Discovering Religions My journey to discovering cultural landscape and sacred sites

Mount Kailash 7.2.16

I started of my trip by visiting Mount Kailash which is located next to the Tibet river in China. This mountain represents a place of eternal bliss for Hindus. Since this mountain is so important, nobody has ever climbed to it's peak. While I was at the mountain base I saw a pilgrimage. Some locals told me that only a few thousand of people come and visit this remote area a year. This breathtaking mountain is over 22,000 feet tall! The landscape here is so different than anywhere I have ever been. It has been very cold the entire time and the surrounding areas are very rocky and are only passable by foot.

Here are some pictures I took at the base of Mt. Kailash

The Ganges River 7.7.16

The next stop on my trip was the Ganges River. The Ganges River is the most sacred river in India. While I was walking along the rivers banks I noticed many houses and shops. I also notice many people bathing themselves in the rivers water. At first I thought it was just their way of cooling down since it is so hot and humid. I soon learned that it is very common for Hindus to wash away their sins with the Ganges River's water. The landscape around the river was extremely lush and green. Unfortunatly now the river is very crowded and polluted since people travel far and wide to cleanse themselves in the water. Red-holy color specific architecture As you can see in the pictures below many of the buildings are red and have similar architecture. They are this way because red is Hindu's holy color. Buildings have similar architecture because they are usually selling item that are used in the Hinduism religion.

These are some photos I took during the day and night while visiting the Ganges

Bodhi Tree 7.11.16

The third stop on my journey was to the sacred site of the Bodhi Tree in India. The Bohdi tree is important to Buddhists because it is where Sidhartha Gautama refused to move from under the tree until he has gained full enlightenment. After 49 days of concentrated meditation he finally became enlightened. The Bodhi Tree had many intertwining branches and was very tall. The trees surroundings were very lush and green. Many buildings are around the Bodhi Tree so that Buddhists can hang their colorful prayer flags.

There are some pictures of the Bodhi Tree

The sleeping Buddha 7.15.16

Another place I visited was the Sleeping Buddha statue is located in Bangkok Thailand. While I was walking around the temple I learned that this statue is significant to Buddhists because it represents where the Buddha finally attained nirvana. The Sleeping Buddha statue is on display in a Temple called Wat Pho. This beautiful Buddha statue is painted in gold and has extremely lavish surroundings. This statue was huge, it was over 150 feet long! The face of the Buddha has so much detail it was incredible. After seeings this statue I began to notice many smaller versions of this statue in local businesses during the rest of my time in Thailand.

The western wall and temple mount 7.19.16

The fifth place I visited was the Western Wall located in Jerusalem. This limestone wall is so significant for Jews because it was apart of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple. It is located on Temple Mount and is shared with Muslims. The Western wall is a division between land belonging to Jews and Muslims. Temple Mount in Jerusalem and belongs to Muslim's but the Jews desperately want to take it over. It was built in 691 CE and was nearly impossible to access since I am not a Muslim or Jew.

There are some photos I took while visiting Temple Mount and the Western Wall

Dome of the Rock at temple mount 7.22.16

The next stop on my trip was to the Dome of the Rock at Temple Mount located in Jerusalem. This place is significant for Jews because it is the site where Abraham attempted to sacrifice his son. The Dome of the Rock has a very beautiful golden mosaic finish. Its golden roof was inspired by Byzantine churches and palaces which I thought was very interesting. This same mosaic finish can be found on many surrounding buildings.

These are some pictures I took while walking around the Dome of Rock

The saint Peter's basilica 7.27.16

The Saint Peter's Basilica is an Italian Renaissance Church located in Vatican city in Italy. It is one of the biggest churches in the entire world! St. Peter's is considered one of the Holiest Catholic shrines. This church is so monumental to Catholics because it is where Saint Peter's (one of Christ's Apostles) tomb and altar. The alter was extremely large and extravagant and was over 190 feet tall. The architecture in and outside of this church was so intricate and unbelievable. Inside, there was very high ceilings and very fancy decor. Many buildings and churches in surrounding areas mimicked some of it's architecture such as high ceilings and arches, dome shaped roofs, and large stone pillars.

These are some pictures I took while exploring the Saint Peter's Basilica

al kaaba Al Musharrafah 7.30.16

The final place I visited was the Kaaba which located in Saudi Arabia. It was almost impossible for me to enter because I am not Muslim. In order for me to enter I had to be accompanied by a man and wear a full body covering. The Kaaba is considered the house of Allah and is the most sacred site of Islam. Every Muslim will eventually travel to the Kaaba in a pilgrimage called the hajj. The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. While you are there on your pilgrimage you must walk around the Kaaba seven times in a clockwise direction. The Kaaba was much smaller than I expected. It was a small black building with gold detail and lining on it. It was surrounded by a large wall that had very high and extravagant arches on it. While exploring areas surrounding the Kaaba, I began to notice that arches are very common in many buildings architecture. I later realized that the buildings were inspired by the large arches inside the Kaaba.

There are some photos I took was inside the Al Kaaba Al Musharrafah

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