Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit a temple that welcomes people of all faiths and beliefs? A temple that is shaped like a giant lotus flower and is surrounded by serene pools and gardens? A temple that is one of the most visited buildings in the world and has won numerous awards for its architectural excellence and social impact?
If you are curious to know more about such a temple, then you are in luck. In this article, we will take you on a virtual tour of the Lotus Temple, a Bahai House of Worship and a symbol of peace and unity among different religions in Delhi.
The History and Significance of the Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple is not just a beautiful building, but also a place of great historical and spiritual significance. It is one of the nine Bahai Houses of Worship around the world, which are open to people of all religions, races, and cultures. The Bahai faith is a monotheistic religion that originated in Iran in the 19th century. It teaches the oneness of God, humanity, and religion, and emphasizes the importance of prayer and meditation for spiritual growth.
The idea of building a Bahai House of Worship in India was conceived by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahai faith, in 1953. He envisioned a temple that would reflect the diversity and unity of India and its people. He also chose Delhi as the location for the temple, as it was the capital city and a cultural hub of India. The project was initiated by Ardishir Rustampur, an Iranian Bahai who donated his entire life savings for buying the land for the temple. He passed away in 1972, before seeing his dream come true.
The design competition for the temple was held in 1976, and attracted more than 200 entries from around the world. The winner was Fariborz Sahba, an Iranian-American architect who was inspired by the lotus flower as the shape of the temple. He chose the lotus flower because it is a symbol of purity, beauty, spirituality, and diversity in many cultures and religions. He also wanted to create a contrast between the white marble structure and the green landscape around it.
The construction of the temple began in 1980 and took 10 years to complete. It involved more than 800 engineers, technicians, artisans, and workers from India and abroad. It also required more than 10,000 pieces of white marble that were cut and assembled with precision and accuracy. The temple was inaugurated on December 24, 1986, by Rabbani Ruhiyyih Khanum, the wife of Shoghi Effendi. Since then, it has welcomed millions of visitors from all walks of life who come to admire its beauty and experience its tranquility.
The Lotus Temple has also received recognition and awards from various national and international organizations for its architectural excellence, social impact, and environmental sustainability. Some of these awards are:
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1989, which is one of the most prestigious awards for architecture in the world.
The Globe Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2000, which is given by the International Federation for Housing and Planning.
The Guinness World Record for being the most visited building in a year in 2001, with more than 4.4 million visitors.
The Architecture and Design of the Lotus Temple
The Lotus Temple is not only a masterpiece of engineering and craftsmanship but also a marvel of art and aesthetics. It is designed to resemble a lotus flower with 27 petals made of white marble that rise from nine pools of water. The petals are arranged in three layers: nine outer petals that form the entrance canopies; nine intermediate petals that form the roof; and nine inner petals that form the dome. The dome has a height of 40 meters (131 feet) and a diameter of 70 meters (230 feet) at its base.
The interior structure consists of a central hall that can accommodate up to 2,500 people at a time. The hall has no idols or images but only a simple podium with scriptures from various religions. The hall is illuminated by natural light that enters through the skylight at the top of the dome.
The acoustic system is designed to enhance the sound quality without using any speakers or microphones. The ventilation system is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature without using any fans or air conditioners.
The exterior structure is surrounded by nine pools of water that reflect the image of the temple and create a cooling effect. The pools are connected by walkways that lead to the main entrance. The landscaping around the temple includes lush green lawns, colorful flowers, shady trees, and benches for visitors to relax and enjoy nature.
Also check out: Lotus Temple Delhi: The Ever Blooming
The Experience and Attractions of Visiting the Lotus Temple
Visiting the Lotus Temple is not only a visual delight but also a spiritual journey. It is a place where you can experience the beauty and harmony of different religions and cultures. It is also a place where you can find peace and serenity in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city.
Here are some things you need to know before you visit the Lotus Temple:
How to reach:
The Lotus Temple is located in Kalkaji, South Delhi. You can reach it by various modes of transport, such as metro, bus, auto rickshaw, taxi etc. The nearest metro station is Kalkaji Mandir, which is about 1 km (0.6 miles) away from the temple. The address and phone number of the temple are:
When to visit:
The Lotus Temple is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 9 am to 7 pm in summer (April to September) and from 9 am to 5:30 pm in winter (October to March). Monday is a closed day for the temple.
The best time to visit the temple is in the morning or evening, when the weather is pleasant and the crowd is less. You can also visit the temple during some special events or festivals, such as the International Day of Peace (September 21), the World Religion Day (third Sunday of January), or the Bahai New Year (March 21).
What to do:
The main attraction of visiting the Lotus Temple is to enter the central hall and meditate or pray in silence. You can also listen to some devotional songs or chants from various religions that are played at regular intervals. You can also take photos of the temple from outside, but photography is not allowed inside the hall.
You can also explore the gardens and pools around the temple and enjoy their beauty and tranquility. You can also visit the library, the museum, and the information center that are located within the temple complex. They provide more information and insights on the Bahai faith and its teachings.
What not to do:
While visiting the Lotus Temple, you need to follow some rules and guidelines to respect its sanctity and security. Some of these are:
1. Dress modestly and cover your head with a scarf or a cap.
2. Remove your shoes and leave them in the shoe racks provided at the entrance.
3. Do not carry any food, drinks, tobacco, or alcohol inside the temple.
4. Do not make any noise or disturb others who are meditating or praying.
5. Do not touch or damage any part of the temple structure or its surroundings.
6. Do not litter or pollute the temple premises.
What to see:
Apart from the Lotus Temple itself, there are some other attractions or places of interest that you can visit along with or after visiting the temple. Some of these are:
ISKCON Temple: A Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. It is located about 1 km (0.6 miles) away from the Lotus Temple and is known for its beautiful architecture, sculptures, paintings, and festivals.
Kalkaji Mandir: A Hindu temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, who is considered as a form of Shakti or divine energy. It is located about 1 km (0.6 miles) away from the Lotus Temple and is one of the oldest and most revered temples in Delhi.
Nehru Place: A commercial and business center that is famous for its electronic markets, shops, restaurants, and cinemas. It is located about 2 km (1.2 miles) away from the Lotus Temple and is a popular destination for shopping and entertainment.
Best Places to Stay Near Lotus Temple
If you are planning to visit the Lotus Temple in Delhi, you might be wondering where to stay near this magnificent attraction. Well, you are in luck, because there are plenty of options for you to choose from, depending on your budget, preferences, and needs. Here are some of the best places to stay near the Lotus Temple:
Nuo by Justa:
This is a 4-star hotel that offers comfortable and spacious rooms with modern amenities and facilities. It is located about 1.1 km (0.6 miles) away from the Lotus Temple and has a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, and a rooftop terrace. The staff is very nice and courteous, and the food is delicious.
Sheraton New Delhi Hotel:
This is a 5-star hotel that boasts of its elegant and luxurious rooms with stunning views of the city. It is located about 1.3 km (0.8 miles) away from the Lotus Temple and has a pool, a spa, a gym, and four dining options. The location is convenient for shopping and sightseeing and the service is impeccable.
This is a cozy and charming homestay that provides a home away from home experience. It is located about 1.4 km (0.9 miles) away from the Lotus Temple and has three bedrooms with attached bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a balcony. The host is friendly and helpful and the breakfast is homemade and healthy.
This is a trendy and fun hostel that caters to backpackers and solo travelers. It is located about 1 km (0.6 miles) away from the Lotus Temple and has dorms and private rooms with colorful decor and quirky art. It also has a common area, a terrace, a library, and a cafe. The atmosphere is lively and social, and the staff is welcoming and informative.
The Lotus Temple is a unique and remarkable place that showcases the beauty and harmony of different religions and cultures. It is a place where you can experience peace and serenity in a chaotic world. It is a place where you can learn more about yourself and others through prayer and meditation.
You may also like to check out: Lotus temple - an architectural marvel
If you are looking for a destination that will inspire you and enrich you spiritually, then you should definitely visit the Lotus Temple in Delhi. You will not regret it.
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