Spiritual Tourism Has Travelers Asking The Big Questions

RIO DE JANEIRO — Tourists from around the world prostrate themselves on the narrow terrace before the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue on the Corcovado Mountain overlooking Rio — not to meditate on the statue’s religious significance, but to pose for photographs and selfies.

But in a tiny chapel most of these visitors do not appear to notice on their way to the gift shops and snack bars, a handful of people kneel quietly and pray.

They’re among a fast-growing number of travelers doing more than lying on beaches and roaming through museums. They’re seeking spiritual encounters, from private healing ceremonies with a shaman in Peru and Sufi meditation sessions in India to monastery stays in northern Thailand and Christian pilgrimages to Fátima and Lourdes.

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