VACATION IDEAS

Photos: Beautiful Sacred Places Around the World

These places have been inspiring more than just vacation ideas for centuries. Long revered for their gorgeous scenery and spiritual power, here are ten natural wonders—from a ceremonial Mayan lake to the home of Shiva—that are the stuff of legend.

  1. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia is a sacred site to the Anangu people of the Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal tribe.

    (Twickey / Dreamstime.com)
  2. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is the site of an ancient Aboriginal creation story and is said to be inhabited by ancestor spirits.

    (Neale Cousland / Dreamstime.com)
  3. Cenote Sagrado in Mexico was the site of ancient Mayan ceremonies and occasional human sacrifice.

    (imagebroker.net / SuperStock)
  4. Cenote Sagrado was created from a natural limestone cave.

    (Robert Fried / Alamy)
  5. The ascetic Prince Siddhartha took rest under a native bodhi tree like the Mahabodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India, and awoke with the enlightenment that is a central tenet of the Buddhist tradition.

    (John Warburton Lee / SuperStock)
  6. A temple stands near the site of the Mahabodhi Tree.

    (Photononstop / SuperStock)
  7. Mount Kailas in Tibet is a sacred place to Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains alike.

    (Glebsokolov / Dreamstime.com)
  8. Tantric Buddhists say Mount Kailas is home to Buddha Demchog, who represents supreme bliss.

    (Dappax / Dreamstime.com)
  9. Mount Sinai in Egypt is where Moses is said to have received the 10 Commandments.

    (Gelia / Dreamstime.com)
  10. A Greek Orthdox chapel is one of many religious structures that stand on Mount Sinai.

    (Paul Prescott / Dreamstime.com)
  11. The ruins of St. Michael's Tower at the top of Glastonbury Tor in England.

    (Radomír Režný / Dreamstime.com)
  12. Ancient Celts believed that Glastonbury Tor was the home of the King of the Underworld.

    (Woolfenden / Dreamstime.com)
  13. The Klamath tribe of Oregon maintains that Crater Lake was the site of a battle between the Chief of the Above World and the Chief of the Below World.

    (Matthewjade / Dreamstime.com)
  14. Historians believe that the Klamath people of Oregon may have witnessed the implosion that formed Crater Lake nearly 8,000 years ago.

    (Andrey Tarantin / Dreamstime.com)
  15. Mount Parnassus is the setting of many ancient Greek myths and legends, including the Oracle of Delphi.

    (age fotostock / SuperStock)
  16. An ancient Greek amphitheatre stands at the Sanctuary of Apollo on Mount Parnassus.

    (age fotostock / SuperStock)
  17. Lake Atitlán in Guatemala is ringed by Mayan villages and its shores are strewn with archeological sites and ruins, some said to be the mythological "underwater city" of Chiutinamit.

    (Valery Shanin / Dreamstime.com)
  18. Lake Atitlán is Central America's deepest lake, at 1,114 feet.

    (F1 ONLINE / SuperStock)
  19. Vortexes—powerful centers of kenetic energy that can have an energizing effect on visitors—have long drawn people to Sedona, Arizona.

    (Daniel Raustadt / Dreamstime.com)
  20. Sedona's votexes are easily accessible to vistors via hikes and walks.

    (Bill Gozansky / age fotostock / SuperStock)

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