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The Lotus Temple, located in Delhi, India, is completed in 1986. Notable for its Lotus floweshape, it has become a prominent attraction in the city.
Since its inauguration to public worship and visits in December 1986, the Bahá’í House of Worship in New Delhi, India has drawn to its portals more than 70 million visitors, making it one of the most visited edifices in the world. On an average, 8,000 to 10,000 people visit the Bahá’í House of Worship each day. These visitors have admired its universal design in the form of a lotus and have been fascinated by the Teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, especially its tenets of the Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religions, and the Oneness of Mankind.This Bahá’í House of Worship of the Indian subcontinent joins six other Bahá’í Houses of Worship around the world: Apia, Western Samoa; Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Panama City, Panama; Frankfurt, Germany; Wilmette, USA. Each of these Houses of Worship, while sharing some basic design concepts, has its own distinct cultural identity embodying the principle of unity in diversity.
– Height : 112 feet
Opened : November 13, 1986
Architectural style : Expressionist architecture
Function : Place of worship – The Bahai House of Worship
Sacred Symbol :
– When one looks closely at Indian architecture, one realizes that despite the outward dissimilarities to be seen between various temples, we can sometimes discover significant and sacred symbols regarded as holy and divine by all the Indian religions, symbols which have even penetrated to other countries and other religions. One of these symbols is the sacred flower of the Indians, the lotus.
To the Indian taste, the lotus has always been the fairest flower; it has enjoyed unparalleled popularity throughout the length and breadth of India from the earliest times down to the present day, as shown by its predominance in literature and art. Mentioned in the oldest Veda, it plays a prominent part in the mythology of Brahmanism. To the later Sanskrit poets it is the emblem of beauty to which they constantly compare the faces of their heroines.
The lotus, moreover, enters into Indian art of all ages and all religions as a prominent decorative element. It appears on the oldest architectural monuments of Hinduism all over India. With the spread of Buddhism to the countries of the Far East, its use as an ornament in religious art has extended as far as Japan.
Creative Force :
– The symbolism of the lotus flower (padma, pundarika, utpala) was borrowed by the Buddhists directly from the parent religion Brahmanism. From earliest history, the lotus flower appears to have symbolized for Aryans primarily the idea of superhuman or divine birth, and secondarily the creative force and immortality. The traditional Indian and Buddhist explanation is that the glorious lotus flower appears to spring not from the sordid earth but from the surface of the water and is always pure and unsullied, no matter how impure the water of the lake may be. It thus expresses the idea of supernatural birth and the emergence of the first created living thing from the primordial waters of chaos. Hence, the flower was regarded as the matrix of the Hindu creator himself, Narayana, and of his later form as the god Brahma, who are portrayed, respectively, as reclining and seated upon a lotus flower, as in the pre-Buddhist Vaishnavite Bhagavad-Gita. Conceivably, this was the significance of the lotus when it was first applied to the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni.
As an emblem of divine birth the lotus is a common motif in Buddhist art and literature, as has been noted above. In the Buddhist paradise of Sukhavati, the goal of popular Mahayana Buddhists, everyone is reborn as a god upon a lotus flower (Soddhama pundarika), and there are lotus flowers of many gems. The Western notion of the beauty of lotus-eating is possibly a heritage of this ancient view of divine existence.
A manifestation of the myth of divine lotus birth is thought to be the myth which invests Buddha with the miraculous power of imprinting the image of a lotus flower on the earth with every step that he took. The references to this in the Pali canon are innumerable, although in the earliest book of that canon, the Mahapadana Suttanta, the account of the infant Buddha’s first seven steps makes no mention of the lotus imprints that appear in the later versions.