Lotus Temple – History retold

The Lotus Temple also known as the Bahai House of Worship or Bahai Mashriqul-Adhkar Temple is one of the best architectural marvels in the county in modern times. It is a place where several visitors from all across the globe come for peace, meditation, prayers and study. Located in New Delhi, the Lotus Temple  unlike other places of worship is  unique in it’s own kind. It is known for its beautiful flower-like architecture and marvelous ambiance that make it a popular tourist attraction for people of all faiths.

Since its inauguration to public worship and visits in December 1986, it has drawn to its portals more than 70 million visitors, making it one of the most visited edifices in the world. On an average, 8,000 to 10,000 people visit the Bahá’í House of Worship each day. These visitors have admired its universal design in the form of a lotus and have been fascinated by the Teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, especially its tenets of the Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religions, and the Oneness of Mankind.

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What is Bahá’í Faith?

The Bahá’í Faith (Persian: بهائی‎‎ Bahā’i) is a monotheistic religion that emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity. According to Bahá’í teachings, God is known by spiritual virtues such as truthfulness, kindness, unity, love, and justice, and the purpose of religion is to advance these virtues in humankind.

The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892) in 19th century Persia.

This Bahá’í House of Worship of the Indian subcontinent joins six other Bahá’í Houses of Worship around the world: Apia, Western Samoa; Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Panama City, Panama; Frankfurt, Germany; Wilmette, USA. Each of these Houses of Worship, while sharing some basic design concepts, has its own distinct cultural identity embodying the principle of unity in diversity.

Architecture:

The Bahai Lotus temple was designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba . The temple was completed in 1986. There are nine sides to the temple formed by 27 marble petals, arranged in groups of three. The nine doors lead to a central prayer hall that has a capacity of 2500 people and is about 40m high.  The floor inside the central hall is also made of marble. The marble used comes from Greece, from the Penteli Mountain. The entrance of the Lotus Temple is also very enchanting with ponds and gardens welcoming you to the gates of the temple. The total area of the place is 26 acres.

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Things you should know about visiting the Lotus Temple:

Where: Lotus Temple Road, Shambhu Dayal Bagh, Bahapur, Kalkaji, New Delhi

Contact: 011 26444029

Timings: Lotus Temple opens at 9.00 am for visitors and shuts down by 5.30 pm. It remains open from Tuesday to Sunday and is shut on Mondays. There are 15-minute prayer sessions held in the temple at regular intervals every day.

Entry fee: There is no entry fee or any restriction for anyone to enter the Lotus Temple. There is space for parking which is free too.

Photography: If you wish to take photographs inside the Lotus Temple, you will have to take prior permission from the authorities. However, mobile phones are allowed in its premises so you would be able to take photos with your phone camera.

How to reach: You can reach the Lotus Temple by taking a metro. The nearest metro station is the Kalkaji Mandir on the violet line. From here you can take a rickshaw or cab. The temple is close to Kalkaji Park and public transport is easily available to reach it.

Where to stay: There are many hotels in the vicinity of the Lotus Temple. We list a few of them that are not more than 1 km away from it. All of these are budget or mid range accommodation that have basic amenities. Hotel Cosy Palace, Eros Plaza, Clarks Inn and Zip by Spree Hotel Bluestone are a few hotels close to the temple where you can stay on your visit.

Hope the next time you are in Delhi, you don’t miss out on this place.

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