Spirituality lacks a definitive definition, and is often correlated to the idea of attending church or a formal religious ceremony. In modern day society, spirituality has broken free from the religious connotation and is often related to ideas of personal development and well-being through various modalities. However, spirituality is often noted as an object that is “sacred” in manner. Many outdoor pursuits and enthusiasts seek or connect with nature for a “spiritual experience.” These destinations are more than an average location, they are spiritual and sacred in nature, and may have native history that contains thousands of years of history and spiritual significance.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park | Australia
Australia’s Red Center is located in the heart of, or center, of the country. Uluru, Ayers Rock, is one of the most recognized landmarks in Australia, and is an 1,100 feet high, flat-top rock that is six miles in circumference. The soulful, deep-red color sparkles various hues of orange and red as the sun flushes rays a top of the various layers of sandstone, basalt and granite rock. This rock is sacred to the Anangu people of the Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal tribe. Ceremonies and spiritual rituals still take place, and visitors will notice various spiritual paintings on the “walls” of Ayers Rock.
Varanasi | India
Varanasi, or Benares, is a holy city located on the Ganges River in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This is the most sacred out of seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism. The city and spiritual rituals have been in place for thousands of years and longer than most religions that have been in existence. It is also the oldest city in India, and this is the place where death brings salvation. It maybe overwhelming for tourists, especially the burning ghats, where bodies are cremated in the Ganges. It is one of the most spectacular sites in India’s holiest town. There is no one destination to visit in Varanasi besides exploring various temples and rituals that take place here.
Mount Kailas | Tibet
Mount Kailas, sacred to Buddhists, Jains and Hindus, is a black mountain located in western Tibet. Tantric Buddhists believe this is home to Buddha Demchog, which represents supreme bliss where as the Hindus believe it is residence to Lord Shiva. The Jains believe this is the place where the first Jain reached nirvana. This peak is also situated near Lake Manasarovar, which is another pure and spiritual pilgrimage site for Buddhist and Hindus.
Mahabodhi Tree | Bodh Gaya, India
Around 500 B.C. Prince Siddhartha wandered throughout current day state, Bihar, and took rest under a native Bodhi tree. He meditated for three nights there and arose with enlightenment and answers to questions he was seeking. He proceeded to develop teachings to spread to his disciples and today there is a temple that surrounds the original, majestic tree. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is located three miles from Gaya airport.
Crater Lake | Oregon
Crater Lake originated over eight thousand years ago from a massive eruption caused by Mount Mazama. This is the seventh deepest lake in the world, and the Native American Klamath tribe knows this to be a sacred landmark. Legend has it that a battle between Chief of the Above World and Chief of the Below World led to the destruction of Mount Mazama. The tribesmen used the crater in their vision quests and is still a sacred space.
Mount Parnassus | Greece
Greece is filled with ancient and world history. Mount Parnassus is a limestone mountain located in central Greece above Delphi. This is a sacred place for God Apollo who often visited the Oracle at Delphi. It is known that three Corycian Nymphs were romanced by a God and born in the Parnassus springs. The mountain is also known for many minor myths, but is now only known for its skiing and hiking trails.