Holy places are sites that religions considers to be of special religious significance. Holy places are often visited by pilgrims.
Located in Bahji near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh is the most holy place for Bahá'ís and their Qiblih, or direction of prayer. It contains the remains of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith and is near the spot where he died in the Mansion of Bahjí. The second holiest site is the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa.
In Iran, the Baha'is possessed several important holy sites, including the House of the Bab in Shiraz; the House of Baha' Allah's father in Tehran; the shrine and grave of Quddus. Since the Revolution, all these places have been demolished, and a mosque has been built on the site of the Bab's house.
- Bodh Gaya, India, is the most important religious site and place of pilgrimage, the Mahabodhi Temple houses what is believed to be the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha realized enlightenment and Buddhahood.
- Kushinagar, India, is where the Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
- Lumbini, Nepal, is where Queen Maya gave birth to Prince Siddhartha Gautama.
- Sarnath, India, is the deer park where the Buddha first taught the Dhamma after realizing enlightenment.
In the later commentarial tradition, four more sites were added to make Eight Great Places, places where a miraculous event is reported to have occurred:
- Sravasti: Place of the Twin Miracle, showing his supernatural abilities in performance of miracles. Sravasti is also the place where Buddha spent the largest amount of time, being a major city in ancient India.
- Rajgir: Place of the subduing of Nalagiri, the angry elephant, through friendliness. Rajgir was another major city of ancient India.
- Sankassa: Place of the descending to earth from Tusita heaven (after a stay of 3 months teaching his mother the Abhidhamma).
- Vaishali: Place of receiving an offering of honey from a monkey. Vaishali was the capital of the Vajjian Republic of ancient India.
There are various other locations in India and Nepal associated with the Buddha, and there are holy sites located throughout Asia for each Buddhist tradition, for instance in Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Thailand. Lhasa in Tibet contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang temple and Norbulingka palaces.
In Christianity, the holy places are significant because they are the place of birth, ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Saviour or Messiah to Christianity. Holy cities for Christians of all denominations
- Jerusalem is believed to be the site of some of Jesus's teaching, the Last Supper, the subsequent institution of the Holy Eucharist as well as his entombment; Christians believe he was crucified on a nearby hill, Golgotha (sometimes called Calvary). It contains the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa, Mount Zion and the Dormition Abbey, and Gethsemane (with Mary's Tomb and the Church of All Nations).
- Nazareth is Jesus's hometown and the site of many holy places, including the Church of the Annunciation and Mary's Well.
- Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus.
- Cana is where Jesus made his first miracle (Turned the water into wine)
- Al-Maghtas, this site has been recognized as the original site where Jesus was baptized by all the major traditional Christian Churches. The site is in Jordan
- Machaerus, the Herodias fortress where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. The site is in Jordan
- Mount Nebo, traditional site of the death of Moses and where he looked over to the "promised land". The site is in Jordan
During the Crusades, Christian pilgrims often sought out the holy places in the Outremer, especially early in the 12th century immediately after Jerusalem was captured. The holy places included sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem as well as:
- Sephoria, where the Virgin Mary was said to have spent her childhood
- The River Jordan, site of Christ's baptism
- Cave dwelling of John the Baptist
- Galilee (North Israel/South Lebanon)
- Sea of Galilee
- Mount Tabor, site of the Transfiguration of Jesus
- Jericho, along the road to which was the location of the Good Samaritan's charity.
- The Red Sea where Moses parted the sea in order to escape slavery
Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)
The Four Maha Kumbha Mela sites
- Kodlamane Shree Vishnumurthy Temple (Karnataka)
- Dvaraka (Dwarka)
- Puri (Jagannatha Puri)
- Thiruthani Murugan Temple
- Swamimalai Murugan Temple
- Palani Murugan Temple
- Pazhamudircholai Murugan Temple
- Thirupparamkunram Murugan Temple
- Thiruchendur Murugan Temple
Shaktas (Shakti piths)
- Vaishno Devi
- Calcutta (Kali Temple)
- Note that there are 51 principle Shakti sites throughout India
- Applies to only those places where pure natural water stream/river flows next to temple, for example Kodlamane Shree Vishnumurthy Temple.
The three holiest sites in Islam are the Masjid al-Haram, or Grand Mosque, (in Mecca) ; the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, or Prophet's Mosque, (in Medina) and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Every year millions of Muslims from all over the world visit Masjid al-Haram and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi to perform Hajj.
The next two holiest sites especially for Shia Islam are the Imam Ali Mosque and the Imam Husayn shrine (which is visited by more pilgrims than any other holy site in any religion. More than 18 millions people visited on the day of Ashura in 2018)
In Jewish tradition, the Temple Mount is regarded as the place where God chose the Divine Presence to rest. Jewish tradition regards the Mount, or the Foundation Stone, as the location of a number of important events mentioned in the Bible, including the location from which the world expanded into its present form, Abraham's binding of Isaac, Jacob's dream, the threshing floor which King David purchased from Araunah the Jebusite, and the location of the two Jewish Temples. Jewish texts record that the Mount will be the site of the Third Temple, which will be rebuilt with the coming of the messiah.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and is the place to which Jews turn during prayer. Due to its extreme sanctity, many Jews will not walk on the Mount itself, to avoid unintentionally entering the area where the Holy of Holies stood. The Temple is mentioned extensively in Orthodox services. Conservative Judaism mentions the Temple and its restoration, but not its sacrifices. The destruction of the Temple is mourned on the Jewish fast day of Tisha B'Av, and is remembered on a number of occasions such as in the breaking of a glass at the end of a wedding ceremony. Due to religious restrictions on entering the most sacred areas of the Temple Mount (see following section), the Western Wall, a retaining wall of the Temple Mount and remnant of the Second Temple structure, is considered by some rabbinical authorities the holiest accessible site for Jews to pray.
Jerusalem itself is also the holiest city in Judaism, and the spiritual center of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE. The Four Holy Cities in Jewish tradition are the cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias, and Safed: The Jewish Encyclopedia in 1906 noted: "Since the sixteenth century the Holiness of Palestine, especially for burial, has been almost wholly transferred to four cities—Jerusalem, Hebron, Tiberias, and Safed."
The Panj Takht are the five gurudwaras which are revered as the seats of power in Sikhism. They are all located in India - the Akal Takht Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab; the Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur Sahib, Punjab; the Damdama Sahib in Bhatinda, Punjab; the Takht Sri Patna Sahib in Patna, Bihar and the Hazur Sahib Nanded in Nanded, Maharashtra.
Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating for English speaking world), is named after Hari (God) the temple of God. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Sri Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.
Guru Arjan's father Guru Ram Das founded the town named after him "Ramdaspur", around a large man-made water pool called "Ramdas Sarovar". Guru Arjan continued the infrastructure building effort of his father. The town expanded during the time of Guru Arjan, financed by donations and constructed by voluntary work. The pool area grew into a temple complex with the gurdwara Harmandir Sahib near the pool. Guru Arjan installed the scripture of Sikhism inside the new temple in 1604. The city that emerged is now known as Amritsar, and is the holiest pilgrimage site in Sikhism.
Four sacred mountains of Taoism：
- "Holy Places of the World". adherents.com.
- The Buddha mentions these four pilgrimage sites in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta. See, for instance, Thanissaro (1998) and Vajira & Story (1998).
- Sean Martin, The Knights Templar: The History & Myths of the Legendary Military Order, 2005. ISBN 1-56025-645-1
- "Hajj". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
- Juan Eduardo Campo (2009). Encyclopedia of Islam. Infobase Publishing. p. 281. ISBN 978-1-4381-2696-8.
- Toledot 25:21
- 2 Samuel 24:18–25
- Why Do Jews Love Jerusalem? by Yeruchem Eilfort. Chabad.org/ Ideas & Beliefs/Questions & Answers/Mitzvot & Jewish Customs
- Palestine, Holiness Of by Joseph Jacobs, Judah David Eisenstein. Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906 ed.
- Christopher Shackle; Arvind Mandair (2013). Teachings of the Sikh Gurus: Selections from the Sikh Scriptures. Routledge. pp. xv–xvi. ISBN 978-1-136-45101-0.
- W.H. McLeod (1990). Textual Sources for the Study of Sikhism. University of Chicago Press. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-226-56085-4.
- A Journey Through the Holy Lands (Photo Gallery) IslamOnline.net