Journeying to Religious Landscapes and Architecture #insightful

Isaiah Kwong-Murphy- World Class Traveler, 1A AP HUG

Over the last couple of weeks, I have toured and visited many religious landscapes, and decided to document my travels, as I always do! My first stop was to visit the Buddhist landmark, of the Sleeping Buddha, in Kusinara.

The Sleeping Buddha- Kusinara, India

November 29, 2016- This beautiful statue is located in the town of Kusinara (or Kusinagar or Kushinagar.) This amazing work of architecture was not always in the condition it is now. In 1876, it was found destroyed and in pieces. However, as the tour guide explained, it was pieced together and stored in a temple, created by the Indian Government in 1956! The Sleeping Buddha is a wonderful piece of architecture, as it is where Buddha attained Nirvana, the highest state one can attain in Buddhism. Surprisingly, the town was rather barren, but that only amplified the beauty of this architecture.

Lumbini- Nepal, India

November 30, 2016- I continued my trip in India, by heading to Nepal, and visiting the Buddhist sacred site, Lumbini. It was cloudy when I arrived, however, November is considered one of the best months to visit Nepal, as the monsoons are not typically present. Lumbini is a site of Buddhist pilgrimage, where many buddhists visit. Lumbini is where Buddha was born, showing its importance. Lumbini is a complex of structures, located in the Terai Plains. As a Buddhist man visiting explained, Buddha requested his followers to visit the four sites he deemed holy (including Lumbini, and the previously mentioned Kusinara).

Jagganath Temple- Puri, India

December 2, 2016- I continued my tour in India to a Hindu temple, a type of Hindu architecture. This world famous temple is named after Jagganath, the supreme god and the sovereign monarch of the Odishan Empire. Temples are an important part of Hindu culture. However, as opposed to many other religions, Hinduism is more individual than communal. Still, temples are important for followers to worship at, and this temple was a great stop.

Ayodhya, India

December 3, 2016- I visited my last stop for the Hindu religion, the ancient Indian town of Ayodhya. This sacred site is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism. Lord Rama was born here. Lord Rama is a hero from the Hindu religion who is known for purity and marital devotion. This town offers a look into the past, and was a great place to learn more about the Hindu religion.

Eldridge Street Synagogue, New York

December 7, 2016- I continued my tour of religious sites by going to Eldridge Street Synagogue. New York can be extremely cold in the Winter, but thankfully it was not snowing when I arrived. Oddly enough, this synagogue is located in Chinatown, Manhattan. This grand synagogue was impressing visually, but synagogues are just as impressing historically. I spotted many families and people there. Synagogues are where Jewish congregations and assemblies meet, and worship. I enjoyed my visit, and continued by visiting a sacred site of Judaism.

The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

December 9, 2016- My next stop was quite a bit away. I headed to Jerusalem and arrived at this world famous Jewish sacred site, the Wailing Wall. This site was apparently called the Western Wall, but due to the large amount of people who would wail out to God, it was called the Wailing Wall. This wall surrounded a temple that was destroyed by the Romans. However, the Jews used it as a symbol of strength and it has become a sacred site that many people visit yearly. Seeing all the people worship here was an emotional sight, and gave me a good insight on the Jewish culture.

The Ka'bah, Mecca

December 10, 2016- The next day, I headed South to Saudi Arabia to visit an Islamic sacred site. Normally, the city of Mecca is STRICTLY prohibited to anyone who is not Muslim. However, with the help of a close friend, I was able to pull some strings to report about this city. Mecca is the holiest Muslim city, as its the location where Muhammad, the founder of Islam was born. The main site of this city was the Ka'bah. The Ka'bah is a small shrine near the Great Mosque, which I later visited. Muslims pray five times daily to this structure. Mecca was very busy, likely because visiting Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam.

The Great Mosque, Mecca

December 10, 2016- I continued in Mecca to the Holy, or Great Mosque. Unlike other Mosques, this one contains the Ka'bah. This large, grande mosque was a stunning site, which makes sense due to the extensive remodeling that has happened to it. Mosques are similar to the other examples of architecture, in that mosques are where people of the Muslim religion worship. My visit to the Great Mosque was brief, as I was only allowed into Mecca for a day. However, it was a beautiful city, and a great place for any Muslims to visit.

Jerusalem, Israel

December 12, 2016- I headed back to Jerusalem to explore the final religion on my list, Christianity. Jerusalem is extremely notable to Christians, as this is where Jesus died and rose again. Jerusalem is extremely famous, as three large religions take importance to it. However, Christians are only the third larges demographic, behind Muslims and Jews. Still, this city was extremely crowded and a great place to visit.

Christ Church, Jerusalem

December 13, 2016- I finally visited my last stop. It was rather convenient, as the place I was visiting was already in Jerusalem. I visited Christ Church, an Anglican Christian church in Jerusalem. Christianity is split into many branches and denominations and Anglican is one of these. This church wasn't overly grand, but rather very traditional and it fit in well with Jerusalem. Churches are where Christians come to worship and are widespread, and found in most American towns.

I headed home, and arrived. My tour into religious places was extremely insightful and gave me a view into other religions and lives, and helped give me perspective on other religions and I would happily do this again.

Created By
Isaiah Kwong-Murphy
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by amira_a - "Golden needle tips" • Carrie Kellenberger I globetrotterI - "Sleeping Buddha" • taylorandayumi - "Lumbini" • Fæ - "Puri, India, ca. 1915 (IMP-CSCNWW33-OS14-69)" • Argenberg - "Ayutthaya (2007-02-065)" • amanderson2 - "Eldridge Street Synagogue" • kellinahandbasket - "Wailing Wall/ Western Wall" • 777jew - "wailing wall western wall judaism" • kasio69 - "_BRK2931" • Buecherwurm_65 - "jerusalem old town city wall"

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