A trip to the holy lands: Israel, Jordan and Palestine

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Vizag girl’s trip to Israel, Palestine and Jordan For Rhema Joseph from Vizag it was a dream come true, when her plans to visit the three countries of Israel, Jordan and Palestine, finally materialised. On an eight day trip with her father and sister to the ‘holy land’, she shares an account of her offbeat journey from Vizag to places far away.

 

ISRAEL

One could call this to be an ideal country; having made a mark for itself in varied fields. With the right balance of history, technology, world’s best agriculture/ irrigation systems, architecture and geographical beauty, it also offers the spiritual atmosphere to help balance one’s inner self.

Though the country has taken large strides in progress there are many simple moments to be enjoyed there too. I specifically enjoyed eating the delicious fruits there, and drinking the orange juice. In fact, I lived on it. After all, this country has the world’s best import of fruits. The people here are extremely nice, very patriotic and disciplined go-getters. My pilgrimage trip here just had one purpose. I wanted to witness the history from the Bible and the life of Jesus. However, I came back with much more. Of the three countries, this is definitely one country I would not think twice to visit again.

Must visit sites

Sea of Galilee:  Israel has lot of water bodies and the Sea of Galilee is extremely beautiful. We went on an hour-long boat ride that shows amazing sights as it takes you to the other side.

Mediterranean Sea:  A beautiful view with the remnants of King Herod’s reign, this is the ideal spot to enjoy the mellow seashore while viewing the remnants of history. The seagulls add to the feeling of a holiday by the beach.

Church of Annunciation: Perhaps the most beautiful church I’ve visited, Biblically, it’s the place where the angel appeared to Mary at her small rock cut megalithic house that lies under the church. The church is a palatial construction open for tourists to visit and attend the church service. It definitely leaves you mesmerized with its architecture, design and lighting.

City of Tel Aviv:  This joint capital of Israel is one of the vibrant and cleanest cities with beautiful landscapes and buildings. Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the city’s multiculturalism and the warmth in its people, makes you want to blend in. It is said to be the youth hub where art and talent meet which is evident as you stroll by the streets.

Dead Sea: What you see is actually what you get. After touring the sites this is the right place to come and experience a soothing mud bath floating on a SEA! Be prepared for a lot of crowd. Get a fancy picture of yourself reading a book while you float.

Jordan

A mix of both orthodox culture and modernization, visiting this place during Ramadan made it more mesmerizing to experience the lifestyle and culture there. Appearing to be a close-knit, loving, monarchy kingdom, it compelled me to think how India would operate with a monarchy system.

Must visit sites

Petra: The place for all the history and archaeology enthusiasts, it truly justifies its story of being the ‘City of Mysteries’. One of the wonders of the world, the natural rocks, large megaliths and constructions of the ruling dynasties leave you intrigued. Every fact you’ve heard and every scene you watched in the movies that were shot at Petra, flash in your mind’s eye. Passing amidst the naturally formed sandstone mountains on a horse was one of the best experiences.

PALESTINE

Perhaps it was the Ramadan season or the time of the day, but there were hardly any people around on the streets of Palestine. But the walk I took to explore the neighbourhood was peaceful. The rock walls painted with graffiti gave out communal messages and agendas. While some read ‘Boycott Israel’, others said ‘Plant love harvest peace’. Multi-colored lights hung between very-much-Muslim-like infrastructures, Christian holy sites and monuments. The streets had old men selling souvenirs, and people trying to fold hands to say Namaste identifying we’re Indian. The pre-conceived notion about this place had me cautious of everything around me. Most of the shops were closed, armed men kept watch at random places and suddenly the somber silence would be shattered with the laughter of kids running across the road, leaving me relieved, that it was okay to continue. With plenty of thoughts running across my head about issues at the Gaza border and mixed emotions, this still was one of my most beautiful walks. It is interesting how you trip to a not so peaceful place and get back to Vizag feeling peaceful.

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