The Bahai Lotus Temple in Delhi is a house of worship of the Bahai Faith and an architectural landmark in the City. Inspired by the lotus flower, the Temple has 27 free-standing marble clad "petals" arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides. It has won numerous awards for Architecture and is a gathering place for people of all Faiths.The Bahai Lotus temple attracts more visitors than even the Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal. Find out why.
The Bahai Lotus Temple is located east of Nehru Place in South Delhi. It is in fact just opposite the Old Kalkaji Temple. The easiest way to reach Bahai Lotus Temple is by taking Metro and getting down at Kalkaji Mandir Station. Buses and Taxis are also available from various parts of Delhi.
Bahai Lotus Temple is open on all days except Mondays. Timings are 9am-7pm in summers and 930am – 530pm in winters. Prayer sessions are held 4 times in a day at 1000 hrs. - 1015 hrs. 1200 hrs. - 1215 hrs. 1500 hrs. - 1515 hrs. and 1700 hrs. - 1715 hrs.
The Bahai Lotus Temple complex is spread over 26 acres. The architecture of Lotus Temple follows the principles laid out by the Bahai Faith. `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, stipulated that an essential architectural character of a House of Worship is a nine-sided circular shape.
Fariborz Sahba, an Iranian National based out of Canada, was the architect of the Bahai Lotus Temple. Ardishír Rustampúr of Hyderabad was the chief patron for funding the Lotus Temple. He infact donated savings of his entire Life to help get the Lotus Temple up.
The Bahai Lotus Temple has 27 free-standing marble clad "petals" arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides. Nine doors, one from each side open into a Hall. White marble from Penteli mountain in Greece has been used to build the house of worship.
The nine ponds in each of the 9 sides along with beautifully manicured gardens add on to the divine ambience of this complex.
There are certain things not allowed in the Bahai Lotus Temple as per Bahai laws. Sermons, religious images, ritualistic ceremonies and playing musical instruments are not allowed inside the complex.
Prayer Sessions are held 4 times during the day when people from all faiths come and recite their prayers quietly. Selections from the holy books of all religions are recited or chanted during the period. Hymns are chanted by a choir for inspiration. There is an Information Center that provides information on different facets of the Bahai Faith in the form of photographs, written texts and films.
Right since inception, The Bahai Lotus Temple has won several awards for Architecture. On 25 June 1987, the Institution of Structural Engineers U.K. gave their special award to the Temple which they called: "a building so emulating the beauty of a flower and so striking in its visual impact". On 28 June 1988, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America conferred the Paul Waterbury Outdoor Lighting Design Award - Special Citation. The 1994 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, in its 'Architecture' section gives recognition to the Temple as an outstanding achievement of the time.
The Bahai Lotus Temple is considered the most visited building in the world attracts more visitors than even the Eiffel Tower in Paris or The Taj Mahal in Agra! As many as 150000 people have come on a single day to the Bahai Lotus Temple.The Delhi Temple is the only Bahai Temple in all of Asia. Other Bahai Temples are located in Panama, Kampala, Illinois, Frankfurt, Sydney and West Samoa.
Fariborz Sahba, the architect of Bahai Lotus Temple got a brief to design a Temple that reflected the rich cultural heritage of India but at the same time was compatible with the cardinal principle of the Bahá'í Faith about the unity of religions. He travelled to all parts of India to get inspiration for arriving at the design.
Fariborz was suggested the Lotus by several people of Bahai Faith he met during his travels in India. He was drawn to the Lotus at Ajanta and Ellora where lotus flowers on the walls depicted the throne of the Gods. He read in the Mahabharata that the Creator Brahma sprung from the lotus that grew out of Lord Vishnu's navel when that deity lay absorbed in meditation. He read about Lord Buddha saying “you have to be like a lotus which, although living in dirty water, still remains beautiful and undefiled by its surroundings”.
Finally he chose the Lotus because of the respect and spontaneity it evoked from people across India.
Baha’u’llah was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith in the late 19th century. He believed that humanity is one single race and that the age has come for its unification in a global society. He was persecuted for his beliefs by the Persian and Ottoman authorities. He encouraged some of his followers to move to India. Hájí Sayyid Mírzá and Sayyid Muhammad who had become Bábís after meeting Baha’u’llah in Baghdad in the 1850s, laid the foundation of the religion in India. Today India has the largest population of people of Bahai faith numbering more than 2 million.
After visiting Bahai Lotus Temple, you can also have a look at Kalkaji Temple, Khirki Masjid, Satpula, Nizamuddin's Shrine and Chirag Dehlvi's Dargah.
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