If you are interested in visiting holy places of Kazakhstan, I would recommend the South and the West of the country. However, I would like to dedicate this post to the latter one, since it is less known among the tourists. Even among the locals.
The whole post is based on what I have heard from my relatives, who have recently visited those cites, the underground mosque Beket Ata in particular. Beket Ata was a Sufi leader amongst locals and across the country borders in the 18th century. He had predicting and healing power as well as the highest religious status in the region. To get to his mosque, a pilgrim or a traveler should walk/climb two kilometers up and down the rocky hills. The mosque consists of seven rooms: the entrance room that reminds of a small yurt- a portable, round tent covered with animal skin and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia- traditional prayer rooms with “mihrab” and a guestroom. Do not worry, you will be able to see and walk around those chambers because it is not dark, thanks to the windows on the ceiling. And by the way, Beket Ata and his close relatives are buried there, that is why people believe this place still has the powerful healing energetics. Thousands of local/foreign pilgrims and tourists with strong faith and hopes visit Beket Ata annually. According to what my relatives say, more and more visitors from overseas (for instance, Japanese, British, German) come here with different purposes: some ask for wellbeing, some want to get over serious illnesses, others beg for kids. There was a couple that visited Beket Ata a year ago and prayed for a child. Recently, they came back to thank this place and Beket Ata himself with their baby! By the way, it does not matter what your religion is. What kind of person you are is the most important criteria to get to the mosque. There was an occasion when two women, mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law, hit the road to the mosque. Because of mutual hatred, they have been arguing during the whole trip. And their car broke down halfway through. In the end, they ended up hitchhiking, but to the opposite direction. This is not the only example I can bring. Rumor says that our President wanted to skip a two-kilometer walk and land his helicopter right by the cite. However, Beket Ata did not let him do that and a storm began in that region. I believe that this is a sign that clearly says he does not care about your status either; everyone is treated equally.
I felt astonished after hearing these stories and I am sure so did you. I know everything might sound crazy to many of you, but believe me I would not write about it in my blog without having heard of it from my close relatives, who later on got over some of their chronic illnesses. I hope this information was helpful. And do not forget to be a good person! 🙂