Designed to look like a sacred lotus flower, this temple has captured worldwide attention and continues to be one of the most beautiful in India.
India is a very diverse country and home to a range of different religions such as Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism. These are just a few of the religions found in India and the Baha’i Faith is often overlooked. It is a relatively new religion established in the 19th century and originated in Iran and other parts of the Middle East.
The Baha’i House of Worship, the Lotus Temple, in Delhi is one of the most eye-catching Houses of Worship in all of India. It is also one of the most visited buildings on the planet. It stands out for its ornate shape and has become a major attraction in the massive city.
History and Purpose of the Lotus Temple
According to the Lotus Temple website, the temple “represents the principle of the unity of mankind. People of all racial, religious and national backgrounds are welcome to pray and meditate within its grounds.”
The Lotus Temple was inaugurated in December 1986 and, like all Baha’i places of worship, it is open to all. It is open to all people, regardless of religion or belief – like the must-see Sheikh Golden Temple in Amritsar, India.
- Dedicated: December 1986
- Located: Delhi, India
- Members: About 5 million members
The building is made up of 27 “petals” covered in marble. These are arranged in groups of three and form nine sides, with nine doors opening into the central hall. Surrounding the flower petals of the temple are nine pools of water. Come at dusk and they look lit up.
- Capacity: 2,500 people (seats for 1,300 people)
The Lotus Temple is so unique that it has won numerous architectural awards and is often featured in various magazines.
It is the last of seven or eight major Baha’i temples built in the world and is set amongst lush landscaped gardens. It is constructed of pure white marble according to Delhi Tourism. The lotus flower was used because the flower is a common symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.
- Lotus flower: The design of the lotus temple is inspired by the lotus flower
It turned out to be a very popular place to visit. Some 70 million people would have visited it in 2001 and more than 100 million in 2014.
Worship and prayer service
According to the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’í Houses of Worship should be a space for people of all faiths to worship, reflect and come together. Here, one can not only read the sacred writings of the Baha’i faith, but also those of others and in any language. But one can only read here a scriptural text of the religion. The reading of non-biblical texts is prohibited.
- Musical instruments: No musical instruments are allowed to play inside
The prayer service consists of prayers and readings from different scriptures. During the prayer service, the exit door to the prayer room is closed. Prayer services last 10 to 15 minutes.
- Duration of prayer service: 10 to 15 minutes
- Prayer service times: 10 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m.
Lotus Temple Tour
Today, anyone can visit (and it’s easy to get there by metro). It’s a great opportunity to not only see and marvel at one of the most unique architectural designs in the world, but also to learn about an often forgotten religion. Here one can learn all about the Baha’i Faith and see who they are. They are not only in India but all over the world and their houses of worship can be found in many countries.
- Open: The temple is open to all people of all faiths for prayer or meditation
- Admission: To free
- Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday
- Firm: Sundays
- Nearest metro: Kalkaji Mandir Metro Station (5 minute walk)
If one cannot visit the temple in person, it is also possible to take a virtual tour with Google Maps of the temple and grounds.
While the Lotus Temple may be one of the newest major temples in the world, one of the oldest and most spectacular is Angkor Wat in Cambodia – it really is a must for everyone to see and to explore.
The Lotus Temple also has an information center. It is built to state-of-the-art specifications and is intended to educate visitors about the Bahá’í Faith. He does this through photo panels, written texts and films. There is also a visitors’ gallery which focuses on the history of the faith and its philosophy as well as their socio-economic development activities.
- Visiting hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Opening days : Monday to Saturday
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