December 26th 2016 This is going to be the beginning of my journey all around the world to study the groups of people, and their religion. I decided that I would start in Dwarka, India which centers around the religion of Hinduism, which is the oldest religion. Dwarka is one of the four Maha Kumbha Mela Sites. When I walked into this town, I was immediately submerged into the beautiful culture, and the stunning, old architecture that carries through the entire town. The place that is in the center of this place is the Temple of Samudra Narayana and the Lord Krishna's Home, which both have similar architecture. The Temple has many people, coming to it in order to pay pilgrimage, in which they will be flying their flags, going towards the holy river that the temple is near, and I heard some chanting, too. Also, at the top of the temple, there was always a gorgeous flag flying with bright colors. The people were very kind, and more than to explain their customs and history in their cultures. They have many bright festivals, with dances, and beautiful clothes. Being here for four and a half days, I got to learn so much more about the Hindu religion, mostly about heir gods and goddesses through images or stories, and I got to visualize their history and how universal order ties into this.
January 1st, 2017 After my wonderful trip to the Dwarka, India, I decided to make my way towards Bodh Gaya, India, so that I could learn more about the Buddhist religion. As soon as I got into the Bodh, Gaya, I saw how many people had come to see this wonderful place for pilgrimage, and was able to feel the importance to the people around them. Whenever I got to walk through this beautiful place, I noticed the nature everywhere, and how the temple's architecture was so intricate and detailed, just like their religion's past history. I then got to see the big Buddha statue, which shows just how important this is to the Buddhist religion. As I continued to make my way to the legendary Bodhi tree, in which the Buddha sat down , no matter what was thrown at him, until he was able to reach enlightenment, which he did in the end. People continued to come and make their way to the tree, and will pray or chant under it, hoping to reach the same enlightenment that was previously achieved there. It was fascinating to be able to see the clothes that everyone wore and the beauty that everything had, even though it is an old religion. It was such a wonderful experience getting to know more about the history of the Buddha, and all of the interesting facts that I got to find in the temples. For example, in one of the temples, there was a throne that sat on four pillars, just like their four noble truths in which the religion believes in. This is one of the most beautiful places I have experienced, and being there, everything felt very peaceful. It was a wonderful place to be able to see the serenity, and the seeking of peace of everyone around me.
January 10th, 2017 After leaving India, I began to make my way towards Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is where the holy mosque is located for the Islam religion. This is one of the most important places in which people come to pay pilgrimage, so much so that it had to be enlarged in order to accommodate the masses that would come over and pray. The architecture that has been changed and renovated in the holy mosque, in order to make it better or better for the people that were coming to see it. It was such an amazing experience to be able to watch all of the people coming into this beautiful city to come and celebrate their religion and come express what they've believed in. To be able to watch their customs, and see what they normally wear is such a mind-opening experience that I was so happy to get to experience. It's the largest mosque in the world and has to be enlarged many times, because of the growing people in the Islam religion over the years. I've learned a lot about how important prayer and pilgrimage is to the religion, because it is in their five pillars of faith for them. The architecture has advanced with the years, but they still have kept their older structures to make a gorgeous combination of both. I loved spending four and a half days here, because I truly got to emerge myself into this town, and find out more about the Islam religion.
January 17th, 2017 I made my way North into Bethlehem, which is a smaller area in the Jerusalem, Israel area, I began to get excited to see what was waiting there. I am a Christian, so I know the story of how Jesus Christ was born to the virgin Mary in a barn, and a bright star, along with angels, lead people towards the child to praise the baby. For, the baby that Mary had given birth to would end up being the Savior, and dying on the cross for the world's sins, so that everyone would be able to go to Heaven one day after they had died, and be forgiven of all of their sin they had done on Earth. I was immediately taken by the old, yet modern look to the place. I was excited to have found the place where Jesus had been born to be a beautiful place, in which it looked slightly worn, meaning that many people had been to see this place. Also, it was interesting to see how many people wanted to get a picture of where such an important place in their religious history took place. What I enjoyed most of the trip was being able to see all of the photos or paintings of the nativity scene with Jesus, Mary, Joseph, barn animals, shepherds, and wise men. I love seeing how the religion places such a group of people who came from different places in order to see such a miracle that happened. It was an amazing experience to be able to surround myself in such a place in which I can reconnect with all that I know about my religion, and get to be with other people who share my beliefs. Bethlehem is important, because it would always be known by many ages as the place where the Savoir Jesus Christ was born.
January 25th, 2017 The last place on my journey will be to visit Jerusalem, Israel in order to see the Western Wall. The Western Wall has been through many hardships, because it is the only remaining piece of one of the Jewish temples after Rome came and destroyed the Second Temple, and left that part of the wall, for they saw it as an insignificant part of the wall to destroy. This then became a place where people would come to pray and connect. I loved watching such a mass of people working to connect, and show their love to their religion. It was beautiful. Also, the area it is in, seems very peaceful with the nature, and the view of temples behind it. I also enjoyed seeing their culture in their clothing, both men's and women's. It is so beautiful to watch people connect to such pain that was caused when their religion and beliefs were tried to put to a stop, and how the Judaism made something important and strong out of something meant to make them weak.