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Spiritual Journey: Uncovering Asia’s Places of Religion & Culture

Embark on your spiritual journey by uncovering Asia's places of religion & culture


Posted on 08 May 2019



In every corners of the world, in every country; different religion, culture and tradition are practised, and each and one if it comes with its own meaning, beauty and uniqueness. In the end, the beliefs that we put our faith in allow us to achieve our desire to reach self-actualization, or in other words self-fulfilment.

Have you ever wonder what it’s like to go on a journey to discover all the places in the world that symbolizes nothing but faith, peace and freedom? A spiritual journey is not only a journey of discovering the parts of the world you never see, but it is also a journey of self-discovery as your perspective on life will change and deepen. Whether it is the start of the year, beginning or end, embarking on a spiritual journey knows no time. So, take on this challenge of a spiritual journey as we uncover for you the different places in Asia that are known for their religion and culture.

 

SULTAN OMAR ALI SAIFUDDIN MOSQUE, BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, BRUNEI

 

Photo by: tripadvisor.com

Named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei, this mosque sits magnificently in the heart of the capital city of Brunei. It was built in 1958, whereby the interior is made lavish with walls and floors from the finest Italian marble. From afar, the mosque appears to look floating as it is set on an artificial lagoon and its gold dome can be seen gleaming from afar as it is made from real mosaic gold. With lush greens and floral surrounding the mosque, and luxurious architecture, the mosque has become one of the most beautiful mosques in Southeast Asia. It is designed for Muslims to perform their prayers but is open for non-muslim visitors to visit as long as they adhere to the dress code. A visit to Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque will mesmerize you with all the beautiful designs and even give you a glimpse of the Muslim populations in Brunei, in which this mosque act as a symbol of it.  

 

BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE, BHAKTAPUR,  NEPAL

 

Photo by: aniblon.wordpress.com

 

Nepal is a country with a majority of their population practising Hinduism. It is home to 33 million gods and goddesses of Hinduism. One of the places in Nepal where most temples can be found is at Bhaktapur, the third of the Royal Cities in Nepal. Although in 2015 it faces an earthquake that causes terrible loses and demolitions, the city is still known to be rich in architecture and temple of Hindus.

There are still numerous temples that can be seen in Bhaktapur, mainly in Bhaktapur Durbar Square where exquisite architectures and carvings of temples can be spotted. A walk down Bhaktapur Durbar Square will also meet you with historical monuments that symbolize culture and tradition of Nepal. Visitors take pleasure shopping the locals’ handcrafted goods that can be found in the city’s alleys such as pottery, puppets, masks and cultural handicrafts.

 

GOLDEN CITY TEMPLE (WAT XIENG THONG), LUANG PRABANG, LAOS

 

Photo by: pixabay.com

Luang Prabang is a small gem in Laos where Buddhism is practised peacefully. Listed under UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries around Luang Prabang such as the Golden City Temple (Wat Xieng Thong). It is one of the largest temples in Luang Prabang which left great historic importance as its structure dated back to the 16th century. Take a walk around the temple and you will find yourself looking at the intricate mosaic patterns and wall carvings of the temple. The rare Buddhist deities and a 12-metre-tall funeral carriage that can be found at the temple will also open your eyes in amazement.  

 

GREAT MOSQUE OF XI’AN, CHINA

 

Photo by: muslimvillage.com

Xi’an is known to be the birthplace of Chinese civilization and the majority of Chinese are Buddhist with Islam as the minority religion that is practised in Xi’an. The practice of Islam can be seen with the existence of the ancient Great Mosque of Xi’an that dates back to the Tang Dynasty. The interiors of the mosque is decorated with engraved calligraphy and floral patterns which makes it a beautiful mosque where Chinese Muslims come to do their prayers peacefully. What is unique about this mosque is that the structure is a fusion of both Buddhism and Islam as you can find icons of living objects, sculpted dragons and birds adorn the scaffold among stone arches and towers etched with verses of the Quran. A visit to this mosque will give you an insight of ancient culture in China.

 

FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE, KYOTO, JAPAN

 

Photo by: commons.wikimedia.org

Kyoto is a destination of centuries-old history in Japan that is well known for many religious sites. It offers multiple sacred shrines to be visited such as Fushimi Inari Shrine which is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. Fushimi Inari Shrine is famously known for its thousands of vermilion torii gates which creates a network of trails behind its main buildings. Following the trails will lead you into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari that is 233 meters tall. When visiting the shrine, try to uncover the ancient beliefs of Inari in which one of it is foxes are thought to be Inari’s messengers that result to many fox statues can be found across the shrine grounds. Green sceneries from the mount and sacred shrines are what a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine will reward you with.

 

BOROBUDUR, JAVA,  INDONESIA

 

Photo by: ktwop.com

Restored by UNESCO World Heritage Site, Borobudur is a famous Buddhist temple located in central Java. Its origin dated back from 8th to 9th centuries, and the structure of the temple is built in three tiers:  a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The temple carries an outstanding universal value as it is the largest Buddhist temple monuments in the world. Discover the majestic temple through its maze of tiers and witness the complex carvings on the walls. Standing at the top of the temple will give you a sense of peace especially if you manage to catch the sunrise there.  

If you’re still wondering which religious sites that you should start your spiritual journey with, just follow the trails of places that we have shared and set to begin your journey. Every religious site in the world will offer you a sense of peace and serenity, and when accompanied with the understanding of the history and faith, it will certainly widen your perspective on life.



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