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Today is September 12th of 2016 and its also my first day of traveling to different parts of the world to get a better understanding of world religions. The first religion I am learning about is Hinduism, I thought the best place to start would the Ganges River, which happens to be one of the most sacred places to this religion. The reason why this river is so important is because its thought to be in relation to a Hindu God, and it is believed that the water has the power to wash away sins and purify the soul. If used to bath in, it could get rid of all sins committed by men and be used in future prayer. When I visited there were lots of people there, some lived in tents and hut along the edge of the river. Other were tourist crowding around certain areas to take picture and some were locals who tok the opportunity to step into that holy water.
Later that day I decided to go to the Somnath temple in Prabhas Patan. This temple is considered an important pilgrimage to Hindu's, and just like the Ganges river, it's a popular tourist spot. This particular place is considered to be special due to the various legends surrounding it and not to mention its one of the twelve shrines to Shiva, one of the most important Hindu Gods. What I thought was most interesting though was that it's believed to have been built at some unknown time in the past. This temple was truly a work of art. I could see all the little details that were put into int outside carvings and the dedication one must've had to build this place.


So today is September 13th and I am in Sarhath, visiting Dhamek Stupa. I found that the story behind this place was that Buddha was cremated and his ashes were buried in eight mounds, and two more mounds encasing an urn. Little is to know about these mysterious Stupa's though because once again no one can determine it's origin. However, something I found out, that i did find interesting was that Dhamek Stupa is said to mark where Buddha gave his first sermon to his followers after he attained enlightenment. This place was unique to me because it was almost just like this huge cylinder that you walk into. People said it reached up to about forty-four meters high and that it is the most massive building in Sarhath.
After Dhamek I went to Lumbini, which is a sacred sight to Buddhist. Lumbini is located in the foot hills of the Himalayans. It's considered to be one of the holiest places in Buddhism because it's where the Lord Buddha was born. Dunning back then it was covered by greens and owned by two clans. Another thing about this site is that its important to the buddhist pilgrimage. Seeing this place was very nice, I loved how calm and peaceful it was. Finding out that is was Buddha's birth places made it better to because we got to see it unclose ourselves.


Next I was off to learn about Judaism, the last two days I was off looking a jewish temples and that one that stuck out the most to be was The temple Mount. Its considered to be the holiest site in Judaism and where God's presence can be manifested. This site has often be associated with Mount Moriah, a name that was given by the hebrew bible. According to the bible thought here was another fortress that was called the strong hold of zion and both temples stood upon temple mount. It said that this is where man was first created by God, he gathered up some dust and made Adam from that. I really liked this place, in my opinion is was very unique and interesting to go to. The building was beautiful, but also packed with tourist. To avoid that crowd I went a little later on that evening then all the commotion had died down.
The western wall or the wailing wall is where I deiced to go next. The wall is thought to be holy, due to is connection to Mount Temple. It is not the holiest place in the Judaism faith, but it is the holiest place where Jews are permitted to pray. In the beginning I learned that it was ejected as part of the second jewish temple by Herod the Great, which was a natural steep hill, know to the jews. The reason I learned for it to be considered wailing was because the weeping of jews that took place there due to the destruction of one of their temples. The thing I loved most about that wall was that people had been making pilgrimages there for years and the earliest source of mentioning came from the 16th century. When I went there the walls were insane, it was just these huge slabs of ancient limestone stacked on top of each other up high. I thought it was really neat.


As my trip was coming to a close quick I realized I still had two religions left so I decided to learn about Islam. The first place I went to was Masjid al-Haram, which is essentially this really large mosque in the city Mecca, largest in Islam. It surrounds that Kaaba and is the place which all muslims turn towards each day in prayer. The muslims believe this is the holiest place on Earth. It has outdoor and indoor praying spaces and can accommodate up to 820,000 worshipers. Its considered to be an important pilgrimage for someone of this faith to visit this place a least once in their life time. I wasn't able to get that close when I visited because of the large crowds and prayer sessions, so I admired from a far and thought It looked really interesting.
Next I made way the mosque of Ibn Tulun, one of the most beloved mosque in the islam faith. Its thought to have been built between 876-879 AD by Ibn Tulun who was sent to rule the outpost of Alfustat. Not only is it said to be one of the most beautiful mosque but its geometric simplicity is best appreciated by all. It also is one of the oldest mosque and seen as a symbol of triumph in the face of adversity, and is thought unique because of its spiral staircase. I spent a good amount of time walking through the mosque and I thought is was amazing. It was hands downs the mot beautiful thing I saw on my trip and I loved every minute of walking through it.


My last religion is christianity and I thought to visit the Jordan River, which in the new testate states that John the baptist baptized himself in the Jordan. John wasn't the only one baptized in the Jordan, Jesus himself was also baptized there too. It was also at the Jordan where John the Baptist bore record of jesus being the son of God. The Jordan is very important to christianity because of the events and things tied to this river. Unlike other religions christianity doesn't require you to make a pilgrimage, so most people visit this out of desire or tourism. I am a fan of nature, so i was excited to go to the Jordan river, it was very different from the Ganges river, but I thought it was also beautiful. It wasn't as crowded as a lot of the other places I went to so that was nice, and I stayed there for a while.
I thought it would be best to end my journey at the sistine chapel, somewhere I've always wanted to go, mainly because of Michelangelo's painting. The Sistine Chapel has been around for a long time and caters to the Pope. Some of the most beautiful artwork is painting in this chapel telling Biblical stories to depicting people from the bible. Its been used as a venue in the event of announcing the election of the pope. The church has a permeant choir who writes original music, and unless the pope is traveling it host important services. It was beautiful walking through this chapel and seeing all the architecture and painting. It was a great way to end the amazing religious journey.


Created with images by ValerijaB - "rome angel church" • José Morcillo Valenciano - "Nadi Sodhana Pranayama in Ganga river" • kraigseder - "varanasi ghats india" • - "On the other side" • Nagarjun - "South Indian temple architecture in Gujarat" • Nagarjun - "Somnath temple" • Gujarat Tourist Guide - "Somnath Mahadev" • wonker - "Buddha Mural" • wonker - "Mulagandhakuti Vihara" • rahuldlucca - "Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath, U.P., India." • David S. Lowry - "DSC04050" • David S. Lowry - "DSC04108" • taylorandayumi - "Lumbini" • yeowatzup - "Jerusalem Old City from the Mount of Olives, Israel" • pixaneidel - "dome of the rock temple mount jerusalem" • beggs - "IMG_0675" • Podknox - "The Western Wall #jerusalem #ww2 #r&r" • BRBurton23 - "western wall israel prayer" • Marc_Smith - "The Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel" • shahin olakara - "Masjid Al Haram, Mecca" • shahin olakara - "Kaaba, Masjid Al Haram, Mecca" • ziedkammoun - "mosque masjid saudi arabia" • khalid Albaih - "view from Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun" • Charlie Phillips - "Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Cairo." • khalid Albaih - "Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun" • lvalue - "Jordan River Beach, 5" • Sam Beebe, Ecotrust - "Ryan Brush at Jordan River, BC" • Tracy Hunter - "Jordan River" • mattriley89 - "Sistine Chapel, The Vatican" • Beyond Forgetting - "Sistine Chapel" • transitpeople - "Entrance to Sistine Chapel in Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy" • Dimitry B - "Spiral Staircase, Vatican"

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