Introduction: House of the Divine (01:57)
Worshipers flock to landmarks inspired by faith; many places are at the center of controversies. This episode will feature the Great Mosque of Djenné in Mali, Nachi Falls in Japan, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, and more.
Great Mosque of Djenné (05:27)
Many sacred landmarks have stood for centuries. Baber Djennepo and other masons re-plaster the 13th century mud building every year to prevent collapse. Townspeople gather mud in preparation and Djennepo teaches the Qur'an to his children; he hopes to plaster the central minaret.
Annual Re-plastering (04:44)
Senior masons announce the start of the event; Djennepo wins the right to plaster the central minaret. Throughout the day, women carry water to keep the mud wet and mud carriers supply the masons with fresh mud.
Nachi Falls (06:09)
Most sacred landmarks are man-made; the 436' waterfall in Japan is sacred. Shinto devotees believe Kami inhabit all of nature. Chikara Murai will be a torch-bearer in the annual ceremony to purify the Kami's path to the falls; he practices carrying the 110lb torch.
Fire Festival (04:01)
A Shinto priest honors Nachi Falls and spectators gather to watch the Kami's journey to the falls. Murai and other torch-bearers work in pairs to purify the path.
Some sacred places are in remote locations. Jewish people from around the world visit the 2,000-year-old ruins where Jews made their final stand against Roman invaders. Jacob and Mia Zaretsky will have their Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies in the ancient synagogue.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah (05:49)
Jacob and Mia undergo the religious rites passage in the presence of their family at Masada. Their parents welcome them to adulthood.
The Golden Temple (05:17)
Many sacred landmarks are designed to welcome the masses. A holy lake surrounds the 400-year-old Sikh temple. Tajinder Singh will serve food to thousands during the Vaisakhi Festival.
Vaisakhi Festival (04:57)
Crowds gather to pay homage to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Singh prepares food and serves devotees in the Langar; they nearly run out of lentil daal. He prays in the Pool of Nectar at the end of the day.
Cathedral of St. John the Divine (04:33)
Some sacred landmarks have been enlarged to accommodate large crowds. Rev. Patti Welch has seen a reduction of worshipers at the world's largest Anglican cathedral. She oversees the Feast of St. Francis.
Feast of St. Francis (05:42)
Over 2,000 people and their pets attend the service at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Welch organizes handlers who lead procession animals down the aisle for a blessing from the bishop.
Credits: House of the Divine (00:30)
Credits: House of the Divine
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