January 2th 2017: After spending time with family for the holidays I was ready to go on my religious tour of the world determined to find some of the most beautiful and interesting sacred and holy sites for each of the 5 Major world religions starting with the oldest to the newest religions. Today I got on my flight to my first destination: India.
January 3rd 2017: I arrive in Delhi, India at their airport their and I check in my hotel room their and I look at the various holy sites of where the majority of people for the past 4 thousand years have practiced Hinduism and I notice the most holy one of all; Varanasi, just north of Delhi and along with this Varanasi is right on the Ganges river and its history as a major site for what was first for a Hindu city, but then was later destroyed and put under Muslim Rule until they left and soon the Hindus came back and built it up to be one of the pieces of Hindu Architecture in the world. Here are some of the pictures I took:
January 5th 2017: After a few days spent across Northern India, it was time for me to explore new holy sites that Judaism had to offer. So I decided to go to the one place where Millions of Jews live or try to visit throughout the year; Jersualem!
January 6th 2017: I arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel which is was the closest airport to Jerusalem, after a long wait at the baggage claim I made my way on a taxi to where my hotel would be, and I got some good pictures of this to show:
January 6th 2017 (Continued): Once I arrived at my hotel I looked to find the most holy site I could possible according to the Jewish Religion and it was so hard to decide on one particular place I decided to visit multiple places, because Jerusalem has so many sacred sites in one small area of land. But, I figured after a long day I would enjoy the comfort of my hotel in Tel Aviv and do the exploring tomorrow.
January 7th 2017: Today was the day of exploring one of the most religiously significant places on earth where Muslims, Christians, and Jews all live together in relative peace amidst all of the chaos of the area surrounding it. I went to the Western Wall AKA Kotel, A 62 feet tall wall made out of ancient limestone and was one of the last remaining pieces of the Second Temple; destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Today Millions of Jews make the pilgrimage to thank God for saving one of the last pieces of the holiest temple in all of Jerusalem. I also looked and saw the stunning Temple Mount just beside the Western Wall. The Temple Mount is considered one of the holiest places in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is thought to be the place where Abraham on Mount Moriah offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice and area where the two Jewish Temples are on the same side.
January 8th 2017: After I left Israel, the next stop on my spiritual getaway was Nepal. There was an airport there that would already get me really close to where I was planning to go. In 563 BC, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama at the Lumbini Gardens; which is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This site is considered the "Mecca of every Buddhist". So, I flew to the Gautam Buddha Airport in the Lumbini Zone. I arrived in a few hours and I decided since it was so close to the place I was going to get the tour out of the way and then stay in the hotel for the night, and leave the next morning to my next destination (It's a surprise I can't tell you yet!).
January 8th 2017 (Continued): I arrived at the Lumbini Gardens and I was in awe of how pristine and serene the place was as I looked at the horizon beyond of the southern plains of Nepal. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this can't be any more for these pictures:
January 9th 2017: After a long day going from Israel to Nepal, I realized just how much I loved Israel and I wanted to make another journey there again because most if not nearly all of the holiest sites are in Israel. And I knew for this one I had to see what the whole country had to offer for great Christian Architecture and ancient history. I flew back to Tel Aviv and went back to the same hotel I did before.
January 10th 2017: Israel is known as "The Holy Land" by billions of Christians around the world. For thousands of years, Europeans, Israelite's, and Muslims have all tried to take complete control over it, yet within this tiny nation it still manages to feel so peaceful and serene within its border. This time I would go to a different place besides Jerusalem, Bethlehem. Bethlehem is the most significant of places to Christians around the world. Just 6 miles south of Jerusalem lies the birthplace of Jesus the Nazareth and is home to the first ever Christian Church built ever in 330 AD. After being in my hotel in Tel Aviv, I rode a rental car to Bethlehem, which is under Palestinian Jurisdiction today. Bethlehem has the largest percentage of Christians in the Middle East, and despite a push for Muslims to gain more power over this city, the Greek Orthodox, and Roman Catholic Churches have remained strong in preserving these sacred sites.
January 9th 2017 (Continued): After a couple hour exploration of Bethlehem, and a delicious lunch featuring many local Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, I made my journey to the Sea of Galilee along the Jordan River. This is the most holy body of water in all of Christianity and is the location where John the Baptist Baptized Jesus 2000 years ago. Today, most of the Baptisms in Israel take place in this particular section of the river. So I made my final journey for the day before I would stop at an inn nearby and call it a day, and oh what a wonderful and enlightening day it was!!
January 10th 2017: After a long day of Excitement, and breathtaking views, and Cultural Enrichment, I knew that my journey was soon going to come to an end as my wallet and body begging me to just finish it (Along with my family). That day I flew to the Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina, Saudi Arabia. I decided to take a break and just explore what the city itself had to offer and I took some pictures:
January 11th 2017: The next day, I made my journey nice and early to Al - Masjid an - Nabawi. This is the site where the prophet Mohammad lived in and is now currently a mosque. Mohammad even worked on the original construction project himself. Immediately after his passing the mosque was built as a community center, a court, and a religious school. This was also the first ever mosque ever built leading to the basic principles of how mosques around the world are built today.