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Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple
Bahá'í House of Worship
Lotus Temple, illuminated after dark
Lotus Temple is located in Delhi
Location within New Delhi
General information
Type House of Worship
Architectural style Expressionist
Location New Delhi, India
Completed 13 November 1986
Opening 24 December 1986
Height 34.27 metres (112.4 ft)
Diameter 70 metres (230 ft)
Technical details
Structural system Concrete frame and precast concrete ribbed roof
Design and construction
Architect Fariborz Sahba
Structural engineer Flint & Neill
Other information
Seating capacity 1,300

The Lotus Temple, located in New Delhi, India, is a Bahá'í House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flowerlike shape, it serves as the Mother Temple of the Indian subcontinent and has become a prominent attraction in the city. The Lotus Temple has won numerous architectural awards and been featured in hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.[1]


  • Worship 1
  • Structure 2
  • Tourism 3
  • Distinctions 4
    • Awards 4.1
    • Publications 4.2
    • Most visitors 4.3
    • Notable visitors 4.4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7


Like all other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasized in Bahá'í texts. The Bahá'í laws emphasize that the spirit of the House of Worship be that it is a gathering place where people of all religions may worship God without denominational restrictions.[2] The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that only the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language; while readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs, no musical instruments can be played inside. Furthermore no sermons can be delivered, and there can be no ritualistic ceremonies practised.[2]


Lotus Temple at front

All Bahá'í Houses of Worship, including the Lotus Temple, share certain architectural elements, some of which are specified by Bahá'í scripture. `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, stipulated that an essential architectural character of a House of Worship is a nine-sided circular shape.[3] While all current Bahá'í Houses of Worship have a dome, this is not regarded as an essential part of their architecture.[4] Bahá'í scripture also states that no pictures, statues or images be displayed within the House of Worship and no pulpits or altars be incorporated as an architectural feature (readers may stand behind simple portable lecture stands).[2]

Model of the temple at the information centre

Inspired by the lotus flower, the design for the House of Worship in New Delhi is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad "petals" arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides.[5] The nine doors of the Lotus Temple open onto a central hall slightly more than 40 metres tall[6] that is capable of holding up to 2,500 people. The surface of the House of Worship is made of white marble from Penteli mountain in Greece, the very same from which many ancient monuments and other Bahá'í Houses of Worship are built.[7] Along with its nine surrounding ponds and the gardens, the Lotus Temple property comprises 26 acres (105,000 m²; 10.5 ha).

The site is in the village of Bahapur, in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The architect was an Iranian, who now lives in Canada, named Fariborz Sahba.[8] He was approached in 1976 to design it and later oversaw its construction. The structural design was undertaken by the UK firm Flint and Neill. The major part of the funds needed to buy this land was donated by Ardishír Rustampúr of Hyderabad, Sindh, who gave his entire life savings for this purpose in 1953.[9] The construction company was ECC Construction Group of Larsen & Toubro Limited.[10] A portion of construction budget was saved and used to build a greenhouse to study indigenous plants and flowers that would be appropriate for use on the site.[11]


Since its inauguration to public worship in December 1986, the Bahá'í House of Worship in Delhi has, as of late 2001, attracted more than 70 million visitors, making it one of the most visited buildings in the world.[12] Its numbers of visitors during those years surpassed those of the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal.

Lotus Temple, full of visitors.
One of the nine ponds surrounding the Lotus Temple


The Temple has received wide range of attention in professional architectural, fine art, religious, governmental, and other venues.


  • 1987, the architect of the Bahá'í House of Worship, Mr. Fariborz Sahba, was presented the award for excellence in religious art and architecture by the UK-based Institution of Structural Engineers for producing a building "so emulating the beauty of a flower and so striking in its visual impact".[13]
  • 1987, the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture, Affiliate of the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C., gave their First Honour award for "Excellence in Religious Art and Architecture" 1987 to Mr. F. Sahba for the design of the Bahá'í House of Worship near New Delhi.[1]
  • 1988, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America conferred the Paul Waterbury Outdoor Lighting Design Award - Special Citation for Exterior Lighting[1]
  • 1989, the Temple received an award from the Maharashtra-India Chapter of the American Concrete Institute for "excellence in a concrete structure".[1]
  • 1994 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, in its 'Architecture' section gives recognition to the Temple as an outstanding achievement of the time.[1]
  • 2000, Architectural Society of China as one of 100 canonical works of the 20th century in the recently published "World Architecture 1900-2000: A Critical Mosaic, Volume Eight, South Asia".[14]
  • 2000, GlobArt Academy, based in Vienna, Austria, presented its "GlobArt Academy 2000" award to the architect of the Lotus Temple, Fariborz Sahba, for "the magnitude of the service of [this] Taj Mahal of the 20th century in promoting the unity and harmony of people of all nations, religions and social strata, to an extent unsurpassed by any other architectural monument worldwide."[14]



As of 2003, it had been featured in television programmes in India, Russia, and China. The Baha'i World Centre Library has archived more than 500 publications which have carried information on the Temple in the form of articles, interviews with the Architect and write-ups extolling the structure.[1]



  • 6.50 postage Stamp featuring Baha'i House of Worship, New Delhi, India[16]


  • Temple Dedication service (1986).[17]
  • Jewel in the Lotus (album) produced in 1987 by the keyboardist Jack Lenz for Don't Blink Music, Inc., in Ontario, Canada with songs or voices by Seals & Crofts, Layli Ericks, and others.[18]

Most visitors

  • The most visited building in the world, according to a CNN report.[12]
  • "The most visited building in India, surpassing even the Taj Mahal with some 4.5 million visitors a year."[19]
  • "The most visited religious building in the world" Guinness World Records, 2001

Notable visitors

  • Pandit Ravi Shankar sitar vadan maestro
  • Ambassadors of Tanzania, Hungary, Panama
  • Officers of Government (Ministers, Premiers) from Bermuda, Hungary, India, Ivory Coast, Nepal, USSR/Russia, Romania, Singapore, Tajikstan, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia
  • Members of the Supreme Court of India
  • Prince Niranjan Shah, of Nepal
  • Dr. Uton Muchtar Rafei, Regional Director, World Health Organization
  • The President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was the first Head of State on an official state visit[20]
  • First Lady of the Slovak Republic, Silvia Gasparovicova
  • Sathya Sai Baba in April 2010[21]
  • 1998 article with short list of notable visitors[22]
  • 2003 list of notable visitors [1]
  • 2004 addition [23]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bahá'í Houses of Worship, India The Lotus of Bahapur
  2. ^ a b c Rafati, V.; Sahba, F. (1989). "Bahai temples". Encyclopædia Iranica. 
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, Lights of Divine Guidance (volume 1), pg 311
  5. ^ Architecture of the Bahá'í House of Worship
  6. ^ "Bahá'í Houses of Worship". Bahá'í International Community. 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  7. ^ "Penteli marbles for Bahai temples". Dionyssos Marbles. 2010. 
  8. ^ "Fariborz Sahba". In the News. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada. 2003. Archived from the original on Oct 27, 2004. Retrieved Jan 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ Faizi, Gloria (1993). Stories about Bahá'í Funds. New Delhi, India: Bahá'í Publishing Trust.  
  10. ^ Naharoy, S. (September 3, 2011). "The Baha'i House of Worship" (pdf). ECC Concord (Special Edition, Lotus in Concrete (v2, reprint) ed.) (Cerena de Souza): 3–4. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ "[Gardens of Worship"]". [Recreating Eden"]. Season 03. Episode 30. 2006. 
  12. ^ a b "Encore Presentation: A Visit to the Capital of India: New Delhi". Cable News Network. July 14, 2001. Retrieved Jan 19, 2015. 
  13. ^ An Architectural Marvel Published in The Tribune, Chandigarh, by Anil Sarwal.
  14. ^ a b Baha'i Temple in India continues to receive awards and recognitions New Delhi, 5 December 2000 (BWNS)
  15. ^ Architect's Website(enter->publications)
  16. ^ Baha'i Stamps
  17. ^ Baha'i Prayers and Songs
  18. ^ Jewel in the Lotus
  19. ^ Commemorations in Chicago highlight the immense impact of House of Worship OneCountry, Volume 15, Issue 1 / April–June 2003
  20. ^ President of Iceland visits Baha'i Temple in New Delhi
  21. ^ Sri Sathya Sai Baba's trip to Delhi and Shimla 2010
  22. ^ An Architectural Marvel by Prof. Anil Sarwal, First published in The Tribune, Chandigarh
  23. ^ Distinguished visitors praise Baha'i Temple

External links

  • Official Website
  • Lotus Temple -
  • Delhi Gallery : Lotus Temple
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