Religions Around the World Travel Blog: The Main Five

The Ganges River (left) is a sacred site where Hindus bathe in and wash away their sins. The Chamundeshwari Temple (right) is also a holy building where many Hindus make a pilgrimage to.

Day 1: While I visited Mysuru, Karnataka, India, I found myself looking at the Chamundeshwari Temple. It's located above the Chamundi Hills. This architecture was built around the 12th century and pilgrims who come visit strongly believe that the Goddess will fulfill their needs. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess, Chamundi. It is seven stories high covered in unique carvings. The gates are made from silver and there is a sixteen foot statue of the demon, Mahishasura (the demon the Goddess killed there). And of course, the major attraction of the temple is of the idol of the Chamunda Devi- made of pure gold. The Ganges River is another sacred site for the Hinduism religion where people bathe or swim in it to wash away their sins. This is because they believe it comes from the hair of Siva (one of their main gods). The river flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh.

The district of Bodh Gaya(left) is a sacred site for Buddhists and in it is the Mahabodhi Temple(right).

Day 2: I then visited Bodh Gaya which is a religious, sacred site associated with the Mahabodhi Temple where many Buddhists believe is a place of enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is in the Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. A long time ago, Buddhists believed that the Buddha-to-be, Gautama, sat under a tree and began receiving powers of wisdom and when the evil Lord of illusions, Mara, started noticing how powerful Gautama was, he sent his army of demons to fight him off but Gautama managed to win the battle with enlightenment. The temple of Mahabodhi was built where this "enlightenment" took place. It is a brick building shaped like a pyramid that ends with a small square platform. Te brick-like images on the outside of the temple represent scenes from the Buddha's life. There is also an image of the Buddha inside made from black stone, however, it was painted gold and dressed in an orange robe. Finally, there was a courtyard where people can visit the site where Buddha sat and attained "enlightenment". It was all very beautiful.

The Great Mosque is a sacred place for prayer for all Muslims that includes the most valuable object in the Islam religion- the al-Ka'ba (cube-like structure in left picture).

Day 3: The third day consisted of a trip to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It's a sacred site for all Muslims because it is the birthplace of Muhammad- their God. In this city, stands the holiest object in the Islamic landscape at the center of the Great Mosque- al-Ka'ba. It's a cube-like structure garbed in silk. All Muslims face this object while praying; in fact, everyone must make a trip to this mosque at least once in their lifetime, according to the 5 Pillars of Islam. The Great Mosque has a rectangular central courtyard surrounded by other areas for prayer and long rooms supported by columns . It also consist of a tower called the Minaret- one of the most visible aspects attached to the mosque used to announce the call for prayer.

(Top left) Overview of the Temple Mount; (Top right) Blueprint of the Temple Mount; (bottom) The Dome of the Rock.

Day 4: The next sacred site I visited was the city of Jerusalem, Israel. This is the holiest place and spiritual center in the Judaism religion. Many important events took place here as mentioned in Jewish text- the Torah as well as in Christian text, the Bible. The Temple Mount is one of the most important architectures in Judaism as well. It is also located in Jerusalem and is a large trapezoid-shaped platform surrounded by four walls. It is highly elevated and contains a huge courtyard. There are several gates on each wall- some where you are allowed to enter and others (like the Golden Gate) where it's preserved. However, some traditional Jews believe it should be rebuilt when the Messiah (God) comes, but modern Jews believe it shouldn't. This site also includes The Dome of the Rock which is a Muslim shrine for visitors (gold-dome usually featured in many Jerusalem pictures).

The St. Peter's Basilica(left) is a very popular tourist attraction, as well as the entire Vatican City (right). The marble sculpture (middle) is one of Michelangelo's famous artworks- Pietà.

Day 5: As I traveled through Israel, I came across the River Jordan. It is a sacred site for Christians as it was where Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. It is the border between Israel and Jordan and flows well below the sea level. Soon after traveling to the River Jordan, I went on a journey to Vatican City, Italy to visit St. Peter's Basilica. This is a very important architecture for all Christians; it's the site where Christians believe was the burial site of St. Peter (the first pope), one of Christ's Apostles. It's designed as a three-aisle Latin cross dome right above the high altar. The three-aisles are separated by pillars and the interior is decorated with many artworks including some made by Michelangelo. This site was truly magnificent and very the designs were elegant.

Created By
Pamela Paz

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