A Journey Through Religion By: Te'a Winn

Monday, December 5th

I traveled across the world to uncover Religion and how it is affecting our world and my beginning religion of choice was Christianity. My first stop was at The Church of All Nations, where I learned that the official name is the Basilica of the Agony, and it is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem right next to the Garden of Gethsemane. The church has a section of stone in the Garden of Gethsemane where it is believed Jesus was praying on the night of his arrest. I was able to walk through the church and experience the beauty of this building. The domed roof, thick pillars, and floor mosaic give the church a feeling of home and added an aspect of color. The front of the church (shown below on the left) features a colorful painting said to be showing the connection between God and humanity. As I concluded my tour I felt like I knew a little bit more about Christianity than I did before and cannot wait to go to my next mystery stop, Sorry! But that's all I can say, I cant ruin the surprise. As always have a good day or as they say in Jerusalem "שיהיה לך יום טוב!"

Left: The Church of All Nations Right: Inside of Church

Tuesday, December 6th

Welcome back! Today I am still in wonderful Jerusalem, but now I am entering the world of Judaism. I am going to the The Western Wall The Temple Mount which is conveniently located 10 minutes aways from The Church of All Nations. The architecture of the building (shown below) is gorgeous with a golden dome on the top and a stone wall surrounding it reaching about 485 m. long and reaching a total height of 18 m. The Wall even has an underground layer! The wall had become a place of assembly and prayer for Jews all over the world. I saw tons of people praying to God, partaking in religious ceremony's, and placing prayer requests into the cracks of the wall. I was even able to participate in the traditions and I learned how similar Judaism and Christianity truly are. I had so much fun today exploring the walls and learning new things but I think its time for a nap. Have a great day! Bye.

Top left: Western Wall The Temple Mount, Top Right: prayer slot, Middle Right: Women in front of prayer wall, Bottom Left: Man praying, Bottom Right: Men discussing religion.

Thursday, December 8th

Today I am in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India where I traveled to the Buddhist temple called the Mahabodhi Temple. I walked around and saw people everywhere, in front of buildings in gardens, in walkways, etc. However they were meditating so I did my best to be quiet and not disturb the people. There was a tall stone temple as the center piece of the temple and red stone buildings around it. I kept walking exploring the temple and came across a giant statue, which I later learned was Gautama Buddha, a man who achieved enlightenment and many names! Next I kept walking and found a huge tree encaged in wood and gold designs, with people meditating in front of it. There was a sign on the door that said," This is the spot where Siddhartha Gautama attained Enlightenment. Request to observe complete silence within this sacred zone." So I decided to partake in this special occasion because well one, I wanted to experience the culture and traditions that are held here, and two because there was a kind old woman forcing me to try it. At the end of the day I did feel extremely relaxed as I left the temple. I honestly did not want to leave, but I must continue on my journey to discover religion and the effects on the world because of it. As always aapaka din shubh ho! but in English Have a good day!

Top Left: Stone Building, Top Right: People Meditating, Bottom Left: Statue of Gautama Buddha, Bottom Right: Enlightenment Zone

Monday, December 12th

I have finally reached my destination. The Great Mosque of Mecca! This is the largest mosque in the world and surrounds the kaaba, in the city of Mecca. It covers an area of 356,800 square meters including a prayer area inside and out! I watched as people poured into the building and as some people stayed outdoors and performed prayer rituals. The building is home to a black stone which was shattered many years ago. Many of the pilgrims there would try to stop and kiss the Black Stone, I was able to learn that this is a tradition for the people. If they cannot reach it, they point to it. I had joined in with a woman praying on the ground and asked her the importance of this place. She could not speak very good English, however I was able to understand and summarized it, "The Mosque was declared a site of pilgrimage by the Prophet Muhammad in 630." The night was falling at this point and I went into the Mosque and was astonished at some of the things I was looking at. The ceiling had lights hanging off of them in a beautiful way and the roof was painted in intricate designs. The halls had huge arches leading from room to room, I felt like a princess walking through the halls but even a princess can get tired. It was almost midnight by the time I exited the Mosque. I had a great time here and I learned so much about the religion Islam but I think its time to call it a night! Sweet Dreams.

Top Left: Inside Mosque, Top Right: Outside view of crowds, Bottom Left: Studying Session, Bottom Right: Inside view of Mosque

Friday, December 16th

As my journey comes to an end, I am heading back to a familiar place to learn about the last religion, Hinduism. I decided to visit the Kedarnath Temple located Uttarakhand, India. The temple is one out of four apart of the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites. It is only open between the end of April and the beginning of November but I was lucky and was able to get an exclusive tour to this amazing historical architecture. The man I met with told me a little about the history of the building. The building was dedicated to Bhagwan Shiv and it is said that the Pandavs pleased Lord Shiv by clearing their sins by killing their cousins at the temple. Every year, hundreds and thousands of pilgrims come too the small town that is home to ‘darshan’ at the sacred temple. The inside of the place is small but powerful there were murals and paintings scattered portraying the history of Hinduism. It had an egg shaped roof (shown below) and a few buildings. I was ecstatic to be able to see a building so important to this religion and I hope one day I could go see the other three. I am sad that this is the end but I have learned so much through this adventure and i'm so happy to share it with you! Thats it for now and as always, goodbye have a good day!

Top: Kedarnath Temple, Bottom Left: Closing Cage, Bottom Right: Inside temple

Credits:

Created with images by nborun - "Church of Mary Magdalene" • bluskyhi - "israel jerusalem universal church" • daniesza - "church basilica of the agony church of" • beggs - "IMG_6885" • beggs - "IMG_0041" • lyng883 - "DSC04617-The Western Wall or Wailing Wall" • young shanahan - "At the Western Wall." • hoyasmeg - "Taking time to answer questions_1846" • manbartlett - "untitled image" • ShaluSharmaBihar - "Bodh Gaya Temple - The Mahabodhi temple" • manbartlett - "untitled image" • manbartlett - "untitled image" • Jorge Lascar - "Mihrab (marking the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca) - Madrassa of Sultan al-Zahir Barquq - Qalawun complex" • Arian Zwegers - "Istanbul, Blue Mosque" • Arian Zwegers - "Aleppo, Great Mosque, studying and sleeping" • Jorge Lascar - "Mihrab (marking the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca) - Madrassa of Sultan al-Zahir Barquq - Qalawun complex" • varunshiv - "Ukhimath Temple" • shankar s. - "Kedarnath temple, Pune (Poona)" • shankar s. - "Kedarnath temple, Pune (Poona)"

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