The Silk Road was a series of routes leading from China to Western Civilization. Used primarily as trade routes, these heavily used pathways also allowed the transmission of Buddhism, Taoism, and other religious and cultural practices along its great length. As the Silk Road wandered through the Far East and what would become the Middle East it picked up elements of Persian and Arabic Islam as well as Hindi polytheism, and Christian Eastern Orthodoxy. Flowing like a great river, it combined cultures, religions, and thoughts.
Throughout the history of the Silk Road, the various religions have built temples and shrines along its length in an effort to serve pilgrims, monks, and holy men alike. Whether it is the cave temples located in Dunhuang or the Sugong Mosque, the entire length of the Silk Road could be a retreat, a walking meditation in and of itself.
The path of pilgrimage combined not only the trip to a specific holy location but the separation from the day-to-day life as the pilgrim moved along the route. This walking meditation can be seen not only in the Eastern stories of Buddha but also similar Western ones such as the Tales of Chaucer. This walking meditation or pilgrimage can be experienced on a smaller scale hiking or walking in a local area.