Today I traveled to the sacred site of Islam- Mecca. Mecca marks the birthplace of Muhammad and the first revelation of the Qur'an. This is considered a holy site of the Islamic religion and I thought it would be interesting to travel all the way to Saudi Arabia to see it for myself. When I was there, I visited Kaaba. Kaaba is the center of Islam's most sacred mosque and it was amazing to see. It is a very important piece of religious architecture to Muslims because it is a significant place of worship. It is a very unique structure and means a lot to Muslims. The places I saw today were breath taking and so cool to see!
I caught a plane that took me from Mecca to Jerusalem. I wanted to visit Jerusalem because it is a prime sacred site of Judaism. Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and has always been seen as the holiest site to the Jewish faith. Jews have considered this city their homeland since King David. During this part of my trip, I decided to visit the Wailing Wall, which is located in Jerusalem. The Wailing Wall was a part of the Second Temple. When the Romans came to Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and destroyed most of the Second Temple, this wall was the only remaining wall standing. Many Jews go there to pray and prefer to call it the Western Wall, but it is known as the Wailing Wall. The wall was truly intriguing. It was made of tan rocks and was pretty tall. There were some plants growing out of the cracks in between the rocks. I hope I can go back soon!
Today I arrived in Bethlehem, a sacred site for Christians. It was very easy to travel there because it is very close to Jerusalem. Bethlehem is important to the Christian faith because it signifies the birthplace of Jesus and is referenced in many parts of the Bible. While I was here, I visited a very important piece of religious architecture called the Church of Nativity. It was built around 330 A.D. by the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine and has survived so many fires, earthquakes, invasions, and regime changes. It is a beautiful yet simple church made of light tan rocks and has quite a few windows and crosses on the top. The appearance matched my expectations when I saw it just because it is such an old building. There were so many other tourists visiting this great sight today.
I took a long flight overnight to arrive in Lumbini, which is located in Nepal, because of its significance to Buddhism. This sacred site marks the birthplace of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha, in 563 B.C.E. Although the trip was long, it was worth it. Lumbini is filled with beautiful buildings and bright green grass. While I was in Nepal, I decided to go check out the Boudhanath Stupa. This was built not long after Lord Buddha died and attracts many Buddhist tourists. It is one of the largest in the world. The structure was absolutely beautiful and amazing to go see.
Today was my last day! I can't believe my amazing vacation has already come to an end. For my last stop, I traveled to Varanasi. This is a very sacred site for Hinduism and it is located right by the Ganges River in India. It is one of the oldest cities and is considered the religious capital of Hinduism. It is holy because it sits on the Ganges River, which is a very holy place for them, and they consider any city that surrounds the Ganges auspicious. But the reason that Varanasi is so special is because Hindus believe that that's where Lord Shiva and Parvati stood when time first started ticking. While I was there, I decided to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is one of the most famous Hindu temples and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is referred to in Hindu scriptures and has been destroyed and recreated many times. This temple may have been one of the most breath-taking buildings I've ever seen. The colors caught my eye immediately and the light reflected off of it so beautifully. This was an amazing trip and I'm sad to see it come to an end so quickly!