A smidgen of religion around the world in 6 days

DAY 1: I have finally landed in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem is a sacred town to Christians, as Jesus is the son of the God they believe in. I've noticed it quite a suburban town. I saw many churches and chapels. These churches here are made up of big, glorious towers with crosses placed upon them. It's quite a site

The top of a chapel tower (left) and an overview of modern day Bethlehem (right).

DAY 2: Lucky for me, Jerusalem and Bethlehem are fairly close together. I took a bus this morning to Jerusalem and arrived in just over an hour. Jerusalem is a whole different story from Bethlehem. Jewish people who live here experience big portions of their life in sacred places known as synagogues. Synagogues are places for not only worship, but for educational and communal purposes as well. Synagogues are made to look very regal. They look like castles almost, with round, colorful roofs. In addition to synagogues, Jewish people also commonly visit the Wailing Wall. It is the only remains of an ancient temple that Moses brought the ten commandments to. They will often make pilgrimages to this wall.

A large collection of Jewish people mourning over the Western Wall (left) and a synagogue (right).

Day 3: Before taking my 15 hour flight to Bodhgaya, India, I decided to stop by Al-Aqsa Mosque. I would've liked to visit Mecca, but it is exclusive to Muslims only. Mecca is such a holy place to Muslims that a pilgrimage to Mecca is obligatory, so long as they are physically able to travel there. A pilgrimage to Mecca is such a special occasion it even has it's own name, a Hajj. Anyways, enough about where we want to be, let's talk about where we are. Al-Aqsa Mosque is the known as the third holiest site to Muslims, Mecca of course being first. It is believed that Muhammad travelled from Mecca to Al-Aqsa Mosque in a single night. The exterior of Al-Aqsa Mosque is very regal-looking, with pillars supporting the roof and a dome on the top. The interior is the same story. It's floored with a red carpet with more pillars complementing the carpet. Muslims will usually come here to pray.

Interior (left) and exterior (right) of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Day 4: Boarding my 16 hour flight to Bodhgaya, India now. Once I arrive, it'll be too late to explore, so I'll save that for tomorrow.

Day 5: I've arrived! I'm now in Bodhgaya. This is one of the holiest sites for Buddhists. This is believed to be the place of Buddha's enlightenment. Being enlightened is the act of gaining spiritual knowledge not known before. One of the main attractions here is the Mahabodhi Temple. It is a massive 55 meter high temple containing the Diamond Throne, Vajrasana, and the holy Mahabodhi tree. This tree was at the site of Buddha's enlightenment so Buddhists pray to the seeds. Now, onto my final stop, the Himalayas!

Mahabodhi Temple (left) and the Mahabodhi Tree (right).

Day 6: I've saved the best spot for last. My flight just arrived at the Himalayas, a holy place to Hinduism. The Himalayas are personified to represent the god Himavat to Hinduism. I've decided to hike up the mountain as my final challenge in this journey around the world. I stop by Paro Taktsang. While this is not a religious site for Hinduism, it is said to be the site that Padmasambhava founded Buddhism, so I thought this was a memorable spot to stop. After reaching Paro Taktsang, I decided to head home because it was getting dark. This was a great ending point for my journey. Tomorrow, I will take I flight back to Texas.

Paro Taktsang (left) and the Himalayas (right).


Created with images by Guillaume Paumier - "Bell tower, Church of the Nativity"

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