Buddhism December 5th/6th, 2017- Today in Nepal, I visited the sacred site Lumbini. I was so excited to visit Lumbini because I was so curious about the Buddhism religion. I learned that Lumbini is the place the Buddha was born. It is one of the four places of future pilgrimage the Buddha identified himself. Lumbini is located outside under trees, and this is one explanation for why Buddhists have major respect for the environment. The Buddha's mother, Maya Devi, gave birth to the Buddha while resting under a tree in Lumbini when she was on her way to her parent's home. After visiting Lumbini, I visited The Great Stupa at Sanchi located in Madhya Pradesh, India. The Great Stupa at Sanchi is the earliest surviving example of a stupa. It is a dome-like structure made of mud and clay. It also has four carved gateways and a stone fence. After learning about Buddhism, I was off to learning about Judaism!
Judaism December 8th/9th, 2017- My next adventure was to The Western Wall located in the Old City of Jerusalem. While I was at The Western Wall, I learned that it is the holiest place Jews are permitted to pray at. The Western Wall has remained intact since the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple. The Western Wall was once one of four walls that protected the Second Jerusalem Temple. It has become a place for mourning the loss of the Second Jerusalem Temple. Seeing The Western Wall made me realize how places that are meaningful to people can be taken away in an instant. After learning about The Western Wall, I was interested in visiting Eldridge Street Synagogue. I thought it was really weird that this synagogue is located in Chinatown, Manhattan. When I was visiting, I noticed Jewish congregations and assemblies worship and meet. The Eldridge Street Synagogue has 70 foot high ceilings, stained-glass rose windows, hand-stenciled walls, and brass fixtures. After learning about Judaism, I was off to learning about Hinduism!
Hinduism December 11th/12th, 2017- My next stop was a Hindu sacred site, the Ganges River. This site is extremely important to the Hindus, resulting in the Ganges River being a key site. The river is personified as a goddess known as Ganga, and they also believe that if you bathe in the river, all sins from your body are cleared. I learned that many Hindus travel to get the opportunity to bathe in a holy place. As I continued on, I went to The Kandariya Mahadeo Temple located at Khajuraho, which is in Northern India, and it is extremely large. The Kandariya Mahadeo is built on a high platform base and I had to access it by climbing a flight of stairs that led to a series of porches. The Kandariya Mahadeo Temple is the largest building in Khajuraho. The building reminds me of a mountain range with diverse peaks. On the exterior of the building, there are 646 figures and 226 figures on the interior. The Kandariya Mahadeo is made on sandstone, and I was surprised it was still standing today. After learning about Hinduism, I was off to learning about Islam!
Islam December 14th/15th, 2017- Today I visited Al-Aqsa Mosque which is a holy site in Shia and Sunni Islam and it is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. I learned that under Islamic Law, the mosque is the third of the two holy sanctuaries. Muslims believe that during Muhammad's night journey, he was moved from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa. In Islamic tradition, Muslims also believe that Muhammad led prayers to this site until the seventeenth month after the Emigration. This is when God directed Muhammad to run to the Kaaba. To visit some Islamic architecture, I returned to Jerusalem and stumbled upon The Dome Of The Rock. It is a shrine, and inside is a rock that is very meaningful to Islam as well as Christianity and Judaism. It has a golden dome on top and colorful stones surrounding it. After learning about Islam, I was off to learning about Christianity!
Christianity December 17th/18th, 2017- My final destination was to the Jordan River located in Northern Israel. This is a sacred site to Christians because Christians believe Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist here. I learned that many Christians travel to the Jordan River to baptize themselves and feel a sense of purification. I wrapped up my tour of the five major religions, I made one final stop to the Christ Church in Jerusalem. The Christ Church allows people to focus on prayer and connecting to God, unlike the Dome Of The Rock. After learning about Christianity, I was done with my world tour!