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23 holy places that promise a connection with nature

March 24, 2014, 1:53 p.m.
Taung Kalat monastery on Mount Popa

Photo: Trofimov Denis/Shutterstock

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Mount Popa

With 777 steps to the summit, Taung Kalat Monastery sits a volcanic plug called Mount Popa. An oasis in the arid region of Myanmar, the temples are dedicated to "Nats" (natural spirits revered by the Burmese), alongside Buddhism. Legend has it that Mount Popa was created as a refuge for two sibling nats who were trying to hide from a king. Interesting superstitions accompany this holy site — if you ever decide to visit, tradition cautions against wearing red, black or green (and leave the pork at home, because it'll offend the nats).