Today I decided to take myself off to the Lotus Temple. I had seen it on the map and it’s not far away. It had to be done at some point. Having not been able to eat last night, due to the surgery I again ordered in. Scrambled eggs have never tasted so good. I had to pass on the tea though because I’m not allowed anything hot at the moment. I even had to wait, salivating, for the eggs to cool.
For those of you that have looked at the map, the temple is left out of the door of the hotel, up to the end of the block. Turn right for the length of the park I was in the other day, with the squirrels. Left again and keep going. I thought I could approach it through the park. I couldn’t. So I ended up walking right round the temple before I found the gate.
I was taking a couple of pictures of some of the massive buildings near Nehru Place (the IT hub of Delhi and a shopping centre), when these three young lads decided to try and talk to me. They were more interested in the cost of the camera than me 🙂 I asked them if I could take their picture and the tall fellow on the left was not keen but his buddies persuaded him. He doesn’t look to happy about it. Figuring that this may have developed into a “security” issue, I headed off into the park.
Astha Kunj Park
Eventually I circumnavigated the park, sweating profusely, to the entrance to the temple. Security in Delhi is tight! Everywhere has metal detectors and security men and the Lotus Temple was no different. I was searched and informed that I could use my DSLR camera but not the video camera and that no photos were to be taken inside. Fair enough – those are the rules. Unlucky my DSLR is that old, all the new ones are able to shoot video too, who would have known?
The Lotus Temple – Bahá’í House of Worship
The Lotus Temple is a Bahá’í house of worship. It’s called the Lotus Temple for obvious reasons. Building was completed in 1986 and CNN claimed in a report that it’s the most visited building in the world, apparently even more visitors than the famous Taj Mahal. According to the Indian government over 100 million people have visited since its inauguration. I heard spanish spoken for the first time here by a group of three people more or less my age.
The architect of the Lotus Temple
It was designed by the Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba and uses 500k watts of electricity annually of which 120kw is generated by solar panels. It’s the first temple in Delhi to use solar power. The temple has also won numerous awards for its design, and not surprisingly.
Bahá’í houses of worship
Bahá’í houses of worship are open to any and all creeds, irrespective of gender or other distinctions. There are certain restrictions. You can sing in there but you can’t play instruments. No fundraising is allowed. You can read from any scripture but the reading of non-scripture is forbidden. There is no set pattern of worship but rituals are not allowed. The Bahá’í scriptures say that there must not be any statues, pulpits or images displayed and that all their temples have to have 9 sides. The building is made of 27 marble covered, free standing petals, arranged in 3s making the obligatory 9 sides. It was a shame I couldn’t take photos inside as the space was huge, clean and fairly awe inspiring. The removal of shoes is necessary to enter and I could have taken a bag to carry them but opted for my day-pack. I have to say that it was a great relief to have the shoes and socks off and the floor was cool and welcoming.