You’ve had a trying period. So you’re looking for an extraordinary vacation to regain energy and seek serenity. Instead of heading to your usual beach destination, why not look into a pilgrimage site for your next trip?
Why Choose a Pilgrimage?
Although most will use “fun” as a primary goal for a vacation, others will want some inspiration. A visit to several holy sites and places of spiritual importance can help you achieve the latter. Even if you’re not looking to have a profound spiritual experience, a pilgrimage tour will have a remarkable effect.
A pilgrimage can deepen your understanding of certain beliefs. It can open up opportunities for self-reflection. And it can help you meet some of the most enlightened beings on the far side of the world.
Whether it’s for spiritual, mental, or religious reasons, pilgrimages have one major thing in common: a journey of discovery.
Popular Pilgrimage Sites across the Country
The right pilgrimage teaches you a lot about the culture, history, and beliefs of the site you’re visiting. Most tours also enable you to meet lively, interesting people. Typically, pilgrims will travel to foreign lands, but you don’t have to venture too far. You can find numerous holy sites to explore in America.
Here are some of the more popular pilgrimage sites in the country:
- Historic Nauvoo in Illinois – Home to different temples and churches of the Mormon faith, the historical city of Nauvoo is rich in culture pertinent to the former settler’s faith. With many buildings restored from the 19th century, you can join church history tours to learn more about their cultural heritage and the important events that happened in the city.
- Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in Florida – The shrine of Our Lady of La Leche in Florida is the first ever shrine in the country dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Thousands of people usually make a pilgrimage to this shrine to ask for divine intercession related to motherhood. Though that is what makes the shrine so popular, you can still visit the site for its historical significance. It’s the historic site of the first parish mass in America.
- Ave Maria Grotto in Alabama – The Ave Maria Grotto in Alabama hosts over a hundred meticulously hand-made miniature church models. These are the works of a Benedictine monk named Brother Joseph Zoettl. Visiting this pilgrimage site serves as an artistic discovery as miniature churches and historical buildings fill a four-acre park.
- Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, California – The Hsi Lai Temple is a Buddhist mountain monastery located in Hacienda Heights California. It’s also one of the largest Buddhist temples built in the West. This pilgrimage site showcases an art gallery that shows a fusion between Western and Eastern paintings, photographs, and Buddhist artifacts. The building itself is shaped like a bodhi leaf, which symbolizes the tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment.
- Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan – This pilgrimage site is a modern mosque located in Michigan, with design inspiration derived from temples in Turkey and India. It’s the oldest Shia mosque in the country and also the largest mosque in North America. The mosque is an open place where pilgrims are free to roam and ask about their belief and culture. The mosque itself serves as an amalgamation of Western and Eastern culture.
You don’t have to be religious to visit pilgrimage sites. But you do have to be open to new experiences. Even better, you don’t need to book a flight outside of the country to discover places of spiritual significance. So plan your trip, pack a bag, and take a sacred journey.