A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan

Tripoto
21st Jan 2017
Day 1

The Pilgrim Station -Al-Maghtas ruins on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River are the location for the Baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist.

Photo of The Baptismal Site of Jesus Christ, Shoonah Janoobiah District, Balqa Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Reading Leon Uris books like Exodus, Milla 18 and Angry Hills, the name Jordan has always struck a chord with me. My belief in Jesus Christ which goes back to my school days in Campus School in Hisar, Haryana led me to Jordan. If one has to go back in time and feels like being a witness to the Baptism of Jesus Christ or walking besides Lord Jesus, one must stand at the shores of the Jordan River which lies between the borders of Israel and Jordan, with Israel and Palestine located to its west and Jordan located to its east respectively. Standing on the eastern shore of the Jordan River, closing my eyes and praying, I was united with Christ and his faith. It was there that I found real peace of mind.

Photo of Jordan River Boulevard, West Jordan, UT, United States by MANISHI VERMA

Mural inside the new Greek Orthodox church: the baptism of Jesus

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Too, having heard the very voice of God himself, and having witnessed the descent of the Holy Spirit in the visible form of a dove at that baptismal scene, John faithfully bore witness that Jesus “is the Son of God” (Jn. 1:34).

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

After a visit to the Jordan River, which is now a small brackish, brown pool since along with Israel and Syria, Jordan itself has diverted its waters for irrigation. Walking through the extremely dry and barren land, twisting and turning through a wild landscape populated only by Bedouins and with no signs of water whatsoever and very little vegetation, we moved on to the famous Mount Nebo (3300 feet above sea level). There are magnificent views of the Jordan Valley below, from the Dead Sea to the West Bank and beyond. This is the place where Moses saw the Promised Land after 40 years in the wilderness and died at the grand old age of 120. No one knows the exact location of his burial, but the Memorial Church of Moses, currently under reconstruction, claims to be the burial site. Pope John Paul II visited it during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000 and planted an olive tree next to the Byzantine chapel as a symbol of peace. Deigned by the Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni, a serpentine cross sculpture has been erected on top of Mount Nebo. It symbolises the serpent held high by Moses and the cross on which Jesus was crucified.

Photo of Mt Nebo Memorial, Faisaliah Sub-District, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

The Brazen Serpent

Photo of Mt Nebo Memorial, Faisaliah Sub-District, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Plaque showing the distance from Mount Nebo to various locations .Standing on the viewing platform erected for Pope John Paul II I enjoyed the panoramic scene that Moses saw more than 3000 years ago.

Photo of Mt Nebo Memorial, Faisaliah Sub-District, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Magnificent views of the Jordan Valley below, the Dead Sea, and the West Bank beyond from Mt. Nebo

Photo of Mt Nebo Memorial, Faisaliah Sub-District, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of Mt Nebo Memorial, Faisaliah Sub-District, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Ornate floor mosaics, inside the church.

Photo of Mt Nebo Memorial, Faisaliah Sub-District, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Abu badd - rolling stone used as door of Byzantine Monastery on mount Nebo, Jordan

Photo of Mt Nebo Memorial, Faisaliah Sub-District, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

While driving from Mt. Nebo to Madaba, I was full of thoughts about the time of Moses and Baptism of Jesus Christ and about the beauty and sanctity of what I had just witnessed.

Copy of the mosaic map at Greek orthodox church of st George Madaba' Jordan shows all the places of holy land, Madaba, Jordan:

Photo of Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Dear Lord , Grant me the ability to speak kindly, respond gently and at times to hold my tongue and anger. I want my actions to reflect You and Your love.

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Madaba is the capital city of Madaba Governorate in Central Jordan. Home to a population of 60,000, it is best known for its Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics, especially a large Byzantine-era mosaic map of the Holy Land .

A 6th Century Mosaic Map inside the Church.

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

It dates from the sixth century and besides the aesthetic purpose, it was probably intended to help pilgrims find their way from one holy site to another. St George's Church is, of course, a modern church, and the original Byzantine building was much larger. This mosaic must have taken years to make. With two million pieces of coloured stone, the map depicts hills and valleys, villages and towns in Palestine and the Nile Delta. The mosaic contains the earliest extant representation of Byzantine Jerusalem, labelled the "Holy City." The map provides important details about its 6th-century landmarks, where the central colonnaded street, and the church of the Holy Sepulchre are clearly visible. This map is one key element in developing scholarly knowledge about the physical layout of Jerusalem after its destruction and rebuilding in 70 AD.

The mosaic artist conceived and carried out his masterwork with great topographical skill and biblical knowledge. The Madaba Mosaic map is deemed by some scholars to be the best topographic representation done before modern cartography. As a source of biblical topography the map is fully comparable with the well-known treatise on the biblical places written in Greek about 395 A.D. by the historian Eusebius of Caesarea and translated into Latin by Jerome about 490 A.D.

Interiors of the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George, Madaba

Photo of St George's Greek Orthodox Church, King Talal Street, Madaba, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of St George's Greek Orthodox Church, King Talal Street, Madaba, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of St George's Greek Orthodox Church, King Talal Street, Madaba, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Keeping the ancient art alive .

Photo of St George's Greek Orthodox Church, King Talal Street, Madaba, Madaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

A mosaic is a piece of art or image made from the assemblage of small pieces of coloured glass, stone, or other materials. It is often used in decorative art or as interior decoration. Most mosaics are made of small, flat, roughly square, pieces of stone or glass of different colours, Some, especially floor mosaics, are made of small rounded pieces of stone, and called "pebble mosaics".I was fascinated and decided will try doing it in the school with my students, hoping to achieve somewhere near this perfection.

The beauty of Mosaics

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

One must not forget the delicious food in the restaurants served by die hard fans of our Bollywood heroes and heroines. Here are a few of their favourites Amitabh Bachan, Salman Khan, Sharukh Khan and Katrina Kaif. The restaurants were decorated with the ancient artefacts on the way and in our beautiful resort at the banks of Dead sea.

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Day 2

The Dead Sea . Earth's lowest elevation on land.

Photo of Dead Sea, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Day two was my refreshing morning visit to the world's saltiest body of water which is bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and Palestine to the west and is 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level. It was great to have the beach to myself. The sea receives many incoming rivers, including the Jordan River, all of which become landlocked here and eventually evaporate leading to a high concentration of salts and minerals with qualities beneficial to the skin and other health aspects.( Note: Do not try washing your face with the salty water. The salt gets into ones' eye and one can hardly open the eyes. )

Road Trip from the Magnificent Dead sea to the awe-inspiring ancient Nabatean city of Petra.

Travelling on probably the most spectacular road in Jordan which is not dangerous but yes very challenging, I went through the barren valleys and rugged mountains. The occasional patch of green. Low-roofed homes, some ramshackle, and villages where a few curious faces looked up with curious eyes. And the rare treat of a white camel.

"It's a long road, but it is worth it."

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

"If it comes:Let it. If it goes let it."

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Having food in a road side restaurant, enjoying the food and the ambience and an amazing host in the form of a friendly cat was joyful.

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

PETRA

Nothing could be more fulfilling than laying your eyes for the very first time on the rose-coloured city of Petra, carved into the sandstone rock, or of walking through the Siq, its swirling 1km long canyon with smooth sandstone walls sculpted by rivers over time, that seems like a portal into another world.

The former capital of the Nabatean Arabs is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Discovered in 1812, more than 90% of Petra still remains to be explored and there is plenty of scope for archaeological discovery.three god-blocks, standing 6 to 8 meters high. They were almost certainly shrines for the gods who guarded Petra's water supply, but the Muslim Bedouin called them "jinn blocks" based on the belief they contained Djinn, or desert spirits.

the Obelisk Tomb (upper) and Bab as-Siq Triclinium (lower). The four great obelisks of the Obelisk Tomb, with a figure in a niche in the center, guard a rock-hewn cave containing burials.The lower half, the Bab as-Siq Triclinium, functioned as a dining room (triclinium) where feasts were held .

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

The three god-blocks, standing 6 to 8 meters high. They were almost certainly shrines for the gods who guarded Petra's water supply, but the Muslim Bedouin called them "jinn blocks" based on the belief they contained Djinn, or desert spirits.

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

While walking on the gravel road which is meant for horse carts and pedestrians, I observed that occasionally the path widens enough to allow in warm sunlight and even a tree; other times it becomes so narrow (as little as 2 meters apart) that the stone seems to block out virtually all heat, light, and sound.

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Anticipation builds as the walk goes on, and at the end of the Siq is a dramatic moment - planned that way by the Nabateans to impress their visitors. The gorge narrows, and the soft curves of the Siq frame a sunlit strip of an extraordinary sight: the Treasury.

The Treasury

Photo of Petra, Petra District, Ma'an Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Day 3

Wadi Rum (وادي رم) , Valley of the Moon - Lawrence's Home in Arabia

It is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km to the east of Aqaba; it is the largest wadi in Jordan.Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples.

In the West, Wadi Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18.

Filming location

The area has been used as a background setting in a number of films. Filmmakers are particularly drawn to it for science fiction films set on Mars.

Lawrence of Arabia ,Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen – represented as being in Egypt, Krrish 3 – the song 'Dil Tu Hi Bata' ,and last but not the least , The Martian – filming for the Ridley Scott film began in March 2015, for shots that stood in for the surface of Mars.

Camel ride in the desert.

Photo of Wadi Rum Protected Area, Wadi Rum Village, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Image of Lawrence of Arabia engraved in a mountain, desert, Wadi Rum, Jordan, Western Asia

Photo of Wadi Rum Protected Area, Wadi Rum Village, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

The sheer sided mountains of granite and sandstone emerge from open valleys to reach heights of over 1700 meter

Photo of Wadi Rum Protected Area, Wadi Rum Village, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Photo of Wadi Rum Village, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

The red color of mountains and sand is due to the presence of Iron oxide.

Photo of Wadi Rum Village, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

A Bedouin Camp

Photo of Wadi Rum Village, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
Day 4

Amman

Amman, the capital of Jordan, is a fascinating city of contrasts – a unique blend of old and new, ideally situated on a hilly area between the desert and the fertile Jordan Valley.

In the commercial heart of the city, ultra-modern buildings, hotels, smart restaurants, art galleries and boutiques rub shoulders comfortably with traditional coffee shops and tiny artisans' workshops. Everywhere there is evidence of the city's much older past.

Due to the city's modern-day prosperity and temperate climate, almost half of Jordan's population is concentrated in the Amman area. The Jordan Archaeological Museum is located in the Amman Citadel of Amman, Jordan. Built in 1951, it presents artifacts from archaeological sites in Jordan, dating from prehistoric times to the 15th century

AMMAN CITADEL

The residential suburbs consist of mainly tree-lined streets and avenues flanked by elegant, almost uniformly white houses in accordance with a municipal law, which states that all buildings must be faced with local stone.

Photo of Amman Citadel, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Temple of Hercules is a historic site in the Amman Citadel in Amman, Jordan. It was built between (162-166) AD.

Photo of Amman Citadel, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

The size of the hand says that it must be a part of the largest marble statues ever to exist anywhere in the world.

Photo of Amman Citadel, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

The Unfinished Temple ... Temple of Hercules

Photo of Amman Citadel, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Jordan Archaeological Museum

Photo of Jordan Archaeological Museum, Museum Street, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

A welcome gesture from the ever-smiling locals , specially to Indians.

Photo of Jordan Archaeological Museum, Museum Street, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Amman's Roman Theatre is a 6,000-seat, 2nd-century Roman theatre. The large and steeply raked structure could seat about 6,000 people: built into the hillside, it was oriented north to keep the sun off the spectators.

Photo of Jordan Archaeological Museum, Museum Street, Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

Enjoying the company of my radiant companion Akanksha and our learned guide Waleed Hiasat who showed his patience in explaining facts about the history of Jordan I moved on to see the The Royal Automobile Museum .

The Royal Automobile Museum , Amman .

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA

A must carry home -the delicious Baklava .

Photo of A Spiritual Adventure - Jordan by MANISHI VERMA
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