Day 7: Ridvan Garden and Akka

Sunday, January 9, 2011 – We were scheduled to meet at 11:15 AM to go to visit the Garden of Ridvan and the House of ‘Abdu’llah Pasha. Then we went for another presentation at 8 PM at the ITC building, this time by Kiser Barnes who is a member of the Universal House of Justice.

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Day 6: Free Day

Saturday, January 8, 2011 – This was one of our free days. We were invited to a delightful brunch at Samira and Doug’s home with their daughter Shirin and son Naim and with fellow pilgrims, Chelsea and Dariush and baby Quincy Quddus. Then we went to Bahji for the rest of the day and into the evening. Both the mansion and the shrine were open till 8 PM. It was glorious to be in Bahji again!

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Day 5: Archives

Friday, January 7, 2011 – We headed up the mountain for our 12:30 PM appointment at the International Archives Building. Each of the groups has about 40 pilgrims, but that’s too many to take all at once into the building, so Jamsheed, our pilgrimage guide, arranged us into smaller groups, each going to the archives at a different time and day. The tour took about 2 hours, beginning with a short video which was shown in the new mini-theatre on the basement level, created during the archive renovation project. It was a fascinating afternoon, seeing all the various items on display there and thinking about how carefully the archivists worked to preserve everything.

Then at 8:00 PM in the evening, we gathered at the International Teaching Centre for a presentation.

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Day 4: Visiting the Mansions

Thursday, January 6, 2011 – “Be at the bus stop by no later than 8 AM or you will miss the bus” was running through my head as we rushed to get ready for another day full of wonder and beauty.

Bus Stop Group

Waiting with friends at the bus stop

I think this was the day we got to the bus stop and I realized there was no place open for me to grab a coffee. Teddy and Nahimeh arrived from their hotel across the street to wait for the bus with us. As I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t get my coffee, Teddy decided he had time to grab one for me from his hotel across the street. What a guy! I will always remember that kindness. Thanks Teddy! (None of us missed the bus.)

 

This was day 4 of our 9 day pilgrimage. On this day, we went to the Mansion of Mazra’ih and the Mansion of Bahji. Each was called a mansion by the original owner of the properties. When Baha’u’llah was living in and around Akka, these were both places where He lived after being allowed to leave the Akka prison. And they were so very beautiful to visit. Photos were easy to take because everywhere I looked, there was beauty.

Mazra'ih

View from the garden and orchard at Mazra'ih

At Mazra’ih, after we visited the inside of the mansion, we had time to walk through the gardens and orchard. We were allowed to pick oranges and grapefruits from the trees, too! There were so many to pick. Yum.

We left Mazra’ih too soon. I wished I could have stayed all day. Yet, the next stop was just as incredible… going inside the mansion at Bahji. This is the last residence of Baha’u’llah, and it is where He died. Next to the mansion is the Shrine where He is buried and which Baha’is consider the Holiest Spot on the earth.

Path near the Shrine and the Mansion

Path near the Shrine and the Mansion

The shrine of Baha’u’llah was open for us to visit anytime from 1 PM to 8 PM on this day. Pilgrims were invited to take any of the pilgrim buses that were departing at 7 different times to go back to Haifa. We stayed until nearly the last bus. It was so relaxing, so calming, and enlivening to be there, walking the grounds, taking photos with friends, and praying at the Shrine.

Near the Mansion

Kelsey and I near the mansion entrance

Mansion at Bahji

Walkway leading to the Mansion at Bahji

Mazra'ih

View of Mazra'ih from the garden

 

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