Spiritual places are often overlooked as tourist destinations, but they offer some amazing experiences. From ancient temples to stunning natural wonders, these locations provide a unique experience for everyone.
There are many spiritual places around the world, but only a few truly capture the spirit of spirituality. In this article, I'll share with you ten of my top picks. These spots will inspire you to find peace and tranquility within yourself.
1. Varanasi, India
Known as the "spiritual heart of India", Varanasi is India’s oldest city, sits right along the banks of Ganges River, and is dripping in colour. This historical city is said to be the place where Buddhism originated, and today is a pilgrimage site for people of all faiths.
This historic city is said to be where Buddhism was born, and today is a pilgrimage site where many, including Buddhists and Hindus, come to pray. Varanasi is a place where you can see bodies being cremated openly in the Ganga, and where your ideas of what constitutes life and death will be challenged, even if only by yourselves.
2. Cape Reinga, New Zealand
Cape Reinga is located on the north coast of New Zealand’s North Island. This rocky outcrop is home to one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the world: the Tasman Sea meeting the Pacific Ocean.
The area is considered sacred to the Maori people. They believe that the souls of newly deceased Maori meet here to return to the afterlife.
This enchanting landscape is teeming with life, including birds, seals, dolphins, whales, sea lions and many others. There are also numerous caves and rock formations scattered throughout the area.
As this is a sacred place the Maori ask that visitors respect it by not eating anything while there, and by keeping quiet and respectful during their time spent there.
3. Borobudur, Indonesia
Set against a backdrop of lush tropical rainforest, Borobudur stands majestically atop the ancient volcanic crater of Mount Semeru. This stunning religious monument was built over a thousand years ago, during the height of the Hindu Kingdom of Sailendra. And while it might look like a massive pile of rubble today, Borobudur It is the world's largest Buddhist temple., standing nearly 35 m tall (114 feet) covering 2,500 m².
The temple was designed to represent the world as seen from above, with each step symbolising a different realm of existence. Climbing up the steps is a spiritual journey, leading worshipers through the four planes of reality: Earth, water, fire, and air. Each plane represents a different level of awareness, with the most important being earth, where people live out their lives.
Visiting Borobudur is an important spiritual experience that will leave you feeling the unique energy of this place. There is no doubt about it: Borobudur is truly a sight to behold.
4. The Dead Sea, Israel & Jordan
The Dead Sea is located in the Middle East, just north of the Jordanian and Israeli borders. It's the lowest point on Earth at 430.5 metres "1290 feet" below sea level, making it the largest hypersaline body of water in the world.
While the Dead Sea's waters cannot sustain human life, it is believed to be one the most healing locations on Earth. Due to the high levels of sodium chloride, the mineral composition of the water is similar to our blood plasma. As such, the Dead Sea is known to help heal burns, sores, scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, and even cellulite.
Because of this unique combination of minerals and salts, people travel here from around the globe to take advantage of the Dead Sea's healing properties. Some come to relax and enjoy the scenery, others come to exercise and lose weight, and still others come to simply soak up some rays.
5. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The name "Angkor'' translates to "capital city," and it's no wonder why. This ancient city built around the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the largest spiritual compound in the world, and originally constructed as a Hindu Temple that would hold King Suriyavarmans II's remains.
Its surrounding area is a lush jungle teeming with wildlife. And though Angkor Wat itself is perhaps the most famous attraction here, there are many other sights to see, including the Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm Temples.
In time, the structure became a Buddhist temple and a Buddhist monk gathering place. One of humankind's most awesome structures, the entire complex of the Angkor Wat is dynamic and thought provoking. For years, people from different walks of life have travelled to the site to experience deep spirituality, healing and energy.
6. Bodh Gaya, India
The bodhi tree under which Buddha sat for 3 days before attaining enlightenment is one of the most important sites for Buddhists around the world.
The site is also home to a number of temples and monasteries, including the Mahabodhi Temple, built around 3rd century B.C, where the Buddha is thought to have attained nirvana.
A temple complex surrounds what is considered to be a direct relative of the original tree and falling leaves from it are highly sought after by pilgrims. They are used in religious ceremonies and are regarded as holy. Visitors to the area are expected to follow strict rules regarding the collection of leaves and flowers.
7. Stonehenge, United Kingdom
Stonehenge is one of the most famous archaeological wonders of the world. This ancient structure, erected at the end of the stone age, is located near Amesbury, Wiltshire, England. It consists of large monolithic rocks, weighing about 25 tons each, arranged in a circular formation around a central axis.
Because the stones - which weigh approximately 25 tons each - are thought to have been brought from some 30 km away, archaeologists have puzzled for years over the question of how they were moved here, and why. For example, there are several other burial mounds nearby, which add weight to the theory that Stonehenge was built as a cemetery.
Some people believe that Stonehenge is a powerful place, which radiates energy and has healing properties, while others see it as a religious symbol representing the union of heaven and earth. Still, others think that it could have been used as a meeting place where different tribes met.
8. Macchu Picchu, Peru
The ruins of this Incan empire are located high above sea level, making it one of the most difficult archaeological sites to reach. this ancient Incan civilisation remain undiscovered for around 400years.
As well as being a wonder of engineering, with stones carefully shaped to fit together without mortar, the complex contains numerous shrines, temples and carved images, many of which are clearly oriented towards astronomical phenomena such as eclipses.
9. Temple Circuit, Japan
The Temple Circuit in Japan is one of the most popular pilgrimages in the world. This 1,200 kilometre loop around the Japanese island Shikoku includes 88 officially designated temples, where visitors are encouraged to walk around and pray at each temple.
While originally a Buddhist endeavour, nowadays the pilgrimage is done for religious reasons, spiritual purposes, and tourism reasons alike; roughly 10,000 people visit the circuit annually, either by tour bus, or on foot.
10. Sanctuary of Apollo, Greece
The Sanctuary of Apollo was built in the 6th century B.C at Delphi, Greece. This sanctuary was dedicated to the god Apollo, who was believed to be the protector of Pythia, the priestess of Apollo.
Apollo was considered the most important deity among the Greeks. He had many titles including: God of Prophecy, Healer, Physician, Muses, Lord of Animals, Sun, Light, Music, Poet, Sower, and Thunderer.
Today, the sanctuary remains one of the most important religious sites in Europe. It attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. Here you'll find a stunning array of temples, statues, fountains, and ruins.