12/28/16- The Dwarkadhish Temple is a very important sacred site for people who practice Hinduism. Apparently it was built for the God, Krishna, who is referred to here by Dwarkadhish, hence the temple's name. It was said that the temple was made with the Chalukya style of architecture, wide entrances, tall pillars, and lots of intricate detail. It was a pretty amazing site to see! I stayed around the temple from mid-day to after sunset, so I got to see the amazing lights that were on the temple. Everyone around me seemed so connected and happy, and it was a good feeling. It really gave me the impression that it was made to be a gorgeous, powerful place for Hindus.
1/02/17- Finally I arrived at the Badrinath Temple! It was a 34 hour drive across northern India to get here. It was horrible, but so worth seeing this temple. It was a kind of cloudy day, so The temple wasn't as glorious or shining as I had previously expected, but when the sun went down it was beautiful. There were red lights draped all over the temple, making it very radiant and colorful. The buildings down here are a lot similar to the Dwarkadhish Temple because it was very detailed and lots of colors and flags on the buildings, probably because this type of architecture was associated with Hinduism during the times they made them. The temple is a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus. Anyway, It got pretty crowded when the sunset, I guess people wanted to see the building all lit up at night because it was really cool.
1/06/17- After I left from the Badrinath temple, I went to Bodhgaya. Honestly, this place was one of my favorites. There is this giant tree, "the tree of enlightenment". It was the biggest tree I have ever seen in my life. The giant statue is the Great Buddha, who was an important teacher of the religion of Buddhism. He was said to have been enlightened at the Bodhi tree. I thought all of it was really cool, everything was large and old, so it had a feeling of wisdom to it. The architecture of all the buildings were mostly had red or orange, had sharp lines on the exterior of the buildings, and had detailed pillars. I thought these buildings looked interesting and they had vibrancy to them.
1/12/17- After leaving Bodhgaya, I came to Jerusalem to understand Islam. The Muslims are very protective to their religion, so there were so many places that were off-limits for me because I am not Muslim. There were 2 mosques that I would have liked to visit, the Prophet's Mosque and the Al-Aqsa Mosque were both places I couldn't enter, but they are very sacred sites for Muslims. The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem was this huge dome connected with a base of pillars with lots of patterns on it. I got a tour guide to take me through the building, it was the only way I was allowed to experience this piece of Islamic culture.
1/12/17- I went to the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall in the same day, because they are literally in the same area. I think it was kind of weird that both Judaism and Islam are very separated in terms of physical buildings and items, but both placed were still very interesting and I learned new things. The Western Wall is significant to Jewish people because it is the last remaining piece of the Temple Mount, which was destroyed a long time ago. This temple was a symbol of devastation and hope, and when the temple was there, the word of God was appreciated. The architecture of the Western Wall wasn't super fancy or innovative, it was just stone. This gave me the impression that it is a very old site with lots of meaning.
1/20/17- I decided to continue my journey by going to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to explore more deeply into Christianity. This church is believed to have been the place where Jesus was born. The exterior of the church was very calming and simple. It had mostly plain stone walls with a tall, steeple-like ceiling. I thought it was a very relaxing environment and that it was a sacred place for Christians.