As you may know, the company I work for employs a lot of Indians that still live in India. Every few years I make a trip over to India to see how their operations are going. While I was overseas I had one day with nothing planned before I had to head back state side. So, the tourist side of me made me want to go to the Taj Mahal. I learned so much about the Islamic faith that it inspired me to go on this few weeks long trip to different religious sites of the five main religions. I informed my boss I was taking two weeks off of work and got to planning my trip. Here are my adventures.
As I said, the Taj Mahal was absolutely beautiful. It was built in the first half of the 17th century for Mumtaz Mahal, hence the name, after the queen died in a very common way, childbirth. The Islamic religion is a monotheistic religion. The God they worship is Allah. They have four main goals every Muslim should pursue called the Five Pillars of Faith. A trip to Islam's holiest city Mecca, praying five times and announcing your Muslim faith by reciting the profession of faith. As well as visiting the Taj Mahal, the next day I visited the popular mosque Jama Masjid. Located in northern India, it was built in the 17th century. It is one of the largest in existence and I even got to sit in on a Friday prayer session. I couldn't tell what was going on but I still found it fascinating. Both of these places were composed of large archways with artwork.
The famous Jama Masjid in all of it's glory. (Above)
The popular and stunning Taj Mahal during my trip to India.
The next day, I hopped on a flight to Jerusalem to see the famous Wailing Wall. The Jewish people believe that God exists, is eternal and is one and unique. There are always a lot of people leaning against the famous wall praying. Some Bar Mitzvahs are held here and people leave prayer notes in the cracks of the wall. This is the supposed closest spot to Solomon's original temple. This is one of the most holy places for the Jewish people.
A man is praying at the Wailing Wall. (Above)
After visiting the Wailing Wall, I made the short trip over to the Temple Mount. The actual First Temple held the Ten Commandments. Under this sacred temple is the Foundation which is the point where the Earth was first created. This temple was very elegant with it's artwork and tall main dome.
I took this from a building just a few streets down because I wanted the best view possible. And boy did I get it. (Above)
For my third major religion visit I went to Sri Lanka to see some famous Buddhist attractions. The first one a visited was Sri Maha Bodhi. This fig tree is supposedly the sapling of the tree that Buddha had originally obtained enlightenment from. The holy tree is protected by railings and is elevated. There is a lot of beautiful scenery around the tree that really complements it. It is from this tree that Buddha started his journey.
The holy fig tree that is important to the Buddhist religion.
After that, I toured the dwelling place for monks known as Lovamahapaya. This structure was built around 200 years ago. I learned about a few of the Four Noble Truths such as dukhka, trishna and nirvana. Buddhist have a much different outlook on life than other religions such as Christianity.
Lovamayapaya used to have a total of nine stories but have critical damage done to it. (Above)
I then returned to India to view some of Hinduism's most sacred sites. In the holy town of Mathura I visited Sri Krishma Janma Boohi which is a place that is said to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna, one of the many Hindu dieties. It was here that I would learn the most about the different Hindu dieties. From Vishnu to Rama, I got to read all about them. After the amazing experience of Sri Krishma Janma Boohi, I took a trip to Gangotri. This is said to be the place Ganga came down to after Lord Shiva released the waters from his hair into the Ganges River. Since the Ganges River is the most holy river for the Hindus this has great significance. The landscape and city around the river are extremely beautiful. One of the best sites I had seen on my trip.
The Gangotri temple in all of it's glory. (Above) The Sri Krishna Janma Boohi temple looking even bigger than I remember it to be. (Below)
Finally, for the religion I am apart of and the one I know most about. For Christianity, since I am Catholic, I had to go see the beautiful Vatican City I have heard so much about. It had enough statues and marble to satisfy me for the rest of my life. I toured St. Peter's Basilica, Square and Tomb, the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. There I found some of the most elegant artwork fit for a king. Everything was designed to perfection.
A hall full of elegant and stunning artwork. (Above)
The last place I visited was my own church. This time I visited with the mindset of someone trying to observe everything they could at one time. By doing that I could really see that beauty behind the building that I see fairly often. Little do I think about the place of worship I go to but when I do I see very gorgeous, stellar Church.
The amazing place of worship that I call mine. (Above)
Whether it would have to be during your retirement or during one summer, I highly recommend doing this sort of trip.
For any of you wondering where my regular blogs were, I was doing this. The normal should resume next Monday.