The Lotus Temple in Delhi is one of the most visited buildings on the planet, and has visitor numbers exceeding that of the acclaimed Taj Mahal. In fact, over 4.5 million people travel to the Lotus Temple every year. Formally known as the Bahá'í House of Worship, this temple was constructed to resemble a blooming flower. It was completed in 1986 and has been the subject of numerous media pieces and the recipient of several awards.

The Bahá'í House of Worship has embraced people and worshippers of all denominations. This means that anyone can enter it for the purposes of worship, regardless of the faith to which they ascribe. However, no sermons are delivered and no hymns are sung. Worshippers can read their holy scriptures in whatever language they please, as long as they respect the beliefs and ideals held by others around them.

Some of the architecture and structure of the Lotus Temple originates from instructions outlined in the Bahá'í scriptures. `Abdu'l-Bahá was the son of the man who founded the religion and specified that a house of worship with a circular shape and nine sides should be constructed. Thus was born the Lotus Temple, built to resemble the flower of the same name. It has 27 ‘petals’, all clad in marble and arranged in groups of three to form nine sides. Another requirement set out in the
Image of sunset on the Lotus Temple, New Dehli
Sunset on the Lotus Temple, New Dehli
scriptures was that no images, pictures, statues, pulpits or alters be included in the house of worship. The central hall can accommodate up to 2 500 people and its entire surface is made of marble. Each of the nine doors around the temple opens up onto this hall. In the spectacular gardens surrounding the temple, there are nine ponds, which echo the structure of the building in their repetitive number.

The architect of the Lotus Temple is Fariborz Sahba, and Iranian. A major portion of the money in his budget was spent on the best plants and flowers for the 26 acres of gardens around the temple. This was funded largely by Ardishír Rustampúr, who donated all of his life savings for the project.

Today, dozens of millions of people have visited the Lotus Temple in Delhi. In fact, it has seen more tourists than the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal, both of which are major tourist attractions in their own rights. On some holy days in the Hindu religion, in excess of 150 000 people have visited this famous site.

Nearby to this landmark are several other attractions, making for an ideal day out for the entire family, or for tourists with a limited time to explore the country. These attractions include the Red Fort (dating back to 1648), the towering Qutub Minar and the ISKCON Temple (where serenity and tranquillity abound). India truly is a mysterious land that pulsates with the rhythm of cultures so strong that each visitor is left with a small piece of India, no matter where in the world they go.

For more information, please view: http://www.bahaihouseofworship.in/

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