Around the mid-19th century, a new religion was founded in Iran, called the "Bahá'í faith". The beauty of this belief was in its principles, that are an essential unity of all religions and the unity of humanity, openly rejecting the notions of racism and nationalism. The places of worship of the Bahá'í faith are referred to as Mashriq al-adhkār. In the late 1980s, Delhi got its own Mashriq, that is one of the only seven in the world. The ‘Lotus Temple’ is a phenomenal Mashriq that has been one of the most visited religious buildings in the world, by dint of its miraculous architecture amongst other features. The Mashriqs, or temples, abstain from rituals, ceremonies, and clergy. They are open to adherents of all religions and offer simple services consisting of readings from the sacred Bahá'í writings and the holy books of other faiths.
As the name suggests, the Lotus Temple was inspired by the beauteous lotus flower. The structure of the Lotus Temple consists of the architectural elements that are mentioned in the Bahá'í scripture. It was designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba. The exterior structure consists of 27 exceptional marble clad ‘petals’, that are arranged in groups of three on the nine sides of the temple, owing to the typical Bahá'í temple nine-sided constructions. The temple is surrounded by nine gardens and pools, making it look like a serene floating lotus flower—a Bahāʾī symbol of purity, beauty, and divinity.
The interior of the Lotus Temple is equally awe-inspiring but ironically calming. Even though the peculiar construction of the Lotus Temple got several international awards and recognitions in the field of architecture, for the genuine seekers it is the inside of the temple that sparks tranquil. The innermost of the marble petals curve inwards to comprise the prayer hall that appears to be open from the top. Owing to the Bahá'í faith, the prayer hall is devoid of any pictures, religious idols, statues, and no pulpits or altars are incorporated as an architectural feature. This makes the Lotus Temple a perfect place to meditate, introspect, and soak in all the serenity and tranquility the placid space has to offer. Many visitors at the Lotus Temple come here to seek these inner explorations.
Whether you are seeking an inward journey of solace, or want to admire one of the most miraculous marvels of architecture in Delhi or hang out with the loved ones in the peaceful gardens; the Lotus Temple is an ideal spot. Its easy accessibility makes it an even more luring place; with only a five-minute walk from the nearest metro station. The Lotus Temple is also surrounded by exciting attractions in the proximity, such as the Kalkaji Temple and one of the busiest commercial (and culinary) hub of Delhi called Nehru Place. And, the fact that it is one of the only seven Mashriqs in the world makes it a compulsory stop if you are even just passing through Delhi.
Cover picture credits to © iStock/Purplexsu
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