In many religious traditions, Hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict Hell as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict Hell as an intermediary period between incarnations. Typically these traditions located Hell under the external core of the Earth's surface and often included entrances to Hell from the land of the living. Other afterlife destinations included Heaven, Purgatory, Paradise, Nirvana, Naraka, and Limbo.
Other traditions, which did not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward, merely described it as an abode of the dead—a neutral place located under the surface of Earth.
Modern understandings of Hell often depict it abstractly, as a state of loss rather than as fiery torture literally underground, but this view of hell can, in fact, be traced back into the ancient and medieval periods as well.
Punishment in Hell typically corresponds to sins committed during life. Sometimes these distinctions are specific, with damned souls suffering for each sin committed, and sometimes they are general, with sinners being relegated to one or more chamber of Hell or level of suffering.
In many religious cultures, including Christianity and Islam, Hell is traditionally depicted as fiery and painful, inflicting guilt and suffering. Despite these common depictions of Hell as a place of fire, some other traditions also portray Hell as cold. In Buddhist, and particularly in Tibetan Buddhist, descriptions of hell, there are an equal number of hot and cold hells. Among Christian descriptions Dante's Inferno portrays the innermost (9th) circle of Hell as a frozen lake of blood and guilt, But cold also played a part in earlier Christian depictions of hell beginning with the Apocalypse of Paul, originally from the early third century; “The Vision of Drythelm” by the Venerable Bede from the seventh century; “St Patrick's Purgatory”, “The Vision of Tundale” or “Visio Tnugdali”, and the “Vision of the Monk of Enysham”, all from the twelfth century; and the “Vision of Thurkill” from the early thirteenth century.