Travelling through the Holy Land

Travelling through the Holy Land

Submitted by Rashmi on Tue, 2016-12-27 14:07 Golgotha JerusalemBengaluru: After visiting Bethlehem, the birth place of Jesus Christ, we proceeded to Galilee. A region in northern Israel, this is the land where Jesus walked. We saw the Sea of Galilee, a huge freshwater lake which is below the sea level. It is also the second lowest lake in the world. This is the lake where Jesus is said to have performed many miracles. From Galilee, we moved to Capernaum, a fishing village located in the north-western shore of the lake. Jesus lived in the village, which was also the hometown of the four apostles. Major excavations here have resulted in the discovery of many buildings including an Octagonal Church. The most important ruins, which date between 1200 BC to 700AD, are the Synagogue and the House of Peter. A memorial shaped like a boat has been built on the ruins of St. Peter’s home to protect the archaeological remains. The synagogue has Roman pillars and is quite big.Capernaum EnteranceCapernaum RuinsFrom Capernaum, we proceeded to the Jordan River, whose waters have a spiritual significance for Christians. This river divides Israel and Jordan. It was in this river that Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist. Many people were taking a holy dip in the crystal clear waters of the river. Being present at the river gave me a peaceful feeling.Jordan River St Peter's StatueLater, we proceeded to Nazareth, known as Arab capital of Israel because of its huge Muslim population. Nazareth is described as the childhood home of Jesus Christ. It was here that Mother Mary was told by Angel Gabriel that she would conceive by the power of Holy Spirit. Located in a beautiful valley, this town is more than 2000 years old. There are many shrines in Nazareth commemorating biblical events, the most important being the Church of Annunciation. A modern building built in 1969, the church has a large courtyard with art works from all parts of the world, including India, depicting Mother Mary. This two-storied building has been built over the sites of earlier buildings. The basement of the church contains the Grotto of Annunciation, which is believed to be the original home of Mary. The dome of this church, which is 55 meters high, can be seen from a great distance.Church of AnnunciationDome of Al-AqsaNearby the church is the International Centre of Mary of Nazareth.  Opened in 2011, this centre offers visitors audio-visual shows on the lives of Mary and Jesus. There are a number of other churches in Nazareth. The White Mosque, the oldest mosque located in the centre of the old market, is also worth a visit. Completed in 1808, this mosque is regularly used by the local Muslim community.Rock of CalvaryAuthor in front of  sea of Galilee From Nazareth, we travelled south to the holy city of Jerusalem. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and is revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians.  Jesus is said to have been brought to Jerusalem soon after his birth. He was also crucified in Jerusalem. We visited the Church of Holy Sepulchre also known as Church of Resurrection. Located on the Christian quarter of the old city, this is the place of Lord Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. The church is said to have been built in 2nd century but has been reconstructed many times. The most important part of the church is the Golgotha, where Jesus is said to have been crucified. In the main alter is the Rock of Calvary enclosed by glass. Here, we can see the hole in which the cross was kept. Near the entrance of the church is the place where Jesus’ body was prepared for burial.  From here we went to the Al-Aqsa Mosque where Prophet Muhammad is believed to have been transported from Mecca. This is the second holiest place for Sunni Muslims. Close by is the Wailing Wall, also known as the Western Wall, considered holy by the Jews. This is the place where Jews gather to cry because their temple was lost here.After the conclusion of this two-day trip, I felt blessed to have seen these places, considered holy by many religions, steeped in history.