Tirupparankundram, India: On a hill five miles southwest of Madurai, is the fourth pilgrimage site of Muruga. A cave temple dedicated to the element of earth and mentioned in various classical Tamil texts as the 'Southern Himalaya' where the gods assemble, Tirupparankunram is also mentioned in legend as 'the place where the sun and moon abide'. Murugan was married to Devasena upon the hill and for many centuries the Tamil people have considered it the most auspicious place for their own marriages, especially during the time of the Pankuni Uttiram, the festival of marriage held in late March. Besides the fantastic temple to Murugan on the hill, there is also a Muslim shrine dedicated to 'Sekunder' (al-Sikandar or Alexander the Great) who is associated with Murukan by the Muslim pilgrims. "Sikandar was a friend of Murugan at the time when Murugan was King here," they say.
Santorini, Greece: A crescent of cliffs, striated in black, pink, brown, white and pale green, rises 1100 feet with the white cluster of the towns of Fira and Oia perched along the top. Santorini is home to the archeological site of Akrotiri, an outpost of the Minoan civilization on Crete dating back to 2000-3000BC. Depicted here is the famous wall-painting from Akrotiri entitled the "Boxing Children".
constructed a temple to the god Baal, there stood at Baalbek the largest stone block construction found in all the world. In the Seleucid (323-64 BC) and Roman (64 BC-312 AD) periods, the town became known as Heliopolis, the City of the Sun.' The sky/sun god Jupiter became the central deity of the shrine during this time. Arguably the most important deity of the Romans and taking over the role of Zeus in the Greek pantheon, Jupiter was probably chosen to replace the much earlier worship of the Phonecian god Baal who had many characteristics in common with the Greek Zeus. Many Roman emperors were of Syrian birth, so it would not have been unusual for them to have promoted the worship of the country's indigenous deities under their adopted Roman names.fuge for thousands of species of plants and animals. Pez Maya's two miles of coastline comprise breeding grounds for least tern, osprey, American crocodile, manatee, and loggerhead and green sea turtles. Nourished by inland mangrove swamps, the coastal waters of Pez Maya harbor one of the world's most pristine coral formations and are renowned for their abundance of sport fish such as tarpon, bonefish, snook and permit.
Potala Palace, Tibet: The journey continues to Lhasa, Tibet. Here you see the famous Potala Palace. With over 1000 rooms, it contained the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas while they lived, and their magnificent tombs when they died. Built in the seventh century in Lhasa the capital of Tibet, the Potala Palace is the primary residence of the Dalai Lama. The 13-story palace with 1,000 chambers, standing atop a cliff in 3,700 meters high Lhasa, is the world's highest palace. The magnificent palace is the most sacred place for Tibetans. Dated 641 AD
Sacred Valley of the Incas, Peru: Pisaq is considered a typical Inca town, with several stages of a state city, and early privileged assimilation to the Inca Empire. The remains of the political, administrative and religious structures are distributed on the slopes and peaks of the mountains on the right border of the Urubamba river. Nowadays, there is a population of the same name on the floor of the valley, living mostly of theagricultural terraces.
Iguazu Fall, Argentina & Brazil: The Iguazu Falls National Park comprises the northern area of the province of Misiones, Argentina and the southwestern area of the state of Paraná, Brazil. Its 275 waterfalls make this Park one of the top destinations in South America with nearly 2 million tourists a year. The Iguazu Falls National Park extends over both countries (see Iguazu Falls map) and viewpoints are located all along the Park. While the Brazilian side allows panoramic views of the falls, the Argentine side offers closer access and longer trails.
The Okavango Delta, Botswana: Described as "the jewel" of the Kalahari, the Okavango Delta is a tranquil and isolated oasis set in Botswana's harsh and arid desert - widely considered as being one of Africa's best safari destinations with its special diversity of fauna and flora.Spurred by huge subtropical storms, the Cubango River rises in central Angola, flows through Namibia as the Kuvango River and finally enters Botswana as the Okavango River at Mohembo in the north. With it comes some 11 billion cubic metres of water each year which drains away through a maze of lagoons, channels and islands before disappearing into the Kalahari wastes of the south. This is the Okavango Delta, some 15000 square kilometres of wetland with a special diversity of fauna and flora. and is a small, hilly, now treeless island of volcanic origin. Located in the Pacific Ocean at 27 degrees south of the equator and some 2200 miles (3600 kilometers) off the coast of Chile, it is considered to be the worlds most remote inhabited island. The oldest known traditional name of the island is Te Pito o Te Henua, meaning The Center (or Navel) of the World. Archaeologists believe that Easter Island was initially settled sometime around 318 AD by a small group of Polynesians lost on the open sea.
Namib Desert, Namibia: The vast Namib Desert in western Namibia is regarded as one of the oldest and driest deserts in Earth. It includes a sand sea reputed to contain the most picturesque dunes in the world. The highest dunes are set around an ephemeral clay pan at Sossusvlei. Over time, the Namib dunes have been sculpted by the wind into bizarre and complex shapes. This apparently barren and arid landscape is home to a complex ecosystem supported by precious moisture gleaned from fogs that roll in from the Atlantic.
Mahé, Seychelles: The archipelago of the Seychelles is located about 600 miles from the east coast of Africa. These islands and islets are scattered across the Indian Ocean. Mahé is the largest and most important island of the Seychelles archipelago. This spectacular island is only 27 kilometres long but is dominated by a mountain range that forms the backbone of the island. The highest peak, Morne Seychellois, reaches a height of 905metres and provides a perfect backdrop to the capital city Victoria. Although Mahé is the economic and political centre of the Seychelles it has still retained its natural charm and beauty. In many ways Mahé is the most spectacular, its huge mountains and lush tropical vegetation provide an inspiring sight. There are over 75 beaches scattered around the island.
Trolls Path (Trollstigen), Norway: The northernmost point of the Trail of the Trolls is the town of Andalsnes, the site of the Trollveggen - the Trolls' Wall. At 3,300 feet the Trollveggen is the highest rock wall in Europe. Visualize the trolls effortlessly scaling this wall or scurrying down it, as the expert human rock-climbers struggle upward and the daredevil skydivers plunge downward. Bergen, hailed as the "capital of the fjords", is a beautiful, historic city. A walk along the 14th century Hanseatic docks contrasts with the modern shipping industry seen around Kristiansand. Both ports reinforce the Norwegians' love of, attraction to, and dependence on, the ocean.