The Lotus Temple – A Unique Place of Worship
The Lotus Temple also known as the Bahai House of Worship is located in Delhi, India and is one of the most remarkable architectural marvels in the country. Being one of the most visited tourist spots in India, the temple welcomes visitors from all across the globe for meditation, prayers and study. Being a popular tourist attraction of Delhi, it has a unique aspect to it. Unlike other places of worship which have a deity people pray to, the Lotus Temple welcomes people of all faiths.
Known for its flower-like shape, the building consists of 27 marble-clad ‘petals’ arranged in clusters of 3 to form 9 sides. The building cost a total of $10 million to complete, with 9 doors opening into a central hall with a capacity of 2,500 people.
The architect behind this spectacular building is Fariborz Sahba, an Iranian who currently resides in Canada. He was awarded several recognitions for this work from GlobArt Academy, Institution of Structural Engineers and more. The Lotus Temple was also featured in Encyclopedia Britannia and Guinness World Records. He designed it in 1976 and oversaw its construction. The structural design itself was undertaken by British firm Flint and Neill over the course of 18 months, and construction was done by Larsen & Toubro Limited. Majority of the funds needed for the land was donated by Ardishir Rustampur of Hyderabad, who used all his life savings to complete this project.
The building echoes the teachings of the Bahai faith, a religion that teaches the essential worth of all religions, unity and equality of all. People of all religions visit the Lotus Temple to worship the creator of the universe, and not just one particular deity. No ritualistic ceremonies or sermons are allowed to be performed inside the temple. The temple also do not have any pictures, statues or images displayed. Activities like children’s classes, junior youth classes, devotional meetings and study circles are offered by the community.
The Bahai House of Worship in India is one of the seven houses of such kind, with others being located in Australia, Panama, Samoa, Uganda, Germany and the USA. The temple opens every day from Tuesday to Sunday and there is no entry fee or restriction for anyone to enter. The temple is reported to be visited by over 4 million people annually, with an average of 10,000 visitors daily.