March 26, 2017 - Today I am in India to find out more about the popular religion of Hinduism! After a very tiring day, I am here to record my observations. I saw many, many people everywhere, as India is a heavily populated country. There were many bikes and little huts around the streets, and lots of temples and I even saw the Taj Mahal on a drive-by. Everything was very colorful, and it was a beautiful sight as I was visiting the different religious temples that belonged to Hinduism. The temples were very interesting and nothing like America. They were mainly made out of types of stone, and contained pillars in the front, as well as many floors, each getting smaller and smaller as the temple grows upward. A sacred site of worship is called Banaras. Banaras is the most visited pilgrimage destination in all of India. It is located on the banks of the Ganges River, which is the holiest river in the religion of Hinduism. Banaras is very holy, because myths and hymns speak of the waters of the Ganges River as the fluid medium of Shiva's divine essence and a bath in the river is believed to wash away all of one's sins, and it is common to go to Banaras and worship Shiva.
April 29, 2017 - Today, I took my talents to Nepal to see and get a feel for the interesting religion of Buddhism! In Nepal, there were very very many bikes around town, as well as a lot of taxi cabs and walkers. I also loved the view of the mountains when I was outside, it was very majestic and beautiful. Just like in India, there are a lot of people, which is a main reason of Buddhism's reign as one of the most widely-practiced religions in the world. Their religious buildings are most commonly known as stupas. These stupas are dome-shaped, and they have a circular foundation. They are very large, and on the inside, there were many paintings and pillars. I found them to be very interesting and cool. Another form of religious architecture is the pagoda. The pagoda was more straight-edged, and there were about 4 or 5 stories on each pagoda, each story consisting of pillars around the whole building. As the pagoda goes up, the stories get smaller and smaller, and each story usually has an opening/balcony. The people that practiced Buddhism showed me some sacred sites of worship, as well. They went to the place of Buddha's birth, which was at Lumbini Grove, in the southern part of Nepal. Since it is the place of his birth, it is a very sacred place of worship and a key part in his life and the religion of Buddhism. Many Buddhists will make a pilgrimage to Lumbini Grove.
August 15, 2017 - Today, I went to Israel to study the awesome and fascinating religion of Judaism. In Israel, there were lots of open plains and grassy savannahs, but those weren't the kinds of places I was looking for. Although they were very beautiful, with many forms of wildlife, I went to the very famous religious city of Jerusalem. Wow, it was the most beautiful city I've ever seen. There were many varieties of architecture there, but most of the buildings were very angular at the base, or foundation, and they contained pillars. The top of the buildings were where the architecture differed. The very tall, high rise buildings had a square or rectangular roof, while the shorter buildings had a dome as the roof. But, my main goal there was to visit the sacred site, Temple Mount. Temple Mount was a very large, yet short building covered in blue on the sides, which different paintings, and topped of with a magnificent golden dome. Considered one of the most religious sites in the world, Temple Mount is considered the holiest place in the world to Jews. This is because it is the place of birth of Adam, and the binding of Isaac occurred here.
December 5-10, 2017 - Today, I am in Saudi Arabia, one of the world's leading oil producers, to get some insight on the Islam religion, and the cool architecture of the Muslims. Saudi Arabia has a uniquely strong connection with the Islamic religion. The reason that this entry is actually 5 days long, is because I spent two days in the capital, Riyadh, and three days in Mecca. In Riyadh, it was very, very busy. There were very bright lights at night, and everything was colorful. I was most surprised by the size of the Kingdom Centre, one of the tallest buildings in the world. After two days in Riyadh, I spent the rest of my trip in Mecca. Most of the religious buildings were mosques. They were buildings with four columns at each corner, each going up the same height, with a central building, usually a square or a rectangle with a dome on the top. This is where most of the Muslims went to worship. Then, I went to visit Mecca in western Saudi Arabia. Mecca is very significant to the Islams, for one major reason. This reason is that it is the birthplace of Muhammad. He is said to be the founder of Islam, and thus people make a pilgrimage to Mecca to honor him. Muhammed is accepted by the Muslims as the last of the prophets of God.
March 3, 2018 - For my last, but definitely not least trip, I am again going to Israel, but a different part, to study and get insight on Christianity! To study Judaism, I went to Jerusalem, but to study Christianity, I went to Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem, and another important holy city. Christian architecture is composed of many angular buildings. Most buildings have a triangular roof with a point at the top, and the inside consists of the basilican hall, consisting of a nave flanked by lower aisles and terminated by an apse. These are called churches and these are the places where Christians go to pray and worship. The sacred site I visited was obviously, Bethlehem. It was very beautiful, lined with trees and many buildings in the heart of Bethlehem. Bethlehem is extremely important to the Christians, because it is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Many Christians make a pilgrimage to Bethlehem at least once in their lives to thank Jesus Christ and commemorate him for everything he has done to create life on Earth.