December 8, 2016- KASHI VISHWANATHAN:
Today I visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, India. It is located on the western bank of the Ganges River in the holy city of Varanasi. The temple was built in the 1780's by Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. The temple's spire and dome are plastered with gold and inside was filled with painting. The temple is very tall and reaches into the sky. The history of this temple tellsus that the Gods-Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities have visited this temple. This temple symbolizes man's desire to live in peace send harmony with one another since many Hindus come from all over the world to visit this temple. Next I will be going to the Buddha temple in Lumbini, Nepal, the Maya Devi Temple.
December 11, 2016- Maya Devi Temple
Today i visited the Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, Nepal. This temple lies on the location of Buddha's birth. I had to buy my ticket 50 miles north of the gate to the secret garden an I bought another pair of socks because I heard that there would be a lot of walking around the garden. I walked around the ruins on a raised boardwalk. The focal point was a sandstone carving of the birth of the Buddha. There was a pond next to the temple where it was believed to be where Maya Devi bathed before giving birth to the Buddha. Around the pond are ruined foundations of a number of brick stupas and monasteries dating from the 2nd century BC to the 9th century AD. It was very beautiful to walk around the garden and I was in awe by the carving of the birth of Buddha. I wonder which sacred site to visit next.
December 14, 2016- Western Wall
The next Sacred site I visited was the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The wall is 1,601 feet in length and 62 feet in height. The wall was built in 20 BC by King Herod. The Western Wall is the holiest of Jewish sites and it is sacred because of the Herodian retaining wall that was enclosed and supported the Secod Temple. It is also called the "Wailing Wall" by European observers because for centuries Jews have gathered at the wall to mourn at the loss of their temple. The wall is made up of huge ancient stones left over from the temple that stretches far and wide. Inside the wall is a passage that is lit up and is in the shape of arches. I saw many people there from all religions who came to either pray or to see the huge landmark. I overheard a group saying that they come every day to this wall to pray. WOW! Next I'm going to visit St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
December 17, 2016- St. Peter's Basilica
Today I visited the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. St. Peter's Basilica is one of the holiest sites in Christendom. St. Peter's Basilica is located where Peter, the apostle, who is considered to be the first pope, was crucifies and buried. St. Peter's tomb is under the main alter and many other popes are buried in the Basilica as well as Saint Peter. When i walked in I WAS IN AWE. The Basilica was so breathtakingly beautiful. Inside are paintings and murals covering the walls of the Basilica that was made with such grace and elegance. The dome on the Basilica was built by one of the most famous artist, Michelangelo and on top of the colonnade are 140 sculptures of saints. WOW! I will be coming back to this place with my whole family next time to see this most magnificent site.
December 21, 2016- The Black Stone
The last sacred site I visited was the Black Stone in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. According to history, this dates back to the time of Adam and Eve. It is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient sacred stone building where Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand/Holy Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Black Stone was a beautiful sleek, smooth black rock polished smooth by many over the years. It is 12 feet in diameter and 5 feet off the ground. Muslims believe the prophet Mohammad once kissed the Black Stone and during their mandatory, once in a lifetime, trip to Kaaba, they try to kiss the Black Stone if possible and if not possible they point to it on their seven circle journey around the Kaaba. These journeys was absolutely divine to visit and it opened my eyes to see how other religions incorporate faith into their everyday lives. I would totally visit these places again at least one more time in my lifetime. Happy Holidays guys! See you next time!