LOTUS TEMPLE - DELHI
White colored Lotus Temple of Delhi is the congregation and meditation place for the believers of Bahai faith. The lotus shaped building has generated tremendous curiosity among the tourists and, thus, ranks high on the map of Delhi tourism. India tour operators do include Lotus Temple in Delhi tour itineraries.
Situated amidst 26 acres of lush green lawns, the lotus-shaped marble and concrete structure is known as Lotus Temple. It is a major tourist attraction of Delhi. Approximately 10,000 people visit Lotus Temple every day and on holidays 40,000 visitors throng to watch and feel the serenity of it. The Lotus Temple is a Bahai House of Worship. The faith of Bahai originated in 19th century in Iran (Persia). In 1844, Bab declared himself to be the messenger of God and announced that another greater manifestation is about to arrive. In 1863, Bahaullah proclaimed himself the same. The Iranian government put him into jail where he died in 1892 AD. The Bahai faith believes in "unity of God, religions and mankind". The fundamental tenets of Bahai faith are: promote communal harmony, relinquish prejudices; eliminate poverty, concentration of wealth with a few and gender bias; and harmonize science with religion. There is no clergy and spiritual assemblies of nine members are elected through secret ballot every year. Universal House of Justice, the international body, is selected every five years and is based in Haifa, Israel. There are 6.5 million believers of Bahai faith and 1/3rd of them reside in India.
The Bahais have built a "House of Worship" in each continent. In addition to Lotus Temple in India, the Bahai's have their "Houses of Worship" in Apia (Western Samoa), Sydney (Australia), Kampala (Uganda), Panama City (Panama), Frankfurt (Germany) and Wilmette (USA). The Lotus Temple of India is a symbol of unity of various faiths as the lotus is prevalently found in Vedic scriptures, Buddhist and Jain monuments, Zoroastrian architecture and Tibetan culture. Designed in 1980 by Canadian architect Fariborz Sahba, the Lotus Temple got completed in 1986. Every House of Bahais has two commonality- a dome and nine sides (nine is symbolic of the largest single number and hence assimilates all- thus nine sides symbolize comprehensiveness and unity). Each of the 27- petals that give the temple the shape of a lotus flower is constructed of 10,000 pieces of white marble. There are nine entrances in the temple. The exterior lighting has been done in such a way that the illuminated temple looks like a lotus flower is floating on water.
The Bahais are very liberal and are more driven by logics. They believe that Bahai faith is more congruent with the science. The Bahais believe: the religion without science is fanaticism and the science without religion is materialism.