‘Panama’s Hardest-to-Find Destination’?

On my first two visits to Panama I tried, unsuccessfully, to get to the bizarre “Bahai Egg.”

My first attempt, five years ago, (without a GPS) involved trying to navigate with a map given to me by the car rental company and an outdated guide-book. The “Bahai Egg,” also known by its actual name The Bahai Temple, sits on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the city, valley and jungle around it.

On this trip, I could see the snow-white, egg-like structure perched on its hill—but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get to it. After several attempts, each involving paying a toll on a nearby main road, I had to throw in the towel.

I was better prepared for my second attempt two years ago. I was armed with a GPS that showed the temple. I set out confident I would make it this time…until the GPS led me right into construction on the road leading to the temple entrance. I consulted the GPS for an alternative route…and it began to struggle.

After being led into a residential neighborhood in the opposite direction from where I was supposed to go, and another toll charge, it was time to call it a day. Again.

On my third visit to Panama, I wouldn’t be denied. I researched thoroughly, checked the GPS had an updated map and set off. My research suggested I should look for a large black steel gate with gold filigree decoration close to the temple. With half the time and a fraction of the hassle, at my third attempt, I found it.

The Bahai House of Worship, completed in 1972, is one of only eight in the world. The idea is that it acts as a gathering place where people of all religions can worship God without denominational restrictions. No sermons are delivered here and no ritualistic ceremonies practiced. It’s simply a place for quiet contemplation.

It serves as the mother temple of Latin America. Perched high on the Cerro Sonsonate or “Singing Hill” overlooking the city, its egg-like dome covered with thousands of small oval tiles makes for a striking sight.

Once inside, I immediately felt like I was beyond the reach of the hustle and bustle of the city below. There’s an obvious serenity as you circle the temple, viewing the city below and vistas of the jungle and hills.

Anyone is welcome to enter the building, which is open and airy and has a simple shiny marble floor. The temple is elegantly equipped with beautifully finished highly polished wooden benches. You can sit and collect your thoughts for a few moments and enjoy the breezes…silence…presence and the beauty of this place. Then you continue on with your busy day.

I took a number of photos on those trips to Panama. I uploaded them to microstock websites who then help me sell them. This simple method takes the hassle out of making money from photography…and it offsets the cost of my vacations. It’s really easy—and it’s open to anyone with a camera.

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