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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.