WHAT IF GOD
ONE of us, anyway? WAS Where did I come from? How did I get here? Electric word life It means forever and that’s a mighty long time But I’m here to tell you There’s something else The afterworld Man has been asking itself these and many other questions for quite a while, and come up with a lot of different answers. Prayer. Sacrifice. Fasting. Ritual ablution. Eternity. Afterlife. Heaven. Hell. Limbo.
On Kenya's shores of Lake Victoria, these singers and dancers prepare a video for a church.
Iranian worshippers at Emam Mosque, Naghsh-e Jahan Square, Esfahan.
Quiet time at Sultan Ahmet mosque, Istanbul.
Offerings to the rulers depicted in stone reliefs, Persepolis, Iran.
The prayer hall of the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria.
A pillar stood where that boulder is. For 37 years St Simeon sat on top, with food, water and milk etc, hoisted up by pulley. Near Aleppo, Syria.
Offerings for the afterlife, Hatshepsut Temple, Luxor, Egypt.
Ornate burial caskets, Mummification Museum, Egypt.
The torii (gate) frames the first sunrise of the year, on a beach in Shizuoka, Japan.
Lining up for the first sunrise of the year, Fukude, Japan.
In Turkey's east, near its Syrian border, Sanliurfa is a fascinating, old melting pot. Cultures, races, religions, languages, and sects have been mixing here for centuries. Adjoining a mosque, this sacred pond is full of carp that have been protected since bfore the coming of Islam.
At the holy shrine of Ulugh Khan Jahan Ali, in Bagerhat, Bangladesh.
Jahan Ali migrated to Bengal under the Timurid empire around 1400, and built the Sixty Domed Mosque nearby.
A young woman on the steps of Indonesia's Baiturrahman Grand Mosque.
Parts of Bali deserve their reputation, but that doesn't mean the island should be avoided.
In a rice field near Ubud, Bali, an offering for the gods.
A man prays at the Grand Mosque, Banda Aceh, Sumatra. The surroundng area was flattened in the tsunami, but the mosques stood untouched.
Pilgrims descend from mountain churches near Hawzen, northern Ethiopia. Visiting many of the churches, which are carved into the rocks, involve precipitous hikes with rewarding views. The oldest date from the 5th centruy.
A worshipper prays in one of Lalibela's famed rock churches, Ethiopia.
Ovoo are sacred stone heaps used as altars or shrines in Mongolian. Ovoos are often found at the top of mountains and in high places, and Mongols passing them will treat them with reverence.
The historic silk road mosques and madrasas of Khiva and other Uzbek cities are often still living, thriving centres. Here a family reeceives blessings.
We were lucky enough to be in Bukhara, Uzbekistan on a Friday. The 18th century Bolo Hauz mosque fills its large prayer halls with grey beards who then retreat to the nearby chaikhana (tea shops) to relax under the shady trees.
A woman peers out from the Ismail Samani Mausoleum, tomb of the 9th century ruler of the area, now Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Devotees flock to midday prayers in the staunchly conservative Uzbek town of Andijon. Despite, or perhaps because of its reputation, we foind the town incredibly welcoming.
In the birthplace of Emir Timur, Shahrisabz, Uzbekistan, faithful pray at the Hazrat Imam Mosque. With its tree shaded court and wooden verandah, this 19th century complex is full of atmosphere.
The Ulugh Beg Madrasah is the oldest of the three buildings in Samarkand's Registan. Ulugh Beg was a famed astronomer as well as king.
Kids launch the sacred bird towards the chedi of Wat Lok Moli, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Spirit houses are an important part of Thai culture.
Drums, fire-crackers and cymbals burst into the evening for a Lion Dance in Tainan, Taiwan.
Tainan in southern Taiwan has a great number of historical but still active temples.
Colourful characters parading through the streets of Tainan, southern Taiwan, for a noisy temple festival.
In the modern wondworld of Taipei, worship in a Chinese temple remains untouched by time
Offerings carried by girls in a parade through the streets of Mae Sot, Thailand.
Young novice monks pray in Phra Aram Luang temple, Tha Ton, Thailand.
Buddhist monks in prayer, Tha Ton, northern Thailand.
Monks do their morning alms in Chiang Khan, Thailand. The town of temples and old wooden shops has become a magnet for Thai tourists.
A coin sits in the lips of an 11th century Khmer carving at Tam Muang, in Thailand. Is there any religious significance? Probably not.
Charity is a central tenent of Sikhism, and all temples serve free meals. Amritsar, in India, is the home to the Golden Temple, where more than 50,000 people are fed every day by volunteers sewadars (workers).