Jerusalem - The Mosaic of faith ! How I travelled in less than INR 2000

Tripoto
18th Aug 2019
Photo of Jerusalem - The Mosaic of faith ! How I travelled in less than INR 2000 by Himanshu Mehta

Of the many perks of a job that involves travelling, junketing tops the chart ! This time I had a fortune to visit Israel - the country insignificant geographically but undisputed leader in tech inventiveness and military intelligence !

One of the many gems of Israel is the Capital city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the incredible multi-religion network. One can witness the beauty of contrasting religions coexisting in the modern world !

Since I was on an official trip, I only had a leisure day and my ultimate & obvious choice was a day trip to Jerusalem.

How to Reach Jerusalem ?

Israel's International Airport - David Ben Gurion at Tel Aviv is well connected with any part of the world. There are direct flights from New Delhi, India to Tel Aviv four times a week. From Tel Aviv, there are intercity buses to Jerusalem plying every 30 minutes.

Visa Process ?

Israeli visa application process is time consuming, it is recommended to apply 2 months before actual visit.

The Trip

There are multitude accommodation options in Jerusalem. I was staying in Ashdod (nearly 70 kms off Jerusalem). I opted for a bus ride and started from Ashdod at 7, reached Jerusalem by 8 AM. The bus was state-of-the art and couldn't be more comfortable. Fare was 20 NIS around (INR 400) 

The old square city encases the magnificent historical landmarks - Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Dome of the Rock, Western Wall, Temple Mount, Mount of the Olives etc.

The four corners of the city represents quarters each of Jewish, Christian, Muslim & Armenian.

Place of Jesus's burial

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Jesus's tomb

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Holy Sepulchre

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Holy Sepulchre

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Church of All Nations

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Church of All Nations

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta
Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Church of Dominus

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

City view from Mount of Olives

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Cemetery

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Chapel of Ascension

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta
Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Church of the Redeemer

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta
Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Dome of the rock

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Jewish Synagogue

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Western Cardo

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta
Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Tower of David Citadel

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Jaffa Gate

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta
Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

Western wall

Photo of Jerusalem, Israel by Himanshu Mehta

The best way to explore and revisit the culture & antiquity is by walking across the quarters, at the Jaffa Gate (one of the seven entrances) you may find numerous free tours, I took the Sandaman half day walking tour !

It starts from Tower of David Citadel. This citadel was built in 1310, it dates back to the Ottoman period.

The Jewish quarter welcomes you with the smell of freshly baked bagels, it houses a synagogue originally built in 1700 being destroyed by Arab creditors due to non-repayment of loans and rebuilt in 2010.

The quarter contains ruins of Western Cardo from the Roman-Byzantine period, it still serves as a major thoroughfare for shopping!

The transitioning from one quarter to another is quite remarkable, you will spot crisp architectural differences.

After about 20 minutes of walking, you will appear at the view point of the Western wall. As believed traditionally, the foundation stone of our world sits at the peak of mount above this western wall. The world was created from this stone. The binding of Isaac took place on it and King Solomon built the first temple around it as "a house for the name of the lord, the God of Israel "

Dome of the rock is the Muslim shrine built on the top of temple mount, it is an exemplary structure amalgamating six architectural styles. Situated in the Islamic quarter, Muslims believe it to be the place of Muhammad's ascension into heaven.

Temple mount is the Jewish sacred temple and Dome of the Rock (on the top of temple mount) is the Muslim sacred shrine - this till today is the centre of modern day conflict between Judaism & Islam.

Church of Holy Sepulcher lies in the Christian quarter, it is believed to be the site where Jesus was buried and resurrected after crucifixion. The spirit inside the church is surreal.

After half day's inquisition into four different religions, I had lunch at 1:30 PM. I went out to try Israeli hummus & falafel.

Second half of the day I spent on Mount of Olives - the tour agency runs shuttle buses to commute you from Old city Jaffa to Mount top. From top, the guide will walk you down across the sites.

Several key events in the life of Jesus, as related in the Gospels, took place on the Mount of Olives and in the Acts of the Apostles it is described as the place from which Jesus ascended to heaven.

The largest and holiest cemetery in the Jewish world, containing some 70,000 graves, is the Jewish cemetery located on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. It is the final resting place of well-known figures. 

There are many Jewish folk traditions about the virtues of being buried on the Mount of Olives: Those who are buried there will be the first to be resurrected on the Day of the Resurrection of the Dead.

The Church of Dominus Flevit is the place where Jesus wept over the future destruction of Jerusalem. The holy cross of the Church is exactly aligned with the sight of Dome of the Rock & the Holy Sepulcher.

The last stop on the walking tour was the the Church of All Nations also known as Basilica of the Agony, it is built over the rock on which Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night before he was crucified. An atmosphere of sorrowful reverence pervades the Church.

The basilica is called the Church of All Nations because many countries contributed to the cost of construction.

National symbols of 12 donors — Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United States of America — are inside the ceiling domes.

The tour ended at the Damascus Gate, with the beautiful sunset garnishing the old style homes with the red horizon.

The time spent in Jerusalem took me back to multiple eras of history and presented innumerable reasons to reinforce my belief in religion & faith.

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