On the island of Bali in Indonesia, Hindu devotees believe that demonic spirits stalk the land, and that every year they must be hunted down. The hunters use spirit traps to catch them, and then destroy the spirits with fire. The final step is the Day of Silence when everyone on the island is required by law to stay indoors and keep quiet.
In a sacred tepee built for the occasion, Mescalero Apache girls undergo a grueling Coming of Age ceremony during which they must dance all night. It is believed this allows them to take on the power of White Painted Woman and so become women themselves.
Follow a young Yazidi woman as she searches for salvation in Iraq. Meet an orthodox Christian who must deliver a holy flame into the hands of his bishop in Jerusalem. In Nepal, a Buddhist painter battles the elements to honor Buddha’s birthday.
It's the day of the replastering of the Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali. The rivalry to replaster the central minaret is so fierce, the day begins with a race between the masons to reach the top first. As dawn breaks, the masons get to work. But now they have the rest of the mosque to replaster and they must complete the job before the mud dries out.
Travel to Japan, where a Shinto devotee undertakes a grueling challenge at a sacred waterfall. A young Muslim helps re-plaster a mosque in Mali. At a New York City cathedral, an Episcopal priest brings people and their pets closer to God.
It's the morning of the Feast of St. Francis, patron saint of animals. At the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, animals and their handlers are arriving for the grand procession down the cathedral's aisle to be blessed by the Bishop of New York.
Meet a Muslim paramedic who helps fasting worshippers during Ramadan in Jerusalem. A Cambodian man risks his live to save his ancestral spirits from the jungle. A Buddhist warrior monk in China faces a test that will change his life forever.
The temples of Angkor in Cambodia are constantly threatened by jungle plants taking root. Today the gardeners must climb the high towers of Angkor Wat to remove saplings they have spotted growing on the ancient stonework.
Hundreds of thousands of worshippers flock to Al Aqsa in Jerusalem to pray on the Night of Power near the end of Ramadan. It's the holiest date in the Muslim calendar and the busiest night of the year at Al Aqsa. The volunteer paramedics of the Red Crescent treat a steady stream of casualties, many of them with injuries caused by overcrowding.
Many of the world’s best-known landmarks have been inspired by faith and today more worshippers than ever are flocking to these sacred places. For some people they’re sanctuaries for quiet contemplation. For others, they’re sites for astonishing acts of worship, dangerous challenges and extraordinary deeds of devotion. Discover what people do for faith in some of the most sacred places on Earth.