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Insurance Article

6 Holy Land Tours for Pilgrimage Tourism

October 13 2015
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Spiritual tourism is quickly catching on in today's fast-paced world, where people go on holidays for reasons beyond leisure. This quest for spirituality beyond borders forges cross-cultural ties, which can lead to progressive and holistic growth of humanity. If you are drawn towards spiritualism to quench your thirst for self-awareness or merely to improve the quality of your life, check out the top destinations that can heal your soul.

1.88 Temple Circuit, Shikoku Island, Japan

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A panorama of beautiful shrines spread across 1,500 km encompasses the Shikoku Island regions. By travelling the full circuit, which takes 30-60 days, it is believed that you can liberate your soul from the 88 vices listed in the Buddhist dogma. The tradition dates back 1000 years followed by achievement of a famous monk known as “Kukai” who founded Shingon Buddhism at Mount Koya.

Tokushima is the starting point of the pilgrimage comprising of the first set of 23 temples. Nowadays, bus tours are available to complete the full circuit. Some say walking the circuit in reverse order will bring good luck. The trail offers exquisite natural landscapes and a perfect opportunity for a spiritual retreat.

2.Camino De Santiago, Spain

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An important Christian pilgrimage, Camino De Santiago is a World Heritage Site and is popularly known as St. James Trail or St. James Way. It is believed to be the burial ground of St. James, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. There are different routes to this trail and the most famous one, which begins in rural areas of France and ends in Spain, is about 798 km. Anybody who wants to do this pilgrimage has to obtain a passport called credencial which gets stamped every time the person stops in a city. Though everyone is free to choose the number of kilometers they want to walk but the last 111 km is the minimum a pilgrim must travel to get stamped for the fulfilment of Camino.

3. Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, Israel

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Jerusalem in Israel is one of the most pious places in the world, where Islam, Christianity and Judaism have their roots. The oldest Islamic monument, the golden Dome of the Rock, is situated in Temple Mount, in the Old City. It is considered the 'Foundation Stone' by the followers of these three faiths. The Dome is built on a sacred stone which is believed to be the place where Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during his Night journey. The dome was originally made of gold which was replaced by copper and later by aluminium.

4.Mecca, Saudi Arabia

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The most mandated pilgrimage of the Islamic faith is the Hajj at Mecca. It was the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad who is the founder of Islam. Prophet declared Mecca the first city of Islam and the Kaaba cuboid is the hub of Islam. When pilgrims come in the radius of 10 km around, it is believed that he/she enters a state of holiness known as Ihram. Mecca Pilgrims go around the Kaaba seven times counter-clockwise. After the visit, the pilgrim travels neighboring spiritual places including Mina, Muzdalifah, Arafat and the Mount of Mercy before finally coming to Kaaba on the final day. Men can add the title al-hajji and females can add hajjiyah to their names after successful completion of the Mecca visit.

5.Machu Pichu Citadel, Peru, Brazil

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Machu Pichu, built in 1450 by the Incas, is the best known archaeological site in the South American continent. The intricate stone walls and the adjoining peaks make it a sight to behold! A World Heritage Site, the cathedral was constructed based on the astronomical theme of the Incas. Many people who visit the Inca city have reflective escapades in the spiritual aura of the place.

6.Sanctuaries of Our Lady of Lourdes, France

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain is the area surrounding the Catholic shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France. Lourdes lies at the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in southwest Europe. It is the second most important tourist spot in France after Paris. Lourdes is one of the most important sites of international Catholic pilgrimage claiming to attract about 6 million tourists a year who look for spiritual enlightenment. People queue up for hours to take a dip in the icy cold bath in the Grotte de Massabielle.

When you travel to such spiritual places, you transcend, transform and transmit holy vibes. While you plan to explore the world of spirituality, do remember to buy a travel insurance policy to add the element of peace!

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