I've always wanted to travel the world ever since I was little and I've finally had the opportunity to travel around the world. Going around the world and experiencing new things was a truly amazing experience and I never realized how places vary. Even though all of these locations are on the same planet, the smells, sounds, landmarks, foods, climate and people, oh definitely the people are all so different from each other. I figured I might as well share my travels and discoveries with everyone so you might be able to get a taste of what I saw other the curse of a few days.
My first stop was to Thailand and it was a significant first stop. Everything was different from what I was used to, the foods, people, culture and so much more. I visited a pagoda and I was ecstatic to get a look at this structure. For those not aware, a pagoda is a tower-like, solid or hollow structure made of stone, brick, or wood, that is associated with a Buddhist temple complex. These structures re breathtaking and I learned from the people there that pagodas contain relics that Buddhist believe to be portions of Buddha's body. These relics became a prime reason of diffusion because many people scrambled to obtain these and place them in different pagodas all over the country. When I arrived there and toured the location, I quickly found out that pagodas are used for individual prayer and worship, not congregational worship or practices.
I didn't stay in Thailand for long, the next day I left at approximately 5 in the morning and got to India in about 4 hours. I took a taxi to my hotel, and the driver was an older man who loved to talk. He was extremely friendly and told me a lot of things about himself including how he is Hindu and is extremely religious. Somewhere along the way he asked me if I was going to visit the Ganges River while I was here and at first I wasn't going to but he convinced me to go because the people bathe there and it truly captures the essence of the religion. When I arrived at the Ganges River, the river was crowed with people and they all rushed to the water and according to the religion, this is how they wash away their sins. The Ganges is the holiest river in India because it is related to the hair of Siva, one of the main deities. The surroundings of the river surprised me. Unlike the pagodas in Thailand, the river wasn't as, for lack of a better term, gorgeous. In fact, the buildings around the river were causal and this caught me off guard. The architecture around me showed me how religion, worship, and prayer are incorporated into everyday life for the Hindu people. Religion isn't view as a sacred and professional thing, it is simply a way of life therefore the bathing in the river is just something they do.
After that all day experience, I left for Saudi Arabia after two days of being in India. I knew I wanted to experience the Islamic religion there so I went to Makkah, one of the holy locations of Islam. Makkah is considered the holiest city because it is believed to be the birthplace of the Prophet, Muhammad. There were tons of people in the city and after doing some research, there are about 1.3 million people in just that one city. I didn't understand why so many people would live here just based on the reasoning of it being a birthplace but the city is also the home of the holiest object in the Islamic landscape: the al-Ka'ba. The al-Ka'ba is a cubelike structure that is covered in silk. It stands in the middle of the Great Mosque. Masjid al-Haram, is Islam's largest mosque. I went there and saw the mosque the day after I arrived there. It was truly beautiful the the architecture and structure that surrounded the cube was authentic and it was different from the other structure in India and Thailand. Seeing people worship in this place was eye opening and a kind Muslim women told me that inside the Ka'ba, there is a black stone given to Abraham by Gabriel as a sign of the covenant with Ishmael an the Muslim people. The holy shrine and amazing structure built around them showed me that the people there are dedicated to their religion and want to praise the prophets and Allah. The fact that 1.3 million people live in this one place based off of the fact that Muhammad was born there. It is inspiring and a beautiful thing to experience and see.
I went to Israel the next day to visit the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. The Western Wall is the most holy place accessible to the Jewish people because of Muslim control of the Temple Mount. The Western Wall was on the way to the Temple Mount and it is this massive structure that protects the Temple Mount. It is such a beautiful structure that Jewish people pray at. As I walked around the wall I saw the tranquility of my surroundings and the devotion of the Jews to their religion. The architecture of the building shows how they praise and want to glorify their religion and beliefs. It is also very sacred and only specific people are allowed to pray there. As I was walking around the Western Wall I realized how that the people were amazed and in awe of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
The next day I traveled to Vatican City which took about four hours. There I when to the Sistine Chapel which was beautiful. I experienced art, history, culture, and religion. The art that Michelangelo painted is an expression of the relationship between man and God and how Christians desire to be closer to God. The architecture of this chapel and the beauty of all of the paintings and structures makes it known that Christians want intimacy with God. This structure pays close attention to detail and as I was walking around the chapel I got to feel the beauty and connection between man and God especially with the famous painting, The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.