Visiting places of spiritual significance can be a tonic for the soul and increase your appreciation of ancient cultures, customs and religions. People have visit sacred sites for healing, inspiration and guidance for thousands of years, and some believe that they can deliver messages from unseen realms and illuminate ancient mysteries. Visits to sites such as England's Stonehenge, Lourdes in France, India's Taj Mahal and Mount Kailish in Tibet prove interesting and educational.
Stonehenge, situated in Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, is the oldest Neolithic site in the world containing specific solar and lunar alignments. This mysterious alignment of stone monuments was built over four phases between 3200 BC and 1600 BC. Stonehenge is believe to be an energy portal, or a place of power, because it is at the center of a network of ley lines, straight, often geometric, and invisible alignments interspersing ancient landscapes. Mystics believe that ley lines unleash potent earth energies that aid in spiritual understanding and renewal. Over its 5,000-year history, Stonehenge has been used as a temple, burial ground and center for ritual magic.
Lourdes, situated in the Pyrenees mountain region of France, is celebrated for its world-famous Grotto of Massabielle, which houses an underground spring with waters believed to have potent healing powers. Lourdes became a Catholic shrine when a young peasant girl reported seeing visions of the Virgin Mary there in 1858. In one vision, the girl was apparently told that the water flowing from the spring had miraculous healing powers. Lourdes is visited by 5 million people annually, with many drinking the waters from the spring because they seek physical or spiritual healing.
The Taj Mahal
India's Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a monument to his wife after she died during childbirth in 1631. Work on this celebrated mausoleum, set in a complex of gardens, mosques and canals and constructed entirely from white marble, started in 1631 and continued for 12 years. The Taj Mahal is a symbol of eternal love, faith and vision transcending the boundaries of time and space, and of India itself, reflecting its intense spirituality. The writer Rudyard Kipling described the Taj Mahal as "the embodiment of all things holy, all things pure, and all things unhappy."
Mount Kailish in the western part of Tibet is the world's oldest known pilgrimage site, having been a holy travel destination for 15,000 years. Mount Kailash has sacred significance for Hindu, Buddhist and Janism religions. Hindus believe that the mountain is the throne of the mythical Lord Shivas, who stands between the human and divine, while Buddhists believe it to be the fortress of Chakrasamvara, a deity who is the supreme embodiment of compassion and wisdom. Buddhists say that you can erase the sins of one lifetime through ritual circling of Mount Kailish.
- Lourdes: Brief History of Lourdes
- PS-Magazine.com; Sacred Stonehenge: A Spiritual Tour; Sahar Huneidi
- Discovery Education: Taj Mahal Heaven on Earth
- Taj Mahal: History of Taj Mahal
- National Association for Scientific and Cultural Appreciation: The Mystery of Ley Lines
- Kailishzone Charitable Foundation: The Sacred Mount Kailash of Western Tibet
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images