A trip to Jerusalem in Israel is like going on a historical exploration to one of the most religious and sacred cities of the world. Jerusalem is immensely holy centre of pilgrimage for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Since medieval times, it was attacked, looted and ravaged by so many powerful rulers. Today, Jerusalem is the world’s most vibrant tourist cities, having ancient relics and medieval monuments that are drawing tourists to visit in ever increasing numbers. Let’s plan a trip to Jerusalem from India and see its major attractions.
Available flights from India for Jerusalem
You can search flights to Jerusalem through Skyscanner. There are many airlines with cheap flight tickets and great deals on airfares. From India, EL AL Israel Airlines is a direct flight to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, which is close to Jerusalem. You also get flights with one-stop or two-stops to Tel Aviv. They however cost more than the direct flight airline and also take more time. Turkish Airlines stop at Istanbul en route to Tel Aviv. Uzbekistan Airways makes a stop at Tashkent on the way to Tel Aviv.
Must see tourist sites in Jerusalem
1. The Western Wall
It’s also called the Wailing Wall, as Jews from the world over, come here to lament over the destruction of their temples by the Romans. It is the holiest places for the Jews. Worshippers come here with prayers and wishes, which are scribbled on scraps of paper, and places in cracks of the wall.
2. Temple Mount
An incredibly holy site in Jerusalem, Temple Mount is in the Old City of Jerusalem. It’s a wonderful monument of Islamic architecture. For Muslims, this is where Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven. For Jews, this is where Abraham offered his son for sacrifice.
3. Church of the Holy Sepulchre
In Jerusalem, this is a most sacred site for Christians. This is where Jesus Christ was crucified, and was resurrected. The church has beautiful interiors, and contains holy relics and many chambers.
4. Mount Zion
Built on a hill, Mount Zion contains a number of churches and Muslim shrines. Jews regard this is the place of King David’s tomb, and for Christians, this is the place where Jesus Christ held his Last Supper.
5. Yad Vashem (Hill of Remembrance)
This campus in Jerusalem was built to honor victims of Nazi death camps. There is an eternal flame for the dead, and a room containing names of the dead. There is an art museum, gardens, sculptures and many other exhibits.
6. Four Quarters of the Old City
Old City of Jerusalem has four quarters i.e. Jewish Quarter, Christian Quarter, Muslim Quarter and Armenian Quarter. Each quarter is unique with its own shops, religious attractions, narrow streets and lanes, market places, places to eat and archaeological wonders.
Jerusalem has some astonishing museums and art galleries, which have a rich collection of art, history, archaeology, heritage and science. Some of them are Bible Lands Museum, Davidson Center, Tower of David Museum, Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Bloomfield Science Museum, Friends of Zion Museum, and many others.
Local transportation available in Jerusalem
Buses are a convenient way to move in Jerusalem. You can also travel by light-rail or Tramway, though it is slow. Instead of paper tickets, you can opt for the Rav-Kav electronic card, which is valid for both buses and tramway. Taxis or cabs also run on the streets of Jerusalem, in which you can move about in the city.
Visa requirements for visiting Jerusalem from India
Indians need a visa on a passport before visiting Jerusalem. Israel does not issue a visa on arrival. You will need a valid Indian passport. You can apply for a Tourist Visa, also known as B/2 visa, which is valid for 3 months from its date of issue. You can apply through a travel agent.
Excursions from Jerusalem
From Jerusalem, you can go on day trips and excursions to some fabulous scenic attractions and historical landmarks nearby. Bethlehem, Sea of Galilee and Nazareth, all of these have innumerable places associated with Jesus Christ. There’s also the ancient fortress of Masada and the archaeological wonders of Petra. You can go on a tour of the Dead Sea, and visit the wildlife of Ein Gadi Reserve and the Judean Desert tours.
You can also visit cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa, both of which are situated along the Mediterranean Sea. Visit northern Israel and Jordan, and experience Bedouin hospitality and humble fishermen villages.