An edifice dedicated to the Baha’i faith, the magnificent structure of Lotus Temple is situated in New Delhi. It is one of the most visited establishments in the world which unfolds in the form of a stupendous white petal lotus. The design for the temple was created by Iranian-American architect Fariborz Sahba and it was completed in 1986. The Lotus Temple is one of the seven Baha’i House of Worship present around the world. The other six being Sydney(Australia), Panama City(Panama), Apin(Western Samoa), Kampala(Uganda), Frankfurt(Germany) and Wilmette(USA).
As you enter the complex of Lotus Temple, the visuals of the temple will mesmerize you. The enchanting entrance gate, the beautiful gardens and ponds, and the pathway to the temple is lined with lush green shrubs which creates an atmosphere of peace and bliss around you. The temple is built of Greek white marble in the shape of Lotus flower. Lotus is considered symbolic because it represents religions like Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam making it more fitting. The House of Worship is composed of 27 free standing white marble ‘petals’ placed in bunches of three to form nine sides. All the nine doors open to The Central Hall in the temple.
The Central Hall has the capacity to contain 2500 people and 1300 people in the seating arrangement. No external lighting is required to brighten up this huge hall. The light filters through the inner folds of the Lotus and diffuses through the entire hall of the temple. The entire property of Lotus Temple is around 26 acres including its nine ponds and nine gardens. The Lotus Temple is one of the first temples in Delhi that runs on solar energy. From its 500 kW, consumption of energy 120 kW is provided by solar installations.
Ardishir Rustampur of Hyderabad gave away all his life savings for the temple to be constructed in the year 1953. The area where the temple was to be constructed was bought from his savings. But Fariborz Sahba was called in for designing the temple only in 1976. A UK-based firm named Flint and Neil was given the structural design project while the construction project was undertaken by ECC Construction Group. Fariborz Sahba has won many international awards for his brilliant masterpiece including GlobArt Academy, Institution of Structural Engineers etc. It also gained recognition in several publications in the world like the Encyclopaedia Britannia and Guinness World Records. There have been stamps of the Lotus Temple, books and even musical composition created to showcase its beauty and grandeur.
The temple seeks to propagate teaching of Baha’i faith believing in the Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religions and the Oneness of Mankind. The temple is open to all regardless of their nationality, religion, race or gender. People are welcome in the temple as it is the place of worship the creator of the universe and not any specific deity, the temple has no idol. The temple being secular does not allow any ritualistic ceremonies or delivery of sermons in its arena. However, you can chant or read scriptures of Baha’i in any language. You can also find many other religious scriptures here and also in different languages too. You can St them to music by choirs but cannot play any musical instruments inside the temple.
The Lotus Temple offers four main or ‘core’ activities to anyone who wants to pursue them. These include:
1. Children’s Classes: These classes imbibes values truthfulness, courage, generosity, kindness, justice, unity, reliance on God and service to humanity via Baha’i teachings.
2. Junior Youth Classes: These classes wish to progress the spiritual and intellectual capacities of the children aged 11-14 years.
3. Devotional Meetings: These sessions seek to create an environment of love and harmony among the community.
4. Study Circles: These meetings do a detailed study of Baha’i writings, Prayers and Life and Death leading to a spiritual consciousness among the people.
In addition to this, Lotus Temple hosts the One Ocean Events, which is a performing art series celebrating the unity and diversity of humankind.