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Religion is as old as humans. It was born out of amazement, fear and respect of natural phenomena. Later, the concept of God and various manifestations of divinity crystallised, to be followed by religions built around individual persona.
Each faith identified and developed its own sacred centres: locations related to births, deaths and supernatural incidents, myth and mysticism, and a gamut of other spiritual associations. Sacred Sites of the World looks at some of these places, across religions, geographies and polities, man-made structures and creations of nature, misty antiquity and the modern age.
The origin, establishment and evolution of each site are placed in historical or legendary context, with an elucidation of the basic tenets of the religion it represents. Besides featuring the fundamental foci of the large religions, such as Christianity's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Islam's Kaaba, there are those belonging to the smaller faiths, like Shintoism. Baha'i and Sikhism, as well as primal beliefs.
The scale ranges from the diminutive hut-like structure in remembering the cowboy-saint Gauchito Gil in the Argentinean deserts, to the massive mountain of Mansarovar that inspires Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims to trek the wind-blown Tibetan plateau.
Sacred Sites offers a fascinating glimpse of the abiding physical anchorages of mankind's relationship with the spiritual.
About the Author
Nirad Grover studied history at Delhi University, and took to a career i travel photojournalism. His work has been published in many Indian and international journals and newspapers. Having a variety of interests, Grover has edited and contributed to books on history, travel, wildlife and other diverse subjects.
Published: 1st June 2010