Umrah

I did Umrah back in June 2005 Alhamdulillah and the experience was great. I was really excited to go to Saudi for many reasons. The most important was obviously Umrah and the other one was meeting my Mamoo (my uncle) who last met me like 10 years ago because he has been living in Saudi for about 30 years now.

The moment I was close to Masjid-al-Haram, I could see the huge minarets from far away. This was the moment I had been waiting for. As soon as I entered the masjid and and saw the kabah, I was just amazed. All this time, I had only seen it in pictures and on TV. Allah listens to you everywhere but at that place, I felt as if I was more closer to Allah Raheem-ul-Kareem than at ANY other place. There were no worries about doing house chores, or worrying about other stuff that goes on in my life. I saw brothers and sisters from all around the world who came all the way there to worship the one and only Allah. Everything seemed beautiful and pleasant there.

Then of course I went to Madina as well. Prayed there in Masjid-un-Nabwi and visited the graves of Muahmmad (S.A.W), Abu Bakr and Umar (R.A). I must say that compared to Makkah, Madina was more fun and 'alive'. Almost everyone who went there has to say the same thing. I visited a lot of other historical places with my uncle as well.

And if Allah wills, Insha'Allah I will try to go for Hajj too.

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I walked to Santiago

by Terry Leary
(Granada, Nicaragua)

I loved the trip. There are several routes, I chose the Primitivo route in the North. I wanted to be alone, it was a major challenge but so good. The thing about the Primitivo route is really long walks, 10-20 miles a day. I carried all of my things. I am a solo woman 67 years old. I am in good shape and this was such a rich wonderful experience.

I did not stay for the most part in the Albergues but instead stayed at little B&Bs. It was not expensive and it was great to have a bathtub at the end of a long walk. I would suggest others do this walk it was great.

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Vaishnodevi Pilgrimage

by Puja
(Easton MA, USA)

Vaishnudevi is a pilgrimage in Jammu, India. I went there to pray to Mother Goddess. It is in the hills at a height of around 6000 feet above sea level and has difficult terrain.

But the strength that Ma (God) gives to devotees really makes it easy to pass through the terrain so easily that one does not realize how tough it was. I went in a group of devotees. We all were chanting "Jai Mata Di" which means "We all bow to Mother Goddess". While I was walking I could sense the power of Mother Goddess. The more I was reaching to her, the stronger the feeling was.

We had to take a bath in the waterfall before we could visit her in the cave. Everyone was wearing red scarfs around their neck and head and singing and dancing for mother goddess. Some were walking on foot with the help of stick, some were on the shoulders of men whose jobs it is to help others to climb the terrain and some were on horseback. Kids were enjoying this walk and liking it.

Once you reach the main sanctorum, you feel you have reached GOD. It’s so pure and powerful, you don’t have control to your feelings and you can sit and meditate there for hours. I went there to make a wish and it got fulfilled. I would love to go again." Jai Mata Di"

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Many places.... 5 continents

by Pat Crosby
(Catskill Mountains, New York, USA)

Sacred Waters in Tipon, Peru

Sacred Waters in Tipon, Peru

The call to visit and learn the mysteries of sacred sites has taken me to such far off sites as the Himalayas and Mt Kailas in Tibet, Kathmandu, the many thousand years old Kumbha Mela in Ujjain India, Australia and New Zealand with the powerful Ayers Red Rock or Uluru as it is known to the traditional peoples, many trips to the various sacred spots of the Hawaiian Islands, including Kalauea Volcano during fiery eruptions, the traditional Place of Refuge on the Big Island of Hawaii, the Grand Canyon and Napali Cliffs of Kaui, numerous heiaus - traditional sites recognized by the first peoples, and most recently, the magical places of Peru - Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca.

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A Week in Taize, France

by Michelle
(France)

I went on a pilgrimage to the small French town of Taize in France when I was 15 years old. In Taize, there’s a wonderful religious commune run by a sect of monks. I took the trip with my church’s youth club.

We all set off one summer’s day by coach to take the long drive to the eastern mountains of France. The coach journey would be a long one – about 10 hours – but we were so excited it didn’t matter. There were about 20 women and girls who made the pilgrimage, led by our pastor, Father David.

Once we got to Taize, the weather was boiling hot. We were all staying in tents and the monks encouraged us to attend church services at least four times a day – a lot for your average 15 year old. But attend church we did – there was such a wonderful atmosphere about the place it really didn’t seem like hard work. We met so many interesting people from such a wide range of backgrounds and countries – the United States, South America, India and China to name but a few. The food was pretty basic but we didn’t care – we weren’t there for gourmet cooking!

I think after the week’s pilgrimage we all really felt such a heightened spirituality and focus towards God. It was a truly marvelous experience and one which I would recommend to women (and men) everywhere. I will treasure the memory of my French pilgrimage for the rest of my life.

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