January 11th- Wow! The first day of this amazing and religious adventure has begun. Today I flew by plane to India which took about two days to arrive and get settled in. In the beautiful city of Kushinagar, India, where I stayed, there are many pagodas and long plains of bright green grass. In this city, I observed a sacred, Buddhist site, the Sleeping Buddha, which is absolutely beautiful! This piece of religious architecture has a large Stupa made of red sand stone in the shape of a dome with the sleeping statue of Buddha inside. The statue of Buddha is laying down on its right side with its hands under its head, and there is a shiny, gold paint that covers the entire statue. The sleeping Buddha marks the location where Buddha is thought to have attained nirvana when he passed away at age 80. This is significant religiously to Buddhism as it demonstrates how Buddha went into a state of complete redemption and no longer had to suffer through many cycles of reincarnation.
January 13th- Today I traveled to the famous city of Jerusalem in Jordan where I visited the Tomb of Jesus Christ. The travel process took another two days, but the wait was worth it! Jerusalem has sandy deserts and numerous densely packed spaces of stone buildings, more specifically limestone. This religious architecture in Jerusalem is extremely important to Christianity as it was the origin. The tomb is located in the center of the Church of Holy Sepulchre and was covered by a golden Aedicule built over it with many candles and pillars. The church itself offered intricate carvings, large pillars, and a diversity of tapestry. This piece of architecture affects a majority of Christians as it holds the place where Jesus is thought to have been buried and resurrected. This is important because Christianity was founded upon the teachings of Jesus, influencing the beliefs of Christians all around the world.
January 14th- In the same city of Jerusalem, today I visited the famous Western Wall. This wall is surrounded by many other buildings made of stone and sits next to the Dome of the Rock. This single wall used to help support a whole building called the Second Temple that was then destroyed by the Romans in 70 B.C., fortunately leaving at least one wall standing up. This religious piece of architecture was made of sandstone and stands to about 62 feet tall. Through many centuries, Jews have taken pilgrimages to be able to pray in this very sacred place. The Western Wall is important to Judaism as it held the place where men can pray, and recently women. Because this is the only wall left, Jews cherish it extremely and it has become one of the holiest places for Jewish Life.
January 16th- Oh my, we are already on the fourth location! Definitely try putting some of these places on your bucket list, they are miraculous! Today I flew to India and was able to see mountains from above. I also found a hotel in the amazing city of Agra. Agra also has large pieces of bright green land, but is mostly known for the religious architecture, the Taj Mahal! Made of white marble, the Taj Mahal was a Mausoleum built in Agra between 1631 and 1648. It also incorporates large domes, pillars, and intricate carvings of religious symbols. For example, a crescent moon on the side represents Islam. This structure is visited by thousands of people a day because it is one, extremely breath taking, and two, religiously important to Islam, especially Muslims. This Mausoleum was built by a man named Shah Jahan in memory of his wife who passed away. The religious significance of the Taj Mahal is that it has large domes, illustrating the unique Indian, religious diversity. Also, this structure was shown as a way of grief when someone has passed, and the moon along with the trident carvings symbolize a powerful god that they worship.
January 19th- Today is bittersweet as it is my last day of traveling across the world. However, I couldn't help having good spirits when I got to experience the spectacular journey through the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia! This city contains beautiful mountains ranges that connect to the Gulf of Thailand. From about A.D. 1113 to 1150, one of the largest religious monuments in the world was made, called the Angkor Wat! Crazy Right? Built by a king named Suryavarman II, the Angkor Wat was about 500 acres and made of sandstone blocks creating 100 temples, hydrolic structures such as basins and canals, and communication routes. Also, it was a major area where Hinduists came to visit for centuries as it was a source of water and impressive monuments. The Angkor Wat is religiously significant as it was built in Honor of the Hindu God, Vishnu, whom is worshiped in the religion of Hinduism. Now bringing my religious adventure to an end, I have realized the diversity of the world's religions and how it has affected their culture and beliefs. The places I visited opened my eyes to see vastly different landscapes and how that shapes different communities. Someday I hope to come back to these wonderful places, thank you for joining me on my very religious and exciting journey!