February 25: Varanasi, India
I start my world wide journey in Varanasi, India. Varanasi is known as the holy city or city of lights among Hindus. It is found on the holy river of the Ganges, one of the seven holy places in Hinduism, being a place to preform religious ceremonies and funerals. As you can imagine, being the holy capital for Hinduism, it his very centered around their religion, having nearly 2000 Hindu temples. Hinduism is widely regarded as the oldest religion in the world and is of the polytheistic nature. Hinduism is one of the most religious tolerant religions you can find. The people were all very helpful and nice in helping me around this unfamiliar territories and were easily understandable because English is extremely prevalent in India. The architecture is amazing, consisting of mostly older styles of architecture with many Mandirs (Hindu Temple). At the river, people would set up shops because people will have to walk past them and the food that some of the sell is exquisite.
Varanasi from the holy river, Ganges.
March 28: Ki Village
After my visit to Varanasi, India I decided to head down, or rather up, to the Ki monastery in Ki village in the Himalayas. At 4166 meters above sea level in Spiti Valley i n the Himalayan mountains lies he Buddhist Ki monastery. The Village is beautiful in a valley and the architecture is breathtaking. Over the course of the rule of the 5th Dalai Lama, This monastery was rapidity attached by the Mongols. Being crafted in a mountain range it looks like the majestic scenery of a feature film. I stayed over night and the people that live here are almost all in religious training for Lamas. The rooms are very complicated having many dimly lit corridors and narrow pathways leading to small prayer rooms on may different levels of the Monastery.
Ki monastery over Spiti river in the himalayas
April: 13: Jerusalem, Isreal
Jerusalem, a holy city, not only one major world religion but 3, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism, it is believed that Jerusalem is the center of the world or where God resided and the place of many Biblical stories including The Binding of Isaac and Where Abraham spoke to God. Being attacked 52 times, Besieged 23 times and captured and recaptured 44 times, along with being of the oldest cities still standing in the world, Jerusalem will be different from other cities. Jerusalem consists of an old city and a new city. The old city is in essence, pure history consisting of old shrines and important religious symbols including the 11 great gates. The New city is a slice of modern life, consisting of hotels and shops. The new district has some religious symbols though, like the giant bronze menorah give as a gift from the British in 1956.
Jerusalem's west wall, an important religious figure in Judaism.
May 7: Nazareth: Iseal
After I spent my time in the holy city of Jerusalem I made my way to Nazareth, the city that Jesus is told to have spent his childhood and tried to have sessions of his new teachings but got rejected twice. I spent much of my time in Nazareth around the Basilica of the Annunciation, The place that it is said that the angel Gabriel told the virgin Mary that the is the person to give birth to Jesus. Nazareth is a old city full of Religious churches to honor the life of Jesus for the 30 years that he lived there. The buildings are beautiful, with the combination of older and new architecture. The churches have a big influence from romantics, a period when people believed in the beauty of everything and the Gothic era creating a wonderful looking type of architecture.
The Basilica of the Annunciation, where the virgin Mary was first told about Jesus.
June 1: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
As i can sadly say, this will be my last stop on my journey, and because I'm a non-Muslim, I will not be allowed into my final destination, Mecca, the holiest city to Muslims. If you are not of the Islam faith, you cannot enter into their holy city. I however got to see a aerial view of the city from one of my close friends. In Mecca there is the Kaaba in the most sacred mosque, referred as the holiest place in Islam. Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the 5 pillars of faith in Islam. The city is gorgeous place full of older style building with a magnificent clock tower, the zam zam tower which looks a lot like the Empire State building that we have here back in the United States.
The Kaaba, the most sacred place in Islam