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11 Most Spiritual Places In The World To Visit

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Spiritual places have always attracted large amounts of people. They travel thousands of miles to touch the sacred energy in the worlds most famous spiritual places. There are lots of mysterious objects all over the planet and many legends and tales link to them.

People visit spiritual places for many different reasons. Some want to understand the spiritual world better or find greater harmony within themselves. Others are seeking psychic phenomena, spiritual healing or to witness miracles with their own two eyes. In this article, we will introduce you to 11 of the most spiritual places in the world.

1. Stonehenge, England

stonehenge moon image

Stonehenge is one of the wonders of the world. It is the most famous prehistoric monument in Europe. It consists of a ring of standing stones. Each stone is around 13 feet high, 7 feet wide and weighing around 25 tons. Stonehenge is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Its location is right in the heart of the densest complex of Neolithic and bronze age monuments in England. According to scientists, Stonehenge was an Observatory, the iconic menhirs of the druids and the cemetery. There are many theories that say this place is a portal to another dimension.

2. Pyramids Of Giza, Egypt

Giza pyramids Image

Pyramids of Giza are also called the Great Pyramids. It is the most famous spiritual place in Africa. Presumably, it has a connection with the constellation of Orion. Egypt’s pharaohs expected to become gods in the afterlife. To prepare for the life after death they built temples for the gods and giant pyramid tombs for themselves. They filled the pyramid tombs with all the things each ruler would need to guide himself into the next world. Translated from Greek “Pyramid” means a polyhedron. In this shape, Pharaohs imagined their “afterlife home”.

3. The Himalayas, Tibet

himalaya mountains image

The Himalayas (translated from Sanskrit as “the land of snow”) – is the highest mountain range on Earth, located in Asia. Many wise men, monks, and priests come to the Himalayas to finish their life on earth. The snow-capped peaks attract and fascinate and make it impossible to tear your eyes away. Buddhists and adherents of Hinduism consider the Himalayas a Holy place created for meditation and karma purification. There are many attractions of Tibetan Buddhists in the Himalayas, including the residence of the Dalai Lama. There are also more than 3,200 monasteries in Tibet and mosques for Tibetan Muslims.

4. Easter Island, Chile

easter island image

Easter Island is a Chilean island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. There are famous 20-meter high stone statues on this island. They are carved from compressed volcanic ash in the form of huge human heads. According to the legends of the natives, each statue contains a powerful force, which the ancestors of the first king of the island placed there. Legends say that giants were made in quarries in the center of the island and from there they “walked” by themselves to the place of their present location. Isotericians believe “island of Mysteries” is the remnants of the dead Atlantis. Helena Blavatsky wrote in her book that there once lived representatives of an unknown race, perhaps it was the Atlanteans or Lemurians.

5. Mount Shasta, USA

mount shasta imageEvery year hundreds of fans of spiritualism, occultism and other spiritual teachings arrive at Mount Shasta. The Shasta Indians believed that it is the center of the universe, bioenergy considering the vortex as the point of concentration of extraordinary cosmic power and the portal into the fifth dimension. Mount Shasta has also been a focus for the legends, centered on a hidden city of advanced beings from the lost continent of Lemuria. In 1931, Wisar Spenle Cerve wrote ‘Lemuria: the lost continent of the Pacific’ about the hidden Lemurians of Mount Shasta.

6. Fortingall Yew, Scotland

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Fortingall Yew is the oldest tree in Europe that grows in Perthshire (Scotland).The age of this tree is about 5000 years. The girth of its trunk is 18 meters. In Scotland, Fortingale Yew is considered sacred. One local legend says that Pontius Pilate was born in the shade of this tree and played there as a child.

7. Arunachala, India

shiva image

Arunachala is a sacred hill in Tamil Nadu (India). It is one of the main places for pilgrimage followers of Shaivism. According to the legend, this is where Shiva received the revelation of the highest knowledge. The temple of Lord Shiva (the Annamalaiyar Temple) is located at the base of the hill.

8. Machu Picchu, Peru

Ancient inca town of Machu Picchu Image

Ancient Inca town of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the city of ancient America. Its location is on the territory of modern Peru, 6 km from the village of Aguascalientes, on top of a ridge at an altitude of 2450 meters above sea level. Machu Picchu has the title of the wonder of the world. Some archaeologists believe that the great ruler of the Incas Pachacutec built this city as a sacred mountain shelter a century before the conquest of his Empire around 1440. It functioned until 1532 when the Spaniards invaded the territory of the Inca Empire wherein 1532, all its inhabitants mysteriously disappeared.

9. Arkaim, Russia

Arkaim Image

Arkaim

Now Arkaim is an Archaeological Museum and one of the most famous spiritual places in the world. Its location is in South Ural (Chelyabinsk region) in Russia. Arkaim territory is an anomalous zone – a place of power with ‘unusual’ energy. Almost everyone who visits Arkaim can see different supernatural activities: UFOs, flashing lights, glow, foggy clots and other anomalous phenomena. In ancient times, there was the eponymous city of Arkaim. It had a ring structure oriented by stars (ancient Aryan culture attached great importance to astrology). About 4 thousand years ago the inhabitants of Arkaim left the town and burned it for an unknown reason. Most people who visit Arkaim experience hallucinations, a state of altered consciousness and even slowdown or acceleration of the physical course of time.

10. Chichen Itza, Mexico

Pyramid of Chichen Itza Image

The city of Chichen Itza used to be one of the Mayan capitals. Its ruins are just one and a half kilometers from the Mexican town Piste in the state of Yucatan.  The most famous building of Chichen Itza is the Temple of Kukulkan. Chichen Itza consists of nine levels with an even more ancient pyramid at it’s top. Researchers managed to get into it through the holes in the floor of the lower tier and discovered an ancient Mayan sculpture, including the “Red Jaguar” with eyes carved from jade and spots on the skin.

11. Nanshan Buddhism center, China

Guan Yin Statue Image

Nanshan Buddhism center is the largest Buddhist center in Asia. The temple complex is dedicated to the Goddess of mercy Guan Yin. The entrance to the Park is the Heavenly gate of non-duality. In Buddhist philosophy, the last step in achieving enlightenment is a symbolic passage through this gate. One of the main attractions of Nanshan Park is the temple with the gold statue of Guan Yin. The Guinness book of records listed the Golden Guan Yin as the largest Golden statue in Asia.

The Bottom Line

Visiting spiritual places has a beneficial effect on our health and gives us strength. People who have infertility, severe disease, visit these places in the hope of getting rid of their ailments. Spiritual places can remove negative energy from a person, clean our aura and give us clarity of mind. Most people notice big changes after visiting spiritual places. Some of them even say that they will never be the same after visiting these kinds of places. It’s no wonder so many spiritual gurus, yoga teachers, healers and meditation practitioners choose spiritual places for their retreats, workshops, and conferences.

Finally, I would like to say that each of us has a special place for evoking happy memories and it can be as simple as the edge of the forest, a high river road,  a three oaks meadow, or the top of the hill. I believe we can all call these special places our personal ‘spiritual places’. Spending time in these places is also very important because our positive memories and the energy of these places can inspire, heal, give us strength, peace, and harmony.

Katya Ki is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Feng Shui Master, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

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Brilliant Ways To Practice Ecotourism And Sustainable Tourism

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ecotourism and sustainable tourism image

If you are an ecotourism enthusiast, you must have noticed a radical shift in both government and corporate approaches in how they generate revenue from the tourism sector. Gone are the days when all the focus was on bringing in the tourists and ripping to the fullest without giving back to the planet. Now, companies are held accountable for the impact their operations have on the ecosystem.

With a fragile ecosystem at hand, a small imbalance can have massive ripple effects on the world at large. Typical examples are global warming and plastic pollution of the oceans. Hence the new approach to tourism called eco-tourism and sustainable tourism.

In this article, I will define in detail what eco-tourism and sustainable tourism are all about. We will review its origin. And evaluate how governments, corporates, and individuals are embracing it in the 21st century.

Definition

I would define ecotourism as the responsible travel to places that conserve our natural environment and consequently improve the local people’s well-being. How often do you do that?

The core principles of ecotourism and sustainable tourism revolve around the travel industry adopting environmentally friendly practices. It also entails protecting the natural and cultural heritage of a destination. And supporting local communities. Similarly, the income generated through ecotourism remains in that destination. This differs from mass tourism where most of the money made goes to large transnational companies.

An Example

Therefore, a typical eco-tourist would visit the Smoky Mountains, a National Park in North Carolina. Use a local tour guide to navigate his way around the park. Hire a tent and pay for a few extras like a bush barbeque or a belly dance. He will also participate in a lesson with the local community kids the next day. And possibly donate to the local children’s home.

A nature-based tourist, on the other hand, will travel to the same place using his own guide. He will have no particular interest in eco-friendly accommodation. He will also not engage the local community whatsoever unless for his own benefit.

In A Nut Shell: Eco-Tourism versus Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism focuses on prioritizing local traditions, natural resources, and residents. However, eco-tourism is a subtype of sustainable tourism with a clear focus on rural and wilderness areas.

A Little History

Ecotourism traces its roots to 1901 with the launch of the Sierra Club’s Outing Program. It was an initiative to take hikers to Spain’s Sierra Nevada’s mountains. The aim was getting the hikers actively involved in the preservation of the forests.

Fast forward to the 70’s and 80’s when the most influential Mexican NGO doing conservation work was founded. Still in the 80’s, Megan Epler Wood, filmed a documentary called “The Environmental Tourist”. She was a young wildlife biologist working for World Wildlife Fund. This was the first film to shed light on how tourism could contribute to the conservation of natural resources and local well-being.

Afterwards, there have been other countless ecotourism icons including:

  • Thomas Lovejoy, also known as the godfather of biodiversity
  • Russell Mittermeier, currently the president of Conservation International
  • And Jeff Greenwald, the founder of Ethical Traveller

These sustainable tourism pioneers undertook many initiatives including animal welfare, carbon offsets, travel philanthropy, and rising concerns about human trafficking and child sexual abuse.

How Are We Embracing Sustainable Tourism?

We can promote sustainable tourism and ecotourism in four ways:

  1. Conservation

Governments implementing legislation:

The UK’s Environmental Protection Act 1990, for example, sets out fundamental structures for waste management and control of emissions to the environment. Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 provides a legal framework that conserves Australia’s biodiversity. This is achieved by controlling the international movement of wildlife.

Such acts streamline environmental assessment. They also protect the world and national heritage. And promote ecologically sustainable developments. If you’re a leader, explain the importance of adhering to such acts in your area of jurisdiction.

Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives:

Lego’s Build the Change and Sustainable Materials Center is an initiative that partners with World Wildlife Fund to push for sustainability. Several Peace for Conservation movements focus on tackling human-wildlife conflict. They engage and connect with local communities to raise awareness and promote ownership and action. They also undertake various ecotourism fun activities for youth. This gives the youth a platform to have their voice heard, therefore, supporting the next generation of conservationists. Are you a member of any of these movements?

Individuals Conservation Campaigns:

planting trees image

Take part in the Green Belt Movement by planting two trees where one is cut. If you’re too shy to walk around with a watering can and shovels, join a local tree planting initiative near you. Other than making an impact on our environment, you will interact with like-minded people and learn new things.

  1. Education

The government is continually sensitizing people and making them aware of the issues surrounding different environments. However, I believe responsibility is a personal choice that we make. Corporates too have developed conservation education programs for local schools. They provide naturalists, interpretative guides, and guest lecturers to assist travelers in understanding their travel experiences better. As a tourist, you can educate yourself about the vital eco-systems of the destinations you are visiting through guidebooks and travel articles.

  1. Traveler Responsibility

As a traveler, I have embarked on responsible traveling. I choose a travel agent based on their eco principles and practices. By following a vegan lifestyle, I also desist from poaching. I also take into consideration the reduction of carbon footprint when using air travel, bringing back valuable gifts like clothing and distributing them through the local elders and not directly to vulnerable children who may develop the habit of begging.

travelers image

During my stay, I conserve limited natural resources and support organizations and societies that follow eco-principles. These are things you could also start practicing. If all the tourists in the world would do the same, the world would be a better place for both humans and animals. Don’t you think so?

  1. Active Community Participation

Through community-based tourism, locals open up their homes and communities to visitors seeking sustainably achieved cultural, educational, recreational travel experiences.

Community participation may take different forms including:

  • Reducing encroachment of human activities to protected natural wildlife habitats
  • Training the locals to open up businesses that fuel their local economic development
  • At the same time, minimizing adverse impacts on flora and fauna (eco-friendly lodges, souvenir shops, and guides)
  • Reporting any illegal extraction of resources or poaching activities to the local authorities

Conclusion

It is no longer business as usual. Natural and cultural resources are the current drivers of international tourism. Companies falling short of the ‘ecoresort’ tag risk losing profitability. On the other hand, governments planning for ecotourism will require greater coordination between natural resource stakeholders and the service delivery arms of the tourism industry. It is only through such continued initiatives that the world will win against the race in preserving our endangered wildlife. What are you doing to drive sustainable tourism in your locality?

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The Clever Girl’s Guide to Choosing Coral Reef Safe Sunscreens

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Coral Reef Safe Sunscreens image

You need to choose a coral reef safe sunscreen before your next trip to the beach.

Forget that old bottle you have lurking in the back of your bathroom closet. And definitely, don’t go for the same mainstream brand you’ve been using forever.

Because if you do, you’ll be partly responsible for the death and destruction of coral and coral reefs across the world. Really.

Whilst you’ve been happily chilling out at the beach and enjoying the ocean over the years, the sunscreen you’ve been (very sensibly) wearing has been slowly washing off your skin and killing coral reefs.

Coral Reef Image

Researchers say that an astonishing 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotions end up this way, and even more shockingly, that 80% of the gorgeous coral reefs in the Caribbean have been lost because of sunscreens.

That’s why last week, Hawaiian officials passed a ground-breaking bill which banned the use of sunscreens which contain the two worst reef-bleaching chemicals; oxybenzone and octinoxate. This is their last-ditch attempt to protect their struggling coral reefs.

Which leaves us with a massive problem.

Because these nasty coral-killing ingredients aren’t just in a handful of sunscreens but in almost all the sunscreens we’ve ever used.

So, if you’re a sun-worshipper or fan of the outdoors, you want to protect yourself from skin cancer and you also want to protect the health of the world’s coral reefs, what are you supposed to do? You can’t exactly ditch sunscreen altogether, despite your principles…

But you don’t have to! There are many wonderful coral reef safe sunscreens out there which will help protect your skin and coral reefs around the world from damage. Here’s what you need to know about the chemicals and choosing a better brand of sunscreen.

sunscreen image

What’s the deal with those sunscreen chemicals?

Hawaii passed the sunscreen bill because of the toxic chemicals which almost all regular sunscreens contain. These are oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3) and octinoxate, and have been proven to damage and even kill coral reefs. Here’s why:

#1: They bleach coral reefs

Oxybenzone and octinoxate cause coral reef bleaching. This happens when the algae that usually lives on its surface disappears, exposing the coral underneath and causing it to turn white. If it doesn’t immediately die, it will be more susceptible to disease and much more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

#2: They prevent coral reproducing properly

Oxybenzone damages coral DNA, leaving it unable to reproduce properly. When this happens, we get fewer coral reefs, and the ones we do have are likely to be deformed and sick.

#3: They can cause coral deformations and strange behavior

These chemicals can also cause disruptions in the coral reef hormone balance which cause strange growth patterns in adult coral.

These two are the only chemicals which have been singled out by the Hawaiian authorities so far, but they’re certainly not the only sunscreen ingredients which affect coral reefs and marine life.

Butylparaben (related to the dangerous parabens in your cosmetics), and 4-Methylbenzylidine Camphor (4MBC) are two other harmful chemicals which have also been linked to coral bleaching and are best avoided.

So, how do I choose a coral reef safe sunscreen?

There are plenty of coral reef safe sunscreens you can choose instead so your summer fun doesn’t result in coral death.

#1: Read the labels on your bottles of sunscreen

Start by getting into the habit of reading your sunscreen bottles to check whether they are coral reef safe, just like you would your food labels.

sunscreens image

First watch out for those four toxic chemicals (oxybenzone, octinoxate, Butylparaben and 4-Methylbenzylidine Camphor). Also make an effort to buy an organic, biodegradable, non-toxic, reef-friendly product which hasn’t been tested on animals.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the labels, remember the Hawaii State Department’s slogans: ‘If You Can’t Say It, Don’t Spray It.

#2: Use one of these coral reef safe sunscreens instead

Here’s my top pick of the best coral reef safe sunscreens on the market.

1. The Green People

Green People Sun Lotion Image

The Green People produce a wide range of organic and natural sunscreens and skin-care products that are free from harsh chemicals and not tested on animals. Their award-winning sunscreen range is non-toxic, coral reef-safe and available in a range of SPFs. They also have a lovely product that’s great for the kids too.

2. Stream2Sea

Stream2Sea sunscreen

The biodegradable, performance-tested sunscreens from Stream2Sea are one of the best options if you’re a big fan of diving, snorkeling or just lazing it up in the sea. They offer both regular and tinted sunscreen and their prices are very affordable too.

3. Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s of Maine Sunscreen Image

Tom’s of Maine offer the most gorgeous coral reef safe baby sunscreen which is great for grown-ups too. It’s fragrance-free and created using just five ingredients to create a SPF30 reef-friendly sunscreen which you know won’t cause nasty skin issues or worsen ocean pollution.

4. Raw Elements

Raw Elements Sunscreen Image

Raw Elements certainly gets my vote as one of the best coral reef safe sunscreens out there. Just look at their mission: ‘to create the safest, most effective sunscreen on the planet’! And what they create is impressive – water-resistant, long-lasting, nano-free, certified natural and organic and safe for everyone!

5. Badger Healthy Body Care

Badger Healthy Body Care Sunscreen Image

Badger Body Care is a family-owned, family-operated, and family-friendly company and they’re pros at what they do- creating gorgeous, planet-friendly products which don’t cost the earth. They have a great range of sunscreens for babies and kids, active sports, and daily use that you know won’t go damaging any coral reefs or killing marine life any time soon.

6. Australia Gold Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotions

Australia Gold Botanical Sunscreen Mineral Lotions Image

Give yourself a taste of luxury with this beautifully scented, mineral sunscreen which is free from all kinds of nasties like oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, PABA, SLS, dyes, and oils. Available in SPF 30 and SPF50, it’s soft, non-greasy and feels lovely on your skin.

#3: Be sensible in the sun

Don’t forget there’s also a huge benefit to just being sensible in the sun. Instead of slapping on the sunscreen, protect your skin by covering up with regular clothing like t-shirts and sunhats.

Also, avoid those hotter midday hours between 11 am and 2 pm when the sun is strongest. You’ll still get your tan, but you’ll save dollars on sunscreen and protect those coral reefs too.

So next time you’re planning a trip to the beach, think twice about what sunscreen you’re using and opt for a natural, coral reef safe brand instead. Just one switch could help a coral reef survive or recover.

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