Yesterday I arrived in the city of Rome. Today is Christmas, which is the birth of Jesus and a very well known and significant holiday for the Christian religion. As soon as I arrived in Rome, I noticed all the festive decorations around the city which included Christmas lights and giant evergreen trees, all decorated with ornaments and a star to top the tree. I went to St. Peters square, which is in the Vatican, to listen to the Pope give his Christmas speech and listen to his Christmas message. The Pope also blessed everyone at the square and it was very calming and reassuring. As I was listening I could feel the joyous and welcoming spirit of all the people that also attended the speech. The message that was portrayed through the Popes speech was inspiring and gave hope to everyone that was there. As I was standing there I also noticed a very detailed and breathtaking nativity scene. A nativity scene is the scene after baby Jesus is born and all the people are gathered in awe. The nativity scene showed baby Jesus surrounded by his mother, Mary, the three wise men, all the barn animals, and Mary's husband, Joseph. It was life size and extremely well lit in the night so that your eyes go right to baby Jesus, almost impossible to ignore. Today was such a great day and I feel like I took part of such a significant part in the Christian faith.
After visiting Rome, I decided to go to Jerusalem to visit the Western Wall, which a sacred site to the Jewish faith. It is also known as the wailing wall due to the fact that some people get so caught up in prayer that they might sound like they are praying. Its the remaining wall of the second Temple when Rome was destroying the Jewish temples. This wall had gone though years of hardships and it tool a lot of will of the Jewish people to get the right to pray at this wall. And as I stood at the Western Wall, I could defiantly feel the intently of all the people around me and the significance of this wall was evident. You could feel the connection that the Jewish faith had to this temple and the people praying could feel this as well. They could feel a certain closeness to their religion that maybe they hadn't felt before visiting the wall. It was just so moving how all these people came together though belief and faith to remember the temple that once stood there.
December 30th Today I have traveled all the out to Sarnath, India to visit Dhamekh Stupa, a scared place to the Buddhist religion. This is also known as the place where the Buddha gave his first sermon after he said to have been enlightened. This is the place that the Buddha had preached to his five disciples for the very first time. Many Buddhist travel to Dhamekh Stupa and has become one of the most visited Buddhist sacred sites. As I was visiting the Dhamekh Stupa the first thing that I noticed was the unusual structure and immediately it intrigued me. As I began to walk closer, more and more details on the building began to pop out at me and they were absolutely breath taking. All the intricate stone work on the top pf the Dhamekh Stupa was so stunning I just had to stare at it for a few minutes to take it all in. As I entered the inside I could see the gold statue of the Buddha and it was surrounded by flower and it was inpactful. And all the people there I could really tell how important this sacred site was to their faith. I enjoyed all the history here and it gave me so much insite to the Buddhist religion and their origin.
January 2nd Today I have decided to travel to Mathura to learn more about the Hindu religion. Within the Hindu religion they worship many different people and Mathura is the birth place of Krishna, who is a Hindu important Hindu diety. The main temple that Krishna is worshiped at is Keshava Deo Mandir. As I went to go visit Keshava Deo Mandir, as I walked up to the building the magnitude of it overcame me. It was so grand and really had a lot of though and details and I realized what a important part Krishna played in the Hindu faith. Especially at night when it lights up, its absolutley stunning. As I was standing there I also noticed that there were also more tourists like me visting the temple and everyone was amazed.
The last religion that I'm going to learn about is the Islamic religion. The last city that I visited was the Islamic city of Mecca. This city is the holiest city of the Islamic religion. This is the city that the Prophet Muhammad is said to have been born and the religion. Once a year, Muslims pilgrimage to Mecca as a strive to achieve enlightenment. All the Muslims gather around a black stone to offer their prayers. As I was there you could feel the intensity of there prayers and how important this was to them. All around people where on their knees and moving their heads towards the focal point. They weren't worshiping the focal point, they were worshiping their god, and they only believe there is one god. There was such a feel of unity in the air because they were all worshiping the same thing and their dreams of enlightenment were all similar. I really found it fascinating how the temple was structured and how the Muslims moved their bodies and what they wore. It was such an amazing learning experience.