The entire 20th century was marked by a huge number of unusual buildings. Some of them look absurd, while others take one’s breath away with beauty, perfection and awe at the genius of the talented architect who brought the dream to life in stone and glass. One of these new age wonders is the Lotus Temple in New Delhi.
The Lotus Temple is one of the most beautiful in the world
It’s hard to believe that before 1986 this miracle simply did not exist. History is silent as to exactly how the idea of constructing a building symbolizing the unity of India’s believers, regardless of their adherence to different spiritual practices, came about. The sages say that the soul of the temple is where one can cry out to God. Perhaps that is why, unlike traditional Indian buildings, where every inch is covered with intricate carvings, paintings, or bas-reliefs, this building is devoid of interior decorations.
Location of the Lotus Temple on the map
Description of the Lotus Temple
The beauty and proportionality of the Lotus Temple in India lies in its proportions and symbolism of form. The exterior outlines do not contain any straight lines or corners. They flow smoothly along the curves of the closed and half-opened petals, embodying the image of the free flow of thoughts, aspiring to higher spheres.
The Lotus Temple in India is considered the most imposing structure built according to the canons of Bahaism.
The number 9 is considered sacred, so the proportions are respected:
- 27 petals;
- Three groups of 9 segments;
- 9 pools surrounding the temple;
- 9 independent entrances to the inner room, divided into the same number of parts.
No visible creeds are allowed, and readings and prayers are led without the accompaniment of musical instruments.
The vault of the building is the internal closed row of petals, the height reaches 35 meters, the central hall area is 75 square meters, the capacity – 1300 people.
Idea and architecture
Indian culture deifies the lotus, it symbolizes spiritual purity, beauty, perfection, striving for perfection, the ability to create. Most of the gods were depicted next to this flower, able to grow out of the mud of the muddy bottom but keeping it clean and fresh. It contains creative power, a representation of the Earth floating like a flower in the spaces of the universe. The emblem of India also uses the image of the red lotus.
This attitude carried over to places of worship and, not surprisingly, it was the architecture of the lotus-shaped building that brought together several faiths under one roof of stylized petals, giving freedom of religion to everyone who came to the temple.
The architect who created the Lotus Temple took into account all aspects, thinking and calculating not only the interior space, but also the surroundings. That’s why the building is located away from the city, so as not to distract the attention of those who come here by the daily hustle and bustle.
The complex included 9 pools, which created the impression that the building actually glides on the surface of the water, like a real flower. Fariboz Sahba chose white concrete as the material, modern technology helped to give it the necessary shape of gently curved petals, and the outer surfaces were covered with white marble.
Interestingly, the elaborate lighting system in the evening gives the Lotus Temple in Delhi a mystical look that remains forever in the memory of those who visit it.
The development of the sketch lasted 3 years, another 6 years it took to translate it into stone, the construction involved more than 800 people. The uniqueness of the structure lies in the total absence of decorations and symbols of belonging to any religion, except the sign of the Bahai under the dome of the central hall.
The design takes into account the principles of natural ventilation, which makes it cool and fresh inside. The Lotus Temple does not have its usual clergy. Volunteers act in their role, and they change regularly, giving way to others. The space inside is divided into several segments, which are accessed by separate gates, but the central hall is completely free to enter.
There are no special restrictions for visitors, there are few requirements:
- leave your shoes at the entrance;
- to observe silence;
- not to take pictures;
- not to impose your opinion on others;
- tolerate the followers of another faith.
The meaning of the Lotus Temple
It lies in the enormous cultural potential. It was the cosmopolitan approach to religious issues that was the launching pad that ensured the structure’s prominence and made it such a haunted place. Freedom multiplied by religious tolerance and universal solidarity enables those who attend the Indian Lotus Shrine to purify thoughts and improve spiritually.
Symbolism of the “lotus” shape
The amazing flower that rises from the bottom of the reservoir and meets the sun embodies rebirth, constant purification and perfection, striving upwards despite the obstacles. The perfection of nature’s creation needs no improvement, so the building simply repeats the arrangement of the petals of the plant sacred to Indians. The properties of the flower have long been noticed in other countries, but in India it is considered a symbol of statehood.
“The Art of the Lotus,” is the name of the path of self-improvement and self-ownership. The first step is thought control, leading to the discipline of the mind. It is the embodiment of purity and perfection, of spiritual growth, of finding the path to enlightenment and achieving harmony with the world. The image of the flower is depicted on the miniatures and is an attribute of most deities of the Indian pantheon, it is universal. Surprisingly, the interpretation of its meaning is very similar in different countries.
By becoming the prototype of one of the great architectural masterpieces of our time, the lotus cemented the unity of the people, emphasizing that everyone chooses their own path, but they all lead to the perfection of the spirit. This is reminded by the amazing Lotus Temple, standing among the 9 pools, like a legendary flower open to anyone who is willing to embark on the path leading to spiritual perfection.
Video overview of the Lotus Temple
Over 1 million. people, among them believers, pilgrims and tourists, come every year under the vaults of the temple to touch the beauty and greatness of the world, to find peace of mind, to admire one of the wonders of the world of the new age.