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The Lotus Temple is one of the most famous and most popular buildings in India. However it was only inaugurated in 1986. The temple lies south of New Delhi and has a unique and impressive design in the shape of a lotus flower, India’s symbol for peace, purity, love and immortality.
The Lotus Temple is the pride of the Bahá’i community; a faith that welcomes people from every religion. The main conviction of the more than 5 million Bahá’i followers is the unity of God, religion and humanity. This has a unique effect: people from every country and every religion are drawn to the temple. Every day, the beautiful building draws thousands of tourists and followers.
The Lotus Temple is an impressive building that consists of 27 elegant flower petals. The closer you get, the more impressive these enormous petals look. The Lotus consists of 3 rows of 9 petals. The first 2 rows point up and reach 34 metres at their highest point. The 3rd row curls outwards, giving the temple a sense of openness. The petals are used as awnings. As the lotus grows in water, the flower is surrounded by 9 ponds, also in the shape of lotus petals. The rays of light that shine through the domes and the roof, illuminating the white walls, create a magical ambiance.
The 28-year old Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba was given the honour of designing the Bahá’i temple. He travelled to India for inspiration and spiritual guidance. During his trip, Sahba realised that symbols play a very important role throughout the country. The lotus flower in particular was omnipresent. In addition, he learned that other religions also embrace this flower as a symbol of spirituality. So he chose not only an elegant design but also a symbol that is a perfect match for a welcoming religion.
The elegant details in the design made the construction of the marble Lotus Temple quite a challenge. Up to 800 people worked for 10 years on the construction. There was even a school and day care for the children of the workers. One of the last tasks was the ceiling. A decorative golden plate was placed in the heart of the lotus flower, at the highest point of the structure. The plate includes the name of Bahá'u’lláh, founder of the faith, engraved as a symbol of unity. The combination of the gold and light that pours in through the windows create a magical ambiance. Interesting fact: even the Bahá'í followers from Iran who were imprisoned for their religious belief, worked in prison to earn money to contribute to the golden symbol of this temple. The hard work paid off: the Lotus Temple has been hailed as a 20th-century masterpiece.
Lotus Temple Rd, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Bahapur
New Delhi, Delhi 110019