Throughout history, cultures all over the world have attached religious significance to certain natural spots, believing that they are where the spiritual world meets the physical world. Whether or not this is true, there is no denying that many feel a sense of peace and clarity when entering one of these religious sites, and, even if religion isn’t for you, the breathtaking architecture and centuries of complex history still makes these sites worth a visit. OROGOLD brings you the most inspiring religious sites around the world.
Batu Caves, Malaysia
Located to the north of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, the Batu Caves are a labyrinth of huge limestone caves that are filled with ornate Hindu shrines, the most renowned outside of India. Dedicated to Lord Murugan, it is said that the entrance to the caves is around 400 million years old, with many of the entrances previously used as shelter by the indigenous Temuan people. 272 steps take visitors up to the caves, with a large 42 meter statue of Lord Murugan there to welcome them in, as well as plenty of monkeys waiting to grab the bananas and peanuts that you can buy from vendors at the bottom of the steps.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan
Perched 3000 feet above the Paro Valley in Bhutan, hugging the side of a steep, rocky cliff, is the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, said to have been built in the late 1600s. There are several different ways to access the monastery, but the most popular one is by foot, as the views as you ascend are unrivaled. To get there on foot, visitors must climb for about two hours, after which they cross over a 200-foot waterfall for one last flight of rocky steps. With the whole area wrapped in prayer flags, you get the feeling of being in a holy place long before reaching the monastery. Believed to be the birthplace of Buddhism, where the founders meditated for three months, it is the most sacred monastery in the country, and it is not uncommon for many visitors to have a spiritual experience while there.
Great Synagogue, Budapest
Built in 1859, the Great Synagogue in Budapest is the largest synagogue in the world outside of New York City, and features a range of architectural influences, from Gothic to Romantic to Moorish. Visitors can only explore the synagogue via a guided tour, but, once inside, you will be absolutely blown away by the ornate interior, decorated with spectacular artwork. The Hungarian Jewish Museum is inside the synagogue, and the Holocaust Memorial Room, as well as the Holocaust Memorial situated over the mass graves to the north of the synagogue, pay tribute to those who suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
All of these sacred sites are open to visitors, but OROGOLD must remind you to dress modestly, respecting that this is where locals and tourists alike come for religious solace. Whether or not you are a religious person, these sites all exude a powerful spiritual aura that you can’t help but notice and be inspired by.