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Lotus Temple is a Bahai House of Worship in the village of Bahapur, New Delhi. It is known worldwide for its unique architectural design. The lotus temple is one of the last seven Major Bahai’s temples constructed across the globe. It has been completed in the year 1986 and beautifully set among the lush green gardens landscaped of the Metro.
Made from pure white marble by architect Furiburz Sabha, the temple manifests itself as a half-open lotus flower, afloat, surrounded by its leaves. But why was the lotus symbol chosen? What importance does the lotus have in India?
Photo credit: www.worldtoptop.com
The choice of lotus was based on ensuring common interest of different religions of India – the Hinduism, Buddhism, Bahai, Jainism, and Islam. People from all faiths can visit the temple and meditate or pray. The blooming petals of lotus are circumscribed by nine pools of water lit up through natural light.
Since its inauguration the Lotus Temple became one of the most visited buildings in the world. In some years numbers of visitors surpassed those of the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal – quite an endorsement. That’s why the Lotus Temple became a ‘must see’ on my list.
Lotus temple is situated near Kalkaji Metro Station. This makes metro railway one of the best public transport options to reach the temple. Bus is another public transport you can use, but we opted to hire a taxi from the hotel to get there.
We arrived at 9:00 am and the area was already jam-packed with visitors – from all walks of life, young and old. This is a living example of the openness and equality promoted by Bahai Faith.
The temple is on the far end of the gardens. We walked like everyone else who wanted to see the temple. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the walk, taking pictures along the way and seemingly oblivious to the heat. After all, it was worth the discomfort as the temple is spectacular.
We’ve been directed to the Prayer Hall through a side path where you will have to remove your shoes. We stayed inside for 5 minutes, in the unusually meditative silence, before we were ask to exit in order to allow next batch of visitors to enter the Prayer Hall.
Photo credit: www.bahaimedia.org.
Here is how the inside of the temple looks like. But please do note that cameras, video cameras or mobile phones must not be used inside the Prayer Hall .
Photo credit: www.bahaimedia.org.
On top of the dome is a sunburst. The symbol inside featured three parallel lines intersected down the middle by another line and flanked by two stars.
During that short stay I was able to experience calmness like never before. Maybe I’ve just imagined it, but the whole space, with its high lotus ceiling, seemed to radiate with uncommon peacefulness and calm. One is allowed to read or quietly chant from Holy Scriptures of any religion, but not to play musical instruments, give sermons or hold religious ceremonies inside the hall. This exemplifies the true nature of Bahai tradition, which lays emphasis on meditation as a means to experience divinity.
After exiting the Prayer Hall you’ll meet volunteers providing leaflets containing information about the Bahai Faith and the House of Worship, which is available in various Indian and foreign languages.
Lotus Temple is truly a sight to behold, and its universal availability to all seeking spiritual fulfillment only adds to its breath-taking physical splendor.