The Bahá’í Temple in Delhi is quite different from other places of worship in India. It is shaped like a lotus flower. Passages from sacred texts of all religions decorate its walls. Everyone is welcome to come in and pray, no matter what faiths they follow.
The Bahá’í faith was founded in Iran by Bahá’u’lláh. Followers of this faith, who are called Bahá’ís, believe in the unity of all religions and all people.
This faith reached India around 1844. According to a recent surveys, there are about 2 million Bahá’ís in India.
The Bahá’í temple in Delhi was completed in 1986. It was designed by architect Fariborz Sahba, and cost $ 10 million. It is made up of 27 ‘petals’ of a lotus flower, arranged in groups of three, to form nine sides. Each side has a door leading into a huge central hall which can hold about 2,500 people!
The ‘petals’ are made of marble, brought from the Penteli Mountains in Greece. Marble from the same place was used not only to build other Bahá’í temples but also the famous Parthenon, an ancient monument in Greece! Amazing, isn’t it?
This unusual temple is set in 26 acres of land, filled with ponds and beautiful gardens. The whole complex is very famous, and Sabha has won many awards for it. According to a CNN report in 2001, it is the ‘most visited building in the world.’
Some unusual rules have to be followed at the Bahá’í temple – no musical instrument can be played inside it. Passages that are not from any of the scriptures cannot be read out. No one can preach sermons, or give lectures or practice any rites. The temple is meant to be a place for people to come and think about God, and worship quietly.