The Lotus Temple known as the Taj of modern India is a distinctive lotus-shaped marvel in marble surrounded by a landscaped garden. This architectural marvel of the Bahai faith is essentially a symbol of peace. In the Bahai's Holy Writings great importance is given to prayers as is revealed in all the scriptures. According to Bahai faith the mere act of praying is not sufficient. The inspiration drawn from one's prayers must be translated into action which promotes the well being of humanity.
The temple was completed in 1986. On its completion, Construction News, a technical journal from the United Kingdom was the first to give the Lotus Temple the appellation of Taj Mahal of the 20th Century. The comparison brings to mind the words of the famous Indian poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore, who described the Taj as "a teardrop on the cheek of eternity". Considering that the Bahai House of Worship is an affirmation and a celebration of man's love God the Lotus Temple could be described as "a dewdrop on the brow of eternity". Similarly Indian Express referred to the fact that while the Taj is an expression of deep personal love the Lotus Temple symbolises love between Man and God. In World Architecture 1900-2000: A Critical Mosaic, Volume 8, South Asia, the Lotus Temple appears as one of the 100 canonical works of this century. The book is part of a series of 10 books organised by the Architectural Society of China and endorsed by the International Union of Architects, in co-ordination with the XX World Architects Congress convened in June 1999 in Beijing, China. The book describes the temple as a powerful icon of great beauty that goes beyond its pure function of serving as a congregation space to become an important architectural symbol of the city.
The temple has also won several awards. Fariborz Sabha, the architect of the temple, was given an award in 1987 by the International Federation for Art and Architecture in USA. Further it received an award for its structural design from the Institute of Structural Engineers in UK. It also won a Citation Award for personifying the visual impact of the beautiful Lotus flower and received an accreditation for its outdoor illumination in the year 1988. The American Concrete Institute gave the temple an award for being one of the most artistically built concrete structures. In the year 2000 it received the "Glob Art Academy Award" from Glob Art Academy in Vienna. So, whenever you visit Delhi, do see this particular masterpiece which offers a strong message of wisdom, peace and tranquility.
The Bahai House of Worship at New Delhi is one of the marvels of modern architecture. The temple gives the impression of a half-open lotus flower afloat, surrounded by its leaves. The shining pure white marble, the majestic dome, the petals clearly standing out create a sense of awe. The temple is surrounded by walkways with beautiful curved balustrades, bridges and stairs that surround the nine pools representing the floating leaves of the lotus. It is a remarkable tabernacle of peace and beauty and an engineering feat that will set standards for centuries.
The temple complex consists of the main house of worship with a basement and the ancillary block, which houses a reception centre, a library and the administrative building. The library contains a rich collection of religious books. Besides, there is also an hourly introductory audio-visual presentation for the visitors.
The inner dome is spherical and patterned after the innermost portion of the lotus flower. It is like a bud consisting of 24 petals and light filters through these inner folds which is diffused through the central hall. While the flooring inside the auditorium is of white marble, the walkways and stairs of the outer portion are of red sandstone, offering a majestic contrast.
The Lotus has three sets of petals. The outermost set of nine petals, called the entrance leaves, open outwards and form the nine entrances all around the outer annular hall. The next set of nine petals, called "inner leaves" appear to be partly closed and rise above the rest and form the main structure housing the central hall. Since the Lotus is open at the top, a glass and steel roof provides protection from rain and lets in natural light in the auditorium.