The Lotus Temple, located in New Delhi, India, is a Bahá’í House of Worship completed in 1986.
The Bahá’í Faith is a monotheistic religion which emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind.
The Bahá’í faith is one of the youngest of the world’s major religions. It was founded by Baha’u’llah in Iran in the 19th century.
The Bahá’í laws also stipulate that not only the holy scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith but also those of other religions can be read and/or chanted inside the House of Worship regardless of language; while readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments can be played inside.
Like all other Bahá’í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasised in Bahá’í texts.
No sermons can be conveyed at the Lotus Temple, as there is no spot for formal functions specific to any one religion inside the Bahai House of Worship.
The Bahá’í House of Worship in Delhi is one of seven such places of worship. The other six are in Sydney in Australia, Panama City in Panama, Apia in Western Samoa, Kampala in Uganda, Frankfurt in Germany, and Wilmette in USA.
The Lotus Temple is made up of pure white marble, the architect Furiburz Sabha chose the lotus as the symbol common to India’s religions.
Fariborz Sahba spent 10 years in designing and project management, and with the help of a team of about 800 engineers, technicians, artisans and workers brought to realization one of the most complicated constructions in the world.
It looks just like a lotus flower with all the petals meeting at the top, some longer than others and some of them staying at the base, on the sides.
The architectural style of the temple is called Expressionist.
Like every other Bahāʾī House of Worship, it is characterized by a nine-sided construction, in keeping with the Bahāʾī belief in the mystical properties of the number nine.
The building is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad “petals” arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides, with nine doors opening onto a central hall with height of slightly over 40 meters and a capacity of 2,500 people.
The surface of the House of Worship is made of white marble from Penteli mountain in Greece, the very same from which many ancient monuments and other Bahá’í Houses of Worship are built.
More than 10,000 different sizes of marble were used in the construction of the Lotus Temple.
Bahá’í scripture states that no pictures, statues or images be displayed within the House of Worship and no pulpits or altars be incorporated as an architectural feature.
The interior of the structure is revealed in true Expressionist fashion, with the precast ribbed roof exposed in the worship spaces.
The top of the structure appears open but actually contains a glass-and-steel roof that admits natural daylight.
All around the Temple are walkways with beautiful curved balustrades, bridges and stairs that surround the nine pools representing the floating leaves of the lotus.
Along with its nine surrounding ponds and the gardens, the Lotus Temple property comprises 10.5 hectares (26 acres).
The outer coating of white marble makes the building visible from a distance and highlight with sunlight, turning purple at sunset.
The lotus represents the Manifestation of God, and is also a symbol of purity and tenderness. Its significance is deeply rooted in the minds and hearts of the Indians.
The Lotus Temple derives its name from its design.
The Temple has been recognized as “one of the masterpieces of 20th-century”, and has received wide range of attention in professional architectural, fine art, religious, governmental, and other venues.
“The most visited building in India, surpassing even the Taj Mahal with some 4.5 million visitors a year.”
“The most visited religious building in the world,” according to Guinness World Records, 2001.
“The most visited building in the world,” according to a 2001 CNN report.
₹6.50 postage Stamp featuring Baha’i House of Worship, New Delhi, India.