This wonderful world is filled with countless places to see and things to do. Amongst this, it is home to many different cultures. Open your world to different traditions, cultures and customs in search of your spiritual significance. Now is the best time to undertake your spiritual journey. You’ll quickly reap the benefits of finding inner peace, a deeper knowledge of yourself and the world around you. The following eight places are amongst the most spiritual destinations in the world.
This is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, located in Central Java. Borobudur features over 2000 relief panels and 500 Buddha statues. You can go on a pilgrimage journey, and symbolically enact the act of worship, by hiring a guide. This is also a great way to learn about the spiritual history of the temple. Symbolically, ascend your way to the top of three tiers. Start at Kāmadhātu, known as the world of desire- represented by the pyramidal base. Move into Rupadhatu, the world of forms, symbolised by the circular platforms above the base of the shrine. Reach the peak of your spiritual journey at Arupadhatu, which is the world of formlessness. Visit during the full moon in May or June to observe Vesak, to celebrate when Gautama Buddha became the Buddha Shakyamuni.
Bodh Gaya, India
Bodh Gaya is located in Bihar, east India. This religious site is a pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Buddhists. The significance of Mahabodhi Temple is the Bodhi tree. This is where Gautama Buddha obtained enlightenment. Visit at 5:30 am for meditation then make your way to the Archaeological Museum. If you have time, there are also philosophy, meditation and Buddhism courses available at some monasteries, further enlightening your spiritual journey.
Kyoto in the Kansai region of Japan is one of the most spiritual locations in the world. It is home to over 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines. With so many temples and shrines. It can be hard to choose just one.
Most popular is the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), appropriately named as the temple is completely covered in gold leaf. With peaceful Japanese gardens and a beautiful view over Kyoto, the Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji) is equally a must-see on your spiritual travels. Ryōan-ji, known for its famous rock garden, is a wondrous zen temple from the Rinzai branch of Zen Buddhism. The Kiyomizu-dera pure water temple provides a different, yet still peaceful, experience. A UNESCO world heritage site, the temple places focus on relationships and love. You can’t miss drinking from the Otowa waterfall. With three different streams, each is said to represent either love, success and longevity. However, you can only drink from one. So choose wisely!
Macchu Picchu, Peru
Macchu Picchu is an incredibly popular tourist destination in the Cusco region. The Incan Citadel is very well preserved and sits over 2000m above sea level. It is believed to be built for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. The Inca Trail is not for the faint-hearted. At 82 km to Macchu Picchu, this will take four days minimum to complete. Essential to your spiritual pilgrimage is the ritualistic stone, Intihuatana, located at the peak of Macchu Picchu. Along your way up the Inca Trail, you can’t miss the Temple of the Sun, best viewed during the summer solstice at sunrise.
Assisi is a great destination for a Catholic pilgrimage. This town in the Umbria region of central Italy is the birthplace of seven Catholic Saints. You don’t want to miss the Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, the Basilica of Santa Chiara and the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Located in Siem Reap, Angkor Wat was originally built as a Hindu Temple to celebrate the God Vishnu. It is now regarded as a Buddhist temple and a sister to Borobudur. The temple was built by Khmer King Suryavarman II as his temple and mausoleum. The complex is surrounded by a moat and outer wall. Start by admiring three rectangular galleries then make your way to the series of five towers in the centre of the temple.
Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka
Central Sri Lanka is home to Adam’s Peak. This is a holy site for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike. You’ll find the Sacred Footprint rock formation at the base of the mountain. It will take 2-4 hours to reach the summit. Scale the mountain from December to May, when heavy rain will not hinder the climb. Bear in mind April is the pilgrimage season, so it will be very busy.
Sandunovksi Baths, Moscow
The Sandunovski Baths are breath-taking. The bathhouses are lined with white columns, gold crown moulding and historic flair. Find them in the heart of Moscow. As well as the eight bathhouses, you’ll find steam rooms, a Jacuzzi, beauty salons and a spa centre. This is the perfect place to relax and find your inner peace. You can book a tour to learn about the baths’ history and traditions.
About the Author
Auckland-based writer Harper Reid has a strong passion for writing and travelling, and often reflects on how these have changed her life tremendously. She has produced content for numerous blogs and sites, including Tairawhiti Gisborne. Check out more of her work on Tumblr.