There are some locations that simply have an air of sanctity about them. Hills and mountains are often chosen as holy places and make you feel closer to the heavens. For example, the rocky monastic retreat of Skellig Michael, off the coast of Ireland, where Christianity hung on in the 9th century; the mountain-like Buddhist temple of Borobudur in Java, and China’s spectacular sacred mountains. The Chinese word for pilgrimage derives from an expression meaning ‘paying respect to a holy mountain’.

The place I’m headed in southern India is nothing like these, yet it also feels sacred. It’s low ...


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