Lotus Temple

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Lotus Temple
Bahá'í House of Worship
Lotus Temple-Panoroma-Visit During WCI 2016- IMG 6471.jpg
Full View Of Lotus Temple
Lotus Temple is located in Delhi
Lotus Temple
Location within New Delhi
General information
Type House of Worship
Architectural style Expressionist
Location New Delhi, India
Coordinates 28°33′12″N 77°15′31″E / 28.553325°N 77.258600°E / 28.553325; 77.258600Coordinates: 28°33′12″N 77°15′31″E / 28.553325°N 77.258600°E / 28.553325; 77.258600
Completed 13 November 1986
Opened 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] Like all Bahá'í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification. The building is composed of 27 free-standing marble-clad "petals" arranged in clusters of three to form nine sides,[2] with nine doors opening onto a central hall with height of slightly over 40 metres[3] and a capacity of 2,500 people.[4] A 2001 CNN report referred to it as the most visited building in the world.[5]


Like all other Bahá'í Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion, or any other distinction, as emphasised in Bahá'í texts. The Bahá'í laws emphasise 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.[6] The Bahá'í laws also stipulate that not only the holy scriptures of the Bahá'í Faith but also those of other religions can be read and/or chanted inside the House of Worship regardless of 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.


Lotus Temple at front[citation needed]
The temple during the daytime
Interior view
Interior view of the symbol of the Greatest Name, set at the top of the temple
Lotus Temple at sunset
View of the Bahá'í House of Worship at night

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.[7] While all current Bahá'í Houses of Worship have a dome, this is not regarded as an essential part of their architecture.[8] 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).[6]

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.[2] The nine doors of the Lotus Temple open onto a central hall slightly more than 40 metres tall[3] that is capable of holding up to 2,500 people.[4] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] The construction company was ECC Construction Group of Larsen & Toubro Limited.[12] 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.[13]

Of the temple's total electricity use of 500 kilowatts (KW), 120KW is provided by solar power generated by the building.[14] This saves the temple 120,000 rupees per month.[14] It is the first temple in Delhi to use solar power.[14]


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.[5][better source needed]

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".[15]
  • 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".[16]
  • 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."[16]


Gardens at the Bahá í House of Worship
Surrounding area
Information centre at the Bahá'í House of Worship
Some of the displays at the entrance of the information centre


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[17][18]


  • Temple Dedication service, 1986[19]
  • Jewel in the Lotus (album) produced in 1987 by keyboardist Jack Lenz for Don't Blink Music, Inc., in Ontario, Canada with songs or voices by Seals & Crofts, Layli Ericks, and others[20]

Most visitors[edit]

  • "The most visited building in the world," according to a 2001 CNN report.[5]
  • "The most visited building in India, surpassing even the Taj Mahal with some 4.5 million visitors a year."[21]
  • "The most visited religious building in the world," according to Guinness World Records, 2001.

Notable visitors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Bahá'í Houses of Worship, India; The Lotus of Bahapur". Bahá'í Association at The University of Georgia. Feb 9, 2003. Retrieved Apr 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Architecture of the Bahá'í House of Worship". National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of India. 2012. Retrieved Apr 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Bahá'í Houses of Worship". Bahá'í International Community. 2006. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  4. ^ a b c Galloway, Lindsey. "The world's most beautiful places of worship". BBC Travel. BBC. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c "Encore Presentation: A Visit to the Capital of India: New Delhi". Cable News Network. July 14, 2001. Retrieved Jan 19, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Rafati, V.; Sahba, F. (1989). "Bahai temples". Encyclopædia Iranica. 
  7. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (1982) [1912]. The Promulgation of Universal Peace (Hardcover ed.). Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 71. ISBN 0-87743-172-8. 
  8. ^ Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, Lights of Divine Guidance (volume 1), pg 311
  9. ^ "Penteli marbles for Bahai temples". Dionyssos Marbles. 2010. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ Faizi, Gloria (1993). Stories about Bahá'í Funds. New Delhi, India: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 81-85091-76-5. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ ""Gardens of Worship"". "Recreating Eden". Season 03. Episode 30. 2006. 
  14. ^ a b c Sharma, Sameer (20 October 2015). "Baha'i House of Worship -Lotus Temple is on Solar Energy now". Ohindore.com. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  15. ^ An Architectural Marvel Published in The Tribune, Chandigarh, by Anil Sarwal.
  16. ^ a b Baha'i Temple in India continues to receive awards and recognitions New Delhi, 5 December 2000 (BWNS)
  17. ^ a b c d "Articles". The Architecture of Fariborz Sabha. Retrieved 25 April 2016.  (click "Publications")
  18. ^ "Baha'i Philately". Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  19. ^ Prof. Anil Sarwal. "Baha'i Prayers and Songs". Retrieved 15 September 2016 – via Internet Archive. 
  20. ^ "Jewel In the Lotus". Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  21. ^ Commemorations in Chicago highlight the immense impact of House of Worship OneCountry, Volume 15, Issue 1 / April–June 2003
  22. ^ a b Sarwal, Anil. "An Architectural Marvel". Baha'is of India. The Tribune, Chandigarh. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  23. ^ "President of Iceland visits Baha'i Temple in New Delhi". Baha'i World News Service. 14 Nov 2000. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  24. ^ "Sri Sathya Sai Baba's trip to Delhi and Shimla - 2010". Sai Baba of India. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "Distinguished visitors praise Baha'i Temple". Bahá’í World News Service. 12 January 2005. Retrieved 25 April 2016. 

External links[edit]