It was only built about 30 years ago, but already the Lotus Temple is one of the most visited buildings in the world – and it’s easy to see why. The architecture is a modern take on one of India’s most sacred flowers, the lotus. From a distance, you could almost believe it was a real bloom, growing ever higher into the blue sky above.
The white marble structure, dedicated to the Bahá’i faith, has been called the Taj Mahal of the 20 th century – and, like the Taj Mahal, the temple is renowned for its special ambience. With lush green gardens on all sides, it is in complete harmony with its surroundings, and you can’t help but feel peaceful as you walk through the grounds and take in the astounding sight before you.
The temple’s organic appearance was, in fact, meticulously designed by architect Fariborz Sahba. Completed and dedicated in 1986, its walls are formed of 27 freestanding ‘petals’, in three groups of nine, a symbolic number in the Bahá’i faith. Nine doors in these petals then lead into a central hall, completing the pleasingly symmetrical structure.
The whole building is marble-coated, which makes it glimmer ethereally in the sunlight – which simply adds to the temple’s other-worldliness and aura.
The Lotus Temple is one of the jewels of Delhi architecture – and that’s saying something. Different from the buildings of Old Delhi, as well as those from the colonial period, it brings a contemporary twist to the city, and yet has an unbelievable peacefulness to it.
The temple is that rare thing in modern building – a blend of beauty and tranquillity. It was built to bring people together, so why not take yourself inside and meditate alongside others in the hall.
Everyone is welcome to enjoy the sound of silence. The most spectacular thing about the temple, however, is its exterior and surroundings. Find yourself a spot in the well-maintained gardens and simply soak up the peace and presence of the place, while marveling at the incredible lotus-inspired building.
The Lotus Temple can inspire a feeling of awe, but also a sense of being protected in its shelter. Sitting in the shadow of this magnificent building, you will find the space to reflect on your trip, your life, or whatever you want – and just enjoy being.
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The Lotus Temple is easy to get to. It’s in the central south of the city, 10 minutes’ walk from Kalkaji metro station (on the violet and magenta line), right next to a stop for the hop-on hop-off tour of Delhi. As always, rickshaws and taxis are also an option.
Tuesday – Sunday (closed Mondays), 9am – 5pm in winter, 9am – 7pm in summer. Five-minute prayer services for a variety of religions are held daily at 10am, noon, 3pm and 5pm.
The temple attracts a huge number of visitors, so try to avoid weekends and public holidays. Having said that, the outside is the main event – so if you just want to sit in the gardens, you shouldn’t be disappointed whenever you go.
Like all Bahá’i Houses of Worship, the temple is open to anyone of any faith, so there is no official dress code – all you need to remember is to take off your shoes.
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