Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is of tremendous theological importance to three of the world’s greatest religions-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-and has subsequently gone through a war-torn history, with both Israel and Palestine declaring it their capital.
King David founded Jerusalem as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel according to the Old Testament, and the first temple was built by King Solomon, his uncle. The New Testament made the place of Jesus’ crucifixion for the city, and according to the Quran, Muhammad made his night journey to Jerusalem, where he ascended to Heaven and spoke to God.
Kashi Vishwanath is one of the most famous Hindu temples on the western bank of the holy Ganges River. It is the shrine of Jyotirlinga, dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is believed to have appeared here as a pillar of fiery fire. We expect the Hindus to make a pilgrimage there at least once in their lifetime.
Lourdes is a small market town in the south-west of the Midi-Pyrenees region of France. It became popular among Catholics in 1858, when the local 14-year-old girl, Bernadette Soubirous, is believed to have appeared 18 times to the Virgin Mary. Since then, Lourdes has been a place of pilgrimage with more than 200 million visitors since 1860, many of whom hope to be healed by spring water from the grotto.
The original Mahabodhi temple, was completed in the 7th century in Bodh Gaya, Bihar to commemorate the site of the ‘Supreme Enlightenment’ of Prince Siddhartha Gautama and the moment he became the Buddha. It is the holiest place of pilgrimage for Buddhists in the world.
Mecca is the centre of the Islamic world, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the faith he founded. Located on the Sirat Mountains of Saudi Arabia and 45 miles from the coast inland, Mecca is an oasis in the holy region known as the Hijaz or Hejaz. The Kaaba is here, a cuboid building inside Al-Masjid al-Haram, Islam’s most holy mosque, which all Muslims must face when praying. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city.
More than a few broad red rocks, Kata Tjuta, Uluru and are millions of years old in the Central Australian desert and have been home to the natives of Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara for tens of thousands of years. They believe that the land was created by the ancestors of life, who left marks in the earth and the divine rule to guide their lives and relationships between humans, animals and the world.
Many consider Mount Sinai or Mount Horeb in Egypt once again of great importance to the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions as the location where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. For thousands of years, saints, prophets, tourists, and visitors have come here.