Luxury travel should relax your body, calm your mind, and rejuvenate your spirit. The best way to ensure you acquire all three benefits is by booking a journey to a spiritual destination. You can select a location that caters to your religious beliefs and practices or simply choose one that represents something greater than yourself.
The following four enlightening spiritual destinations can provide you with a glimpse into mankind's history while catapulting you toward an inspiring future.
SICHUAN PROVINCE, CHINA: LESHAN GIANT BUDDHA
In 713 AD, a monk from Leshan, China began constructing a 233-foot statue of the Maitreya, the future Buddha, at the junction of the Qingyi, Minjiang, and Dadu Rivers. The Buddha is carved out of the stone cliff side that runs along the waterways.
. Giant Buddha statue in Leshan, China
The construction phase took about 100 years due to the original builder's death and a lack of funding. People travel from all over the world to stand near this statue, which has inspired countless songs, poems, and literary works across the generations. Travelers meditate along the foot of the statue to achieve enlightenment and peace during their trip.
OLD JERUSALEM, ISRAEL: MOUNT OF OLIVES
A solemn trek through the Mount of Olives in Old Jerusalem, Israel is a truly humbling experience. Although the land once bore the fruits of a thousand olive trees, gravesites now cover the majority of the landscape today.
. Dome of the Rock Mosque on the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem
The site has historical and religious significance to Catholic, Christian, Protestant, and Jewish people from all over the world. Visitors come to pay their respects by singing hymns or standing in silence while looking over the hilltop.
CUZCO, PERU: MACHU PICCHU
On the land now known as Cuzco, Peru, the Incas built their great city, Machu Picchu, in 1450 AD. They were forced to flee to a safer location about 100 years later. For more than three centuries, the city remained uninhabited and hidden from revelers until its rediscovery in the early 1900s.
. Baby llama enjoying the view at Machu Picchu
The site is considered sacred today due to the presence of the Intihuatana stone, which is said to provide visions of the spiritual world. Visitors strive to connect with a lost society and their hidden city and to widen their spiritual horizons while reminding themselves of the beautiful impermanence of life.
SEDONA, ARIZONA: PALATKI HERITAGE SITE
Within Red Rock State Park in Sedona, Arizona lies an ancient Palatki Heritage Site, originally built by the Sinagua Indian tribe. The tribe members lived in the area from 500 to 1400 AD, when they were driven out by a lack of food or by enemy attacks.
. Ancient Sinagua tribe artwork in Sedona, Arizona
The tribe members left their imprint on the land in the form of cliff side dwellings and artwork along the rock faces. Travelers may choose to visit the area to spiritually connect with nature and the landscape, just as the tribe members had. The site also serves as a reminder of the necessity of change for survival and renewal.
As you check your favorite spiritual destinations off of your travel bucket list, make sure to reflect on the benefits you've experienced by going on these journeys. If your energy or positivity reserves run dry, for example, you may want to return to a location that spoke to your soul and refilled your stores. New experiences can have a similar effect on your mind, body and spirit, so remember to remain open to destinations you have never visited before.