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Top-7 Sacred Destinations Around the World

monk entering angkor entrance covered in roots

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If you’re looking for a deeper, more sophisticated trip to connect with your spiritual side, take a tour of the sacred places around the world! But what does it mean for a place to be sacred? Locations are named sacred for a multitude of reasons. Some places are sacred due to being a historical pilgrimage, some have healing properties, and some are considered holy. This list features the most stunning sacred places in the world.

The Mahabodhi Temple, India

the mahabodhi temple in india
The Mahabodhi Temple, India

The original Mahabodhi temple was established in the 7th century. It was built in memory of Prince Siddhartha Gautama when he became the Buddha. You can find this temple in Bihar, Bodh Gaya. Currently, this remains one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia

view of the uluru kata tjuta national park in australia
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia

Uluru and Kata Tjuta are big red rocks found in the central Australian desert. In fact, these rocks are millions of years old. For thousands of years, this place was home to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara. These people believed that the ancestors who created the universe left marks on Earth. The ancestors also established spiritual beliefs that would regulate the relationship between people, animals, and the land. In addition, their beliefs guide them in their daily lives.

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, India

the kashi vishwanath temple viewed from river
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, India

Kashi Vishwanath is among the most famous Hindu temples. It stands on the banks of the holy river Ganges. It was commissioned to honor Lord Shiva, who people believed to appear there as a column of light. This is why they often refer to it as the ‘Jyotirlinga shrine’. The Hindus have a tradition of performing a pilgrimage to this sacred place once in their lifetime.

Angkor, Cambodia

angkor temple in cambodia monk entering temple under huge tree roots
Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor is an ancient city established as the capital of Yasodharapura, also known as the Khmer Empire. It stands proudly in the Southern part of the Kulen hills, close to Siem city. Every year, up to two million tourists from around the world come to visit this place.  Several religious occasions contributed to the historical development of Angkor. For instance, there were Shaivism and religious cults that worshipped both the lingam and ancestors. In addition to being famous for architecture and religious purposes, Angkor served the Khmer people as a site of vast cities in the region at the time.

The Borobudur Temple, India

aerial view of the borobudur temple in india
The Borobudur Temple, India

The Borobudur Temple has existed since the 9th century. The temple is in the Kedu Plain, India. It was built during the reign of Sailendra, using a design that resembled Javanese Buddhist Architecture. Borobudur Temple signifies the Gupta art that shows how Indians influenced the region. It’s proven that after Borobudur was initially established, it was later abandoned in the 14th century. Following the fall of Indian Kingdoms in the Javanese, the temple was no longer active as most Indians converted to Islam. 

Bodhgaya, India

group of buddhist monks walking in front of huge buddha statue bodhgaya region
Bodhgaya, India

Bodhgaya is a small region in Bihar state of North India. The place is strategically located along River Phalgu. This region contains one of the holiest sites for Buddhists. Ashoka, who was an emperor in the 3rd century, constructed a shrine. Sometime later, it closed for a considerable stone railing. It was then replaced by Kushan, followed by the Mahabodhi temple, which is currently still there. The temple’s tower is about 54 meters high, an incredible feat by the standards of the time. A museum contains a variety of Buddhist relics, which is another factor that attracts many people to this sacred place.

Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

antique polonnaruwa temple sri lanka
Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa is the capital city of the Polonnaruwa District in Sri Lanka. It is the 2nd oldest kingdom in Sri Lanka. Initially, the town was established by the Chola Dynasty in the 10th century as its capital. Recently, this ancient city received the title of a world heritage site. Polonnaruwa is currently a project under development, known as ‘the awakening of Polonnaruwa’. This project went forward thanks to the effort made by Maithripala Sirisena, the president at that time. The city remains one of the best-organized archeological relic sites within the country.

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