A Journey Along The Holy Land -Pilgrimage To Jerusalem
Visit To Kanan - The Land that Moses promised
Kanan province can be viewed from the top of Mount Nebo; the land that Moses promised to the sons of Israel after releasing them from Egyptian slavery. The infinite fertile land lies before our eyes, luring us like no other. This areal view of Kanan from the top of Mount Nebo is the first visual of our pilgrimage through the holy land.
We traveled along Mount Nebo during the day time and stayed at Jordan’s capital Amman in the night. We have to cross the Jordan border early in the morning to reach Israel. Town of Jericho awaits us beyond the border—the way that Jesus Christ chose to reach Jerusalem.
The sycamore tree is still there; the tree which the rich Zacchaeus climbed upon to see Christ because he was not high enough to watch Christ from among the crowd. The tree stands there as if it has triumphantly fought time and wind—welcoming pilgrims to the age- old paths of belief.
Then we went to the mountain of temptation; where Satan tested Christ’s fidelity. Then to the Qumran caves from where the manuscripts of the Old Testament were excavated. It is said that the manuscripts, written on leather, were kept in rolls inside clay pots. Qumran is on the western coast of the Red Sea.
This is river Jordan. We took a dip in the holy river where Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist. The tidy shores had plenty of olive trees on them.
Places To visit In HoliLand
Now we are heading towards the church of Cana. Jesus showcased his miraculous powers for the first time at a marriage here. Pilgrims can perform offerings to the God, here. Couples can renew their marriage pact here. The stone pot in which Christ transformed water into wine at the marriage, the spot where the marriage reception took place, the store- room—one can roam around and watch all these. Wine will be served to everyone. Wine can be bought from the store in front of the church. We can taste it before actual purchase.
The space where Gabriel angel informed Virgin Mary about the good news! This is the good news church. Around 20 idols of Virgin Mary made at 20 nations, are here. All the 20 are in different apparels. The Thailand Virgin Mary wearing anklet bells attracts everyone’s attention. Joseph’s workshop and church are so close by. Everything right from St. Joseph’s birth to marriage to death are being inscribed here.
Now we are heading towards the Sea of Galilee. It was here that Jesus Christ quelled the wind and tide and walked over the waters. It was here that Christ chose his disciples. This sea which is just 151 fathom deep, six miles wide and 12 miles long, leaves an impression of a lake rather than that of a sea. We have to travel along the Sea of Galilee for half an hour. No pilgrim will forget this experience.
The city of Tiberius is on the Galilee shore. Tiberius showcases a rather weird blend of modern and ancient times. Even the fish fry that we get at the restaurants there have biblical names: ‘St. Peter fish’!
When we reach Kafarnaum, the town of Jesus, so many visuals await us. The place where Jesus healed St. Peter’s mother- in- law, St. Peter’s home, the Sermon of the Mount spot, ruins of synagogues, churches where sermons are inscribed etc. are just a few among the umpteen spots that we can visit at Kafarnaum. In the memory of Christ feeding 5000 people with 5
Three days are over. This fourth day begins at a height of 1800 feet from the sea level— Mount Tabor. This is where Jesus transfigured along with Moses and Prophet Elia while his disciples were watching. At the altar of the Church of Transfiguration, there is a space where Jesus’ foot prints are still preserved.
The Mediterranean town of Haifa that lies at the extreme west of Israel is yet another visual treat. The Haifa, which is home to hanging gardens, the mighty Mediterranean and its harbor, and ancient buildings, is the capital of the Baha’is. We got to cross Haifa so as to reach God’s vineyard—Mount Carmel. The main attractions of Mount Carmel are the den where propher Elia lived in exile and Stella Mary’s church. In the journey towards Bethlehem, Haifa and Mount Carmel are very important.
We are reaching Bethlehem—Jesus’ native. The holy land— the most important episode of the pilgrimage. Bethlehem, the town and holy birth church of David, is in Palestine. This oldest church in the world preserves even its fourth century mosaic floors. The space where Jesus was born is near the main altar. There is a star sign and the inscription “Jesus was born to Virgin Mary, here”. A five feet door welcomes the travellers, at the entrance. The threshold is so low that we got to lower ourselves so as to enter; reminding one of the saying ‘let your head remain low always’. The Bedseda pond at which Jesus healed the paralyzed and the St. Anna’s church at Virgin Mary’s native are other sites that a pilgrim must see.
Now we are heading towards the way of the cross—the Sliva path through which Christ walked carrying the cross after he was convicted at Pontius Pilate’s mansion. People from across the world will always be there in this path, carrying crosses and signing hymns. This hill which is hardly 45 feet high from the ground level is the renowned Golgotha skull hill. This is the twelfth among the 14 spots in the way of cross. This is where Jesus Christ was crucified to death. We stayed there with out heads low.
Visit To Jerusalem
In the way of belief, the most crowded location is the den where the holy resurrection took place. One can get down at the holy tomb and den to pray. The Western Wall too is pretty crowded. It is against this wall that the Jews bang their head and pray. A large queue of people in Jewish attire can always be found at the Western Wall, tucking prayer notes and notes of thanks into the holes of the wall. The wall is 200 feet long and 90 feet high. You have to wear Kippah, the Jewish cap, to get in there. There is a mosque near the church of St. Lazer. The den at which Lazer was resurrected is near to this mosque.
Days passed quite quickly. Now we are in Jerusalem- a city at 750 meters from the sea level and having seven entrances. The Jews believe that the savior will come to Jerusalem through the golden gate where as the Muslims believe that Prophet Mohammed left for the heavens from here. It is here that Jesus Christ wept, contemplating the impending catastrophes that await Jerusalem. The Dominus Flevit Church exists at that space, now; a church in the shape of a tear drop.
We headed towards the Garden of Gethsemane at the north of the Olive hills. Garden of Gethsemane is the most beautiful space of the entire holy land. Jesus chose this space for prayer and respite. Here, we can find trees that are even 3000 years old!! The virtuous holy trees! They might have seen Jesus Christ! It’s from here that Jesus went to the Zehion dining hall for the last supper. It was at here that Christ asked his disciples to stay awake but they slept off. It was at here that Judas betrayed Christ with his kiss. The rock on which Christ kneeled and prayed is still preserved at the altar of the Gethsemane garden church. The Zehion mansion where the last supper took place is close by. At the top of the church there is a cross with a rooster’s sculpture on it, reminding us of the rooster that crowed when Peter who denounced Christ thrice.
Planning For Next Journey
The pilgrimage was more of a journey into the self. I photographed everything. People of different lands, languages and beliefs—but all of them had the same spiritual satisfaction on their faces: it reminds one of the manifestations of the fifth gospel.
The visuals were far way beautiful beyond what the camera could capture. The experience was even more intense. A dip in the red sea was such an experience. In the dense mineral deposit of this ocean which is 400 feet below the sea level, we floated like feathers. We stayed at Egypt too on our way back. From the hotel room, we watched pyramids as if they were mere shadows. The tombs of dead civilizations… high mansions of belief… holy fulfillment of spirituality… what is the feeble prospect of me having one more journey like this??
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