Major center of political activity in 1963 , 1975 , and 1977 – 79 . The shrine and the Borujerdi mosque are important places for leading communal prayers and sermons. The shrine has been an economic and state institution, the focus of endowments and commercial rents dedicated to its upkeep, and a symbolic site whose opening and closing each day are accompanied by state-appointed guards extolling the sovereignty of the reigning government under God. Qom's madrasas in particular were a major center of resistance to the Pahlavi monarchy. When Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile, he went immediately to Qom, which remains a key seat of the ulama's educational and political organizations.
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  53. ^ "Samarra Shrine Restoration in Iraq | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". Retrieved 2018-08-13. On Wednesday, 22 February 2006, unidentified assailants bombed the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, one of the holiest Shia'a sites in Iraq, containing the shrines of Ali Al-Hadi and Hassan Al-Askari, two of the most important Shia'a Imams, and the mausoleum of Mohammad Al Mehdi, known as the "hidden Imam", and hosting millions of pilgrims annually.
  54. ^ "Iraq Significant Site 011 - Baghdad - Al-Kadhimayn Mosque and Shrine". Retrieved 2018-08-13.
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  69. ^ Bahá'í World Centre (2007). "Shrine of the Báb". Bahá'í World Centre. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  70. ^ Bahá'í World Centre (2007). "Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh". Bahá'í World Centre. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
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  75. ^ Huyler, Stephen P. (Author); Moore, Thomas (Forward (1999). Meeting god : elements of Hindu devotion. New Haven ,USA: Yale Univ. Press. pp. 42, 71–72, 89. ISBN 9780300079838.
  76. ^ Pintchman, Tracy (2007). Women's lives, women's rituals in the Hindu tradition. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 96. ISBN 9780195177060.
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External links

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine located in Washington, D.C., United States of America.

The shrine is the largest Catholic church in the United States and in North America, and the tallest habitable building in Washington, D.C. Its construction of Neo-Byzantine architecture began in 1920 with renowned contractor John McShain while the Trinity Dome mosaic marked its completion on 8 December 2017.

The basilica is the national and patronal Catholic Church of the United States, honoring the Immaculate Conception as Patroness, accorded by Pope Pius IX in 1847. Pope Pius XI donated a mosaic rendition of the image in 1923. The shrine has merited several Papal visits namely the following:

Pope John Paul II raised the National Shrine to the status of Minor Basilica on 12 October 1990.

Pope Benedict XVI bestowed a Golden Rose on 16 April 2008.

Pope Francis who canonized Saint Junípero Serra, O.F.M. on 23 September 2015.The basilica does not have its own parish community, but serves the adjacent Catholic University of America, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and hosts numerous Masses for various organizations of the Church from across the United States. The basilica is not the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Washington (see Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle).

The rector of the shrine is the Monsignor Walter R. Rossi.


In Japan, a chinjusha (鎮守社•鎮社, or tutelary shrine) is a Shinto shrine which enshrines a tutelary kami (鎮守神, chinjugami); that is, a patron spirit that protects a given area, village, building or a Buddhist temple. The Imperial Palace has its own tutelary shrine dedicated to the 21 guardian gods of Ise Shrine. Tutelary shrines are usually very small, but there is a range in size, and the great Hiyoshi Taisha for example is Enryaku-ji's tutelary shrine. The tutelary shrine of a temple or the complex the two together form are sometimes called a temple-shrine (寺社, jisha). If a tutelary shrine is called chinju-dō, it is the tutelary shrine of a Buddhist temple. Even in that case, however, the shrine retains its distinctive architecture.

East–West Shrine Game

The East–West Shrine Game is a postseason college football all-star game that has been played annually since 1925. The game is sponsored by the fraternal group Shriners International, and the net proceeds are earmarked to some of the Shrine's charitable works, most notably the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The game's slogan is "Strong Legs Run That Weak Legs May Walk".

Teams consist of players from colleges in the Eastern United States vs. the Western United States. Players must be college seniors who are eligible to play for their school. The game and the practice sessions leading up to it attract dozens of scouts from professional teams. Since 1985, Canadian players playing in Canadian university football have also been invited (even though the CIS and NCAA play by different football codes). As such, this is the only bowl or all-star game in either the Canadian or American college football schedules to include players from both Canadian and American universities.

Since 1979, the game has been played in January, and has been played on January 10 or later since 1986. The later game dates allow players from teams whose schools were involved in bowl games to participate, which is important, as these teams often have some of the very best players.

Fushimi Inari-taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is the head shrine of the kami Inari, located in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan. The shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres (764 ft) above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and take approximately 2 hours to walk up.First and foremost, Inari is the kami of rice, but merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshiped Inari as the patron of business. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha has been donated by a Japanese business.

This popular shrine is said to have as many as 32,000 sub-shrines (bunsha (分社)) throughout Japan.

Ise Grand Shrine

The Ise Grand Shrine (伊勢神宮, Ise Jingū), located in the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture of Japan, is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. Officially known simply as Jingū (神宮), Ise Jingū is a shrine complex composed of a large number of Shinto shrines centered on two main shrines, Naikū (内宮) and Gekū (外宮).

The Inner Shrine, Naikū (also officially known as "Kōtai Jingū"), is located in the town of Uji-tachi, south of central Ise, and is dedicated to the worship of Amaterasu, where she is believed to dwell. The shrine buildings are made of solid cypress wood and use no nails but instead joined wood. The Outer Shrine, Gekū (also officially known as "Toyouke Daijingū"), is located about six kilometers from Naikū and dedicated to Toyouke-Ōmikami, the god of agriculture, rice harvest and industry. Besides Naikū and Gekū, there are an additional 123 Shinto shrines in Ise City and the surrounding areas, 91 of them connected to Naikū and 32 to Gekū.

Purportedly the home of the Sacred Mirror, the shrine is one of Shinto's holiest and most important sites. Access to both sites is strictly limited, with the common public not allowed beyond sight of the thatched roofs of the central structures, hidden behind four tall wooden fences. However, tourists are free to roam the forest, including its ornamental walkways after Meiji period.

During the Edo period, it is estimated that one out of ten Japanese conducted an Okage Mairi pilgrimage to the shrine. Accordingly, pilgrimage to the shrine flourished in both commercial and religious frequency. Because the shrine is considered sanctuary, no security checkpoints were conducted, as it was considered sacrilege by the faithful. The two main shrines of Ise are joined by a pilgrimage road that passes through the old entertainment district of Furuichi.

The chief priest or priestess of Ise Shrine must come from the Imperial House of Japan and is responsible for watching over the Shrine. The current high priestess of the shrine is Emperor Akihito's daughter, Sayako Kuroda.


Until the Meiji period (1868–1912), the jingū-ji (神宮寺, shrine temple) were places of worship composed of a Buddhist temple and a Shintō shrine, both dedicated to a local kami. These complexes were born when a temple was erected next to a shrine to help its kami with its karmic problems. At the time, kami were thought to be also subjected to karma, and therefore in need of a salvation only Buddhism could provide. Having first appeared during the Nara period (710–794), jingū-ji remained common for over a millennium until, with few exceptions, they were destroyed in compliance with the Kami and Buddhas Separation Act of 1868. Seiganto-ji is a Tendai temple part of the Kumano Sanzan Shinto shrine complex, and as such can be considered one of the few shrine-temples still extant.


In Shinto, a miko (巫女) is a shrine (jinja) maiden or a supplementary priestess. Miko were once likely seen as a shaman but are understood in modern Japanese culture to be an institutionalized role in daily shrine life, trained to perform tasks, ranging from sacred cleansing to performing the sacred Kagura dance.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe), also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Virgen de Guadalupe), is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a Marian apparition and a venerated image enshrined within the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The basilica is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, and the world's third most-visited sacred site. Pope Leo XIII granted the venerated image a Canonical Coronation on 12 October 1895.

Sacred prostitution

Sacred prostitution, temple prostitution, cult prostitution, and religious prostitution are general terms for a sexual rite consisting of sexual intercourse or other sexual activity performed in the context of religious worship, perhaps as a form of fertility rite or divine marriage (hieros gamos). Some scholars prefer the terms "sacred sex" or "sacred sexual rites" to "sacred prostitution" in cases where payment for services was not involved.


Shinto (神道, Shintō) or kami-no-michi (as well as other names) is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past.Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified religion, but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of "spirits", "essences" or "gods" (kami), suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, and applies as well to various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Nara and Heian periods (8th–12th centuries).The word Shinto (Way of the Gods) was adopted, originally as Jindō or Shindō, from the written Chinese Shendao (神道, pinyin: shéndào), combining two kanji: shin (神), meaning "spirit" or kami; and michi (道), "path", meaning a philosophical path or study (from the Chinese word dào). The oldest recorded usage of the word Shindo is from the second half of the 6th century. Kami is rendered in English as "spirits", "essences", or "gods", and refers to the energy generating the phenomena. Since the Japanese language does not distinguish between singular and plural, kami also refers to the singular divinity, or sacred essence, that manifests in multiple forms: rocks, trees, rivers, animals, objects, places, and people can be said to possess the nature of kami. Kami and people are not separate; they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.As much as nearly 80% of the population in Japan participates in Shinto practices or rituals, but only a small percentage of these identify themselves as "Shintoists" in surveys. This is because Shinto has different meanings in Japan. Most of the Japanese attend Shinto shrines and beseech kami without belonging to an institutional Shinto religion. There are no formal rituals to become a practitioner of "folk Shinto". Thus, "Shinto membership" is often estimated counting only those who do join organised Shinto sects. Shinto has about 81,000 shrines and about 85,000 priests in the country. According to surveys carried out in 2006 and 2008, less than 40% of the population of Japan identifies with an organised religion: around 35% are Buddhists, 3% to 4% are members of Shinto sects and derived religions. In 2008, 26% of the participants reported often visiting Shinto shrines, while only 16.2% expressed belief in the existence of a god or gods (神) in general.According to Inoue (2003): "In modern scholarship, the term is often used with reference to kami worship and related theologies, rituals and practices. In these contexts, 'Shinto' takes on the meaning of 'Japan's traditional religion', as opposed to foreign religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and so forth."

Shinto shrine

A Shinto shrine (神社, jinja, archaic: shinsha, meaning: "place of the god(s)") is a structure whose main purpose is to house ("enshrine") one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, and not for worship. Although only one word ("shrine") is used in English, in Japanese, Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen, -gū, jinja, jingū, mori, myōjin, -sha, taisha, ubusuna or yashiro. (For details, see the section Interpreting shrine names.)

Structurally, a Shinto shrine is usually characterized by the presence of a honden or sanctuary, where the kami is enshrined. The honden may however be completely absent, as for example when the shrine stands on a sacred mountain to which it is dedicated, and which is worshiped directly. The honden may be missing also when there are nearby altar-like structures called himorogi or objects believed capable of attracting spirits called yorishiro that can serve as a direct bond to a kami. There may be a haiden (拝殿, hall of worship) and other structures as well (see below). However, a shrine's most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects rather than for worship.Miniature shrines (hokora) can occasionally be found on roadsides. Large shrines sometimes have on their precincts miniature shrines (sessha (摂社) or massha (末社)). The portable shrines (mikoshi) which are carried on poles during festivals (matsuri) enshrine kami and are therefore true shrines.

In 927 CE, the Engi-shiki (延喜式, literally, Procedures of the Engi Era) was promulgated. This work listed all of the 2,861 Shinto shrines existing at the time, and the 3,131 official-recognized and enshrined Kami. Certainly, that number has grown and greatly exceeded this figure through the following generations. In Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan placed the number of shrines at 79,467, mostly affiliated with the Association of Shinto Shrines (神社本庁). Some shrines, such as the Yasukuni Shrine are totally independent of any outside authority. The number of Shinto shrines in Japan is estimated to be around 100,000. This figure may, or may not, include private shrines in homes and owned by small groups, abandoned or derelict shrines, roadside Hokora. etc.

Shrine Auditorium

The Shrine Auditorium is a landmark large-event venue in Los Angeles, California. It is also the headquarters of the Al Malaikah Temple, a division of the Shriners. It was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (No. 139) in 1975.

Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance (commonly known among locals as The Shrine) is a war memorial in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, located in Kings Domain on St Kilda Road. It was built to honour the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I, but is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It is a site of annual observances of ANZAC Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November) and is one of the largest war memorials in Australia.

Designed by architects Phillip Hudson and James Wardrop who were both World War I veterans, the Shrine is in a classical style, being based on the Tomb of Mausolus at Halicarnassus and the Parthenon in Athens. The crowning element at the top of the memorial's ziggurat roof references the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates.

Built from Tynong granite, the Shrine originally consisted only of the central sanctuary surrounded by the ambulatory. The sanctuary contains the marble Stone of Remembrance, upon which is engraved the words "Greater love hath no man". Once a year, on 11 November at 11 a.m. (Remembrance Day), a ray of sunlight shines through an aperture in the roof to light up the word "Love" in the inscription. Beneath the sanctuary lies the crypt, which contains a bronze statue of a soldier father and son, and panels listing every unit of the Australian Imperial Force.

The Shrine went through a prolonged process of development which began in 1918 with the initial proposal to build a Victorian memorial. Two committees were formed, the second of which ran a competition for the memorial's design. The winner was announced in 1922. However, opposition to the proposal (led by Keith Murdoch and The Herald) forced the governments of the day to rethink the design, and a number of alternatives were proposed, the most significant of which was the ANZAC Square and cenotaph proposal of 1926. In response, General Sir John Monash used the 1927 ANZAC Day march to garner support for the Shrine, and finally won the support of the Victorian government later that year. The foundation stone was laid on 11 November 1927, and the Shrine was officially dedicated on 11 November 1934.


Shriners International, also commonly known as The Shriners or formerly known as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, is a society established in 1870 and is headquartered in Tampa, Florida.Shriners International describes itself as a fraternity based on fun, fellowship, and the Masonic principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth. There are approximately 350,000 members from 196 temples (chapters) in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, the Republic of Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Europe, and Australia. The organization is best known for the Shriners Hospitals for Children that it administers, and the red fezzes that members wear.

The organization was previously known as "Shriners North America". The name was changed in 2010 across North America, Central America, South America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.


A torii (鳥居, literally bird abode, Japanese pronunciation: [to.ɾi.i]) is a traditional Japanese gate most commonly found at the entrance of or within a Shinto shrine, where it symbolically marks the transition from the mundane to the sacred.The presence of a torii at the entrance is usually the simplest way to identify Shinto shrines, and a small torii icon represents them on Japanese road maps.The first appearance of Torii gates in Japan can be reliably pinpointed to at least the mid-Heian period because they are mentioned in a text written in 922. The oldest existing stone torii was built in the 12th century and belongs to a Hachiman Shrine in Yamagata prefecture. The oldest existing wooden torii is a ryōbu torii (see description below) at Kubō Hachiman Shrine in Yamanashi prefecture built in 1535.Torii gates were traditionally made from wood or stone, but today they can be also made of reinforced concrete, copper, stainless steel or other materials. They are usually either unpainted or painted vermilion with a black upper lintel. Inari shrines typically have many torii because those who have been successful in business often donate in gratitude a torii to Inari, kami of fertility and industry. Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto has thousands of such torii, each bearing the donor's name.

Touhou Project

The Touhou Project (Japanese: 東方Project, Hepburn: Tōhō Purojekuto, lit. Eastern Project), also known as Toho Project or Project Shrine Maiden, is a series of Japanese bullet hell shooter video games developed by the single-person Team Shanghai Alice. Team Shanghai Alice's sole member, ZUN, independently produces the games' graphics, music, and programming.Plots in the Touhou Project games revolve around the strange phenomena occurring in Gensokyo, a fictional realm inhabited by humans and yōkai, supernatural beings. Prior to the events of the games, Gensokyo was sealed off from the outside world by a magical barrier. The main protagonist of the series is Reimu Hakurei, a shrine maiden who manages the border, fighting antagonistic yōkai. The first five games were produced for the Japanese NEC PC-9801 computer series; bullet hell mechanics were introduced in the second game, Story of Eastern Wonderland. The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, released in August 2002, marked a shift to the Microsoft Windows platform, bringing the games to a larger audience. Several sequels followed, including spin-off fighting games that diverged from the series' traditional mechanics.

The series was inducted into the Guinness World Records in October 2010 for being the "most prolific fan-made shooter series". The Touhou Project has spawned a media franchise including commercial fan books, music, light novels, manga, and several fanmade anime in addition to the main series.

Vaishno Devi

Vaishno Devi , also known as Mata Rani, Trikuta and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Hindu Goddess Mata Adi Shakti, also known as Mahalakshmi/Matrika Goddess. The words "maa" and "mata" are commonly used in India for "mother", and thus are often used in connection with Vaishno Devi.

Vaishno Devi Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu Goddess, located in Katra at the Trikuta Mountains within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Temple or Bhawan is 13.5 km from Katra and various modes of transportation are available from Katra to Bhawan, including ponies, electric vehicles, ropeway, and palki. Helicopter services are also available up to Sanjichhat, which is 9.5 km from Katra.

Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine (八坂神社, Yasaka-jinja), once called Gion Shrine (祇園神社, Gion-jinja), is a Shinto shrine in the Gion District of Kyoto, Japan. Situated at the east end of Shijō-dōri (Fourth Avenue), the shrine includes several buildings, including gates, a main hall and a stage.

Yasukuni Shrine

The Imperial Shrine of Yasukuni, informally known as the Yasukuni Shrine (靖国神社 or 靖國神社, Yasukuni Jinja), is a Shinto shrine located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan. It was founded by Emperor Meiji in June 1869 and commemorates those who died in service of Japan from the Boshin War of 1868–1869 to the First Indochina War of 1946–1954. The shrine's purpose has been expanded over the years to include those who died in the wars involving Japan spanning from the entire Meiji and Taishō periods, and the lesser part of the Shōwa period.The shrine lists the names, origins, birthdates, and places of death of 2,466,532 men, women and children, including various pet animals. Among those are 1,068 convicted war criminals, 14 of whom are A-Class (convicted of having been involved in the planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of the war). This has led to many controversies surrounding the shrine. Another memorial at the Honden building commemorates anyone who died on behalf of Japan, but includes Koreans and Taiwanese who served Japan at the time. In addition, the Chinreisha building is a shrine built to inter the souls of all the people who died during WWII, regardless of their nationality. It is located directly south of the Yasukuni Honden.

Various Shinto festivals are associated with the shrine, particularly in Spring and Autumn seasons when portable Mikoshi shrines are rounded about honoring the ancestral gods of Japan. A notable image of the shrine is the Japanese Imperial Chrysanthemum featured on the gate curtains leading into the shrine. More recently, the visitation of the shrine by active Japanese diplomats and legislators have brought public controversy in global media. The current 13th High Priest incumbent of the shrine is Tatebumi Yamaguchi, who was appointed on 1 November 2018 after Kunio Kobori.

Rooms and spaces of a house
Shared residential rooms
Private rooms
Utility and storage
Great house areas
Architectural elements
Popular piety

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