There are many articles that tell you to travel the world before you’re a certain age or advise where to honeymoon if you can’t decide what kind of weather is up your alley, but how often do you hear about places that will provide you with a true sense of peace and culture? Today, lose yourself in the fantasy of the most spiritual destinations on the planet.
Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe Chapel, France
While smaller than some of the other sacred spots that are on this list, this destination is easily one of the most stunning. The chapel, built in 962 and ‘renovated’ to be significantly larger many years later, is located on the basalt rock of a volcanic formation that soars 280 feet into the sky. In order to see the inside of this beautiful building, you must journey up nearly 300 wide stone steps, which lead you to the sanctuary decorated in frescos from a time long past.
Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt
If you ever head to Egypt, you have to stop by this feat of artistry. The temples include The Great Temple and The Small Temple, both cut into a rock cliff along the Nile River. The construction took approximately 20 years by modern estimates and features massive 65-foot depictions of Ramesses II, for starters. While the original setup must have been miraculous, the temples were moved in a recent past and set up on a man-made mountain so that a dam could be built without flooding the masterpieces. Luckily, you can still see the 3,000-year-old carvings thanks to this impressive relocation.
For more information, check out Ancient or The Huffington Post.
Mount Kailash, Tibet
This is another location with some significance in Buddhist culture. It is the tallest mountain in its range of the Himalayas, and is known for its distinctly black coloring and pointed peak. It’s also significant to the Hindus, Bon devotees, and Jains and is considered powerful enough to dissolve the sins of Buddhists with just one hike around it. That hike, though, is no easy feat. It takes several days to do it once, with 10 circles and 100 circles standing for additional levels of humbling, like avoiding eternal damnation.
Crater Lake, Oregon
This lake happens to be the deepest lake in the USA, reaching 1,943 feet into the Earth. It is known for its remarkably blue freshwater and the majestic volcanic cliffs that surround it. Thanks to the buildings on-site meant to provide you with tips and tricks to enjoy the space, you’ll easily find any information you need to hike, camp, boat, and snowshoe. Be respectful of the land, though, because this location is one that the Klamath tribe praises as an important spiritual hotspot.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
This tick on the list can be found just four miles from Siem Reap and is thought to have originally been a symbol of respect for Vishnu, a well-known Hindu deity, though it was converted into a Buddhist monument some time after its construction. There are more than 100 temples that make up Angkor Wat across 500 acres, with the tallest tower being 699 feet tall. The tower in the middle is considered a kind of model of Meru Mountain, assumed long ago to be the center of the universe.
Cenote Sagrado, Mexico
The water at Cenote Sagrado is considered pure enough for baptism and has much significance in a long-lost Mayan past. It features what can only be described as impeccable greenery, myth-worthy lighting on the sunniest of days, and rich history in its water. Technically, it is an underground sinkhole, and the 60-foot limestone cliffs that surround the pool below will give even the bravest explorers a sense of vertigo. The destination was also once home to a human sacrifice of all ages, and human bones were found at its bottom during a particularly shocking exploration.
For more information, check out The Richest or Fox News.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
This is a particularly impressive set of rocks that can be found in the Central Australian desert, over four hours removed from any buzzing towns besides one built specifically to tailor to visitors, and dates back millions of years. With an entrance fee of just $25 for three back-to-back days, there are many things to do here, including viewing 5,000-year-old rock art, walking through the valleys, and enjoying the glowing sunrise. One thing that is not advised, however, is climbing the domes. The aboriginal people who consider this land sacred would prefer that you respect the significance of the space.
Mount Parnassus, Greece
As a place that is the root of so many mythical legends, it is no surprise that Mount Parnassus has made the list. Greek Mythology was a sort of religion of long ago that still fascinates people today, and several myths circle around this very striking limestone earth. For example, Apollo frequented it, Muses lived there, and Dionysus considered it sacred. If the legends surrounding its sloping hills don’t strike your fancy, though, consider this spot a fun destination for winter activities like skiing. You definitely won’t be disappointed by its sprawling views, at least.
For more information, check out PacSafe or Hellenic World.
Ghats of Varanasi, India
A cultural phenomenon for sure, these 84 special river entrances are a hub for bathing, cremation, astrology readings, and market sales. The water in which the ghats lead is of the Ganges River thought to have holy abilities to wash away the sins of the pilgrims who visit it. Lining the ghats, opposite the river, are many temples that hold heavy meaning for the Hindu religion. Some particularly notable ghats are the Assi, the Dasaswamedh, the Panchkoat, and the Tulsi.
Mount Sinai, Egypt
While the landscape at this destination is truly breathtaking, the peak itself is mostly sought-after for its root in many religions. Specifically, this is where Moses was given the Ten Commandments, or so the stories describe. In reality, there is no specific literature that states this is the spot where it all happened, but researchers have come to agree that this particular peak on the Sinai Peninsula is of great importance for that very reason.