Baha’i House of Worship – The Lotus Temple

I came to know about the Baha’i faith just by chance.

In the early seventies, immediately after my initial training at Grindlays Bank (Now Standard Chartered), I was asked to man the foreign exchange desk. Those days the foreign exchange business could only be transacted at banks and hence the desk was mostly busy. On that day, a young boy, probably in a hurry, was trying to jump the queue. He told me that he had to attend his class and had no money for bus travel. I told him to get the consent of the girl standing next to her, which she very graciously gave.

Long view from outside

Long view from outside

On checking her passport, I observed that she was an Iranian national and her name sounded like some Indian Parsee girl. I asked her if she was one of the Zoroastrians from Iran!! She said she was a Baha’i. I scratched my head for a second and said “Like the Baha’i House at Curzon Road (Now K G Marg). She said “yes” and invited me to a congregation that evening at Baha’i House, their regional center.

There were not many persons in the audience and one, Mr. Sethi (if I remember correctly) told those present about the organization and its founder, Baha’u’llah (meaning “the glory of God” in Arabic), a Persian nobleman from Teheran, who gave up a princely existence of comfort and security to preach the new faith. Being young and basically involved in work and family life, I didn’t pay much attention to what he said, till the construction of a lotus shaped structure at Kalkaji, in the heart of the capital city of New Delhi, which was formally opened for public worship in December 1986.

I have visited this place over half a dozen times, but last week after re-visiting the temple along with a cleric friend from Connecticut, US and discovering a few new things, I thought of writing this post.

Baha’i faith

Before we talk about the making of the temple, it would be pertinent to say a few words about the Baha’i faith.

The Baha’i Faith is a religion founded by Baha’u’llah in the nineteenth century in Persia (now Iran), emphasizing the spiritual unity of the mankind. It is an independent monotheistic religion with its own sacred scriptures, its own laws, calendar and holy days (like Hindus’ bi-annual Navratras and Muslims’ Ramzan, the Baha’is too have an annual fasting period, which falls in March every year). The religion has three core principles: the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of mankind. The notable thing is that it has no clergy and its affairs are administered by freely elected governing councils that operate at the local,national, as well as international levels.

Front View with pathway leading to temple

Front View with pathway leading to temple

The Baha’i faith teaches that prayer and meditation are two important instruments for the progress of the human soul.

Worldwide there are around 5.5m Baha’is and in India they number around 2.2m.

The temple
Since it was my friend’s first visit to the temple, for better understanding of Baha’i faith and to have an introductory knowledge about the temple, I thought it prudent to take him to the “Information Center” rather than going straight to this magnificent opus.

Information Center

Information Center

We were welcomed at the gate by a girl from North East, who guided us to the reception, where we were told a very brief history of the temple and were asked to see the exhibition. We were also told that a short film on the making of the temple was being shown at the auditorium. Since it was scheduled to start in the next two minutes, we opted to see the show before heading for the exhibition.

From the film and the exhibits, we learnt that this very recent architectural marvel of the Baha’i faith situated in the sprawling lush green 26 acres campus (this privately owned property was purchased by the Baha’i community in 1953, without any sort of grant from the Government), was designed by Fariborz Sahba, a Canadian architect of Iranian origin. He visited hundreds of temples all over the country with a view to discover a concept that would be loved by people of the different religions and would also reveal the simplicity, clarity and freshness of the Baha’i Revelation.

During his travels, he met a simple looking Indian Baha’i, Kamrudin Bartar, whom he had spoken to for the first time. Bartar suggested the lotus form for the temple. For Sahba, he was like a messenger of his master, sent especially for this. Probably it was destined that the temple be built in this shape.

View from Outside

View from Outside

The lotus flower is a manifestation of God, and is a symbol of purity and tenderness. Its significance is deeply rooted not only in the hearts of Indians, but even in some other countries this sacred flower has been associated with worship for many centuries.

The architect chose to use this ancient Indian symbol to create a design of ethereal beauty and apparent simplicity.

The construction work on the project started in 1980 and was completed in 1986. During the construction of the marvel, several traditional Indian means of construction were deployed together the most modern Western engineering design and appliances. Around 800 persons were involved in the construction activities.

The music for the inaugural function was conducted by the famous Sitar Maestro, Pandit Ravi Shankar, who was so much touched when he said “I was deeply moved visiting this great beautiful place, that I find no words to express my feelings”. The inaugural Baha’i conference was attended by over 10,000 Baha’is from all over the world.

From the Information centre we headed for the temple passing through some of the most exquisite lawns, full of flower beds of petunias, pansies, sweet sultans, flocks, white roses, etc and lush green grass.

Flower Beds

Flower Beds

The lotus, as seen from the outside, has three sets of leaves or petals, all of which are made of concrete shells. The temple is 34. 27m from floor to the apex, 70m in diameter and has a seating capacity of 1300. Twenty seven lotus petals form the walls. The architectural blossoming of the lotus has been very neatly described by S. Naharoy as:

1. The outermost set of nine petals, called “entrance leaves”, open outwards and form the nine entrances all around the outer annular hall.

Petals - At the entrance

Petals – At the entrance

2. The next set of nine petals, called the “outer leaves”, point inwards. The entrance and outer leaves together cover the outer hall.

3. The third set of nine petals, called the “inner leaves”, appear to be partly closed. Only the tips open out, somewhat like a partly open bud. This portion which rises above the rest, forms the main structure housing the central hall. Near the top where the leaves separate out, nine radial beams provide the necessary lateral support. Since the lotus is open at the top, a glass and steel roof at the level of the radial beams provides protection from rain and facilitates the entry of natural light into the auditorium. “

Top of the dome

Top of the dome

As per the normal practice in most of the religious places in India, shoes are required to be removed before entering the temple. There are requisite arrangements in place to help the visitors put the shoes in bags, which are kept in safety deposit at a room at the basement level, just before the entrance. This ensures absolute cleanliness of the temple complex. The best thing is that there are volunteers at all the strategic points to assist the visitors.

Right before the steps leading to the temple entrance, there is a fairly large library, where the visitors can sit and peruse the books borrowed from the library.

Lotus Temple Library

Lotus Temple Library

The real marvel starts once the visitors step on the huge pure white marbled elevated platform. The edifice is surrounded by nine beautiful pools, which signify the green leaves of the lotus. From a distance, it looks like a huge pond, out of which the lotus flower is just blooming out. These pools are not only an attractive feature, but also keep the building cool. There are nine archways to the temple, of which only one is used as entrance (perhaps to streamline the crowds) and another one as the exit.



The figure of “9 “ seems to have some significant meaning as we could see the temple surrounded by nine pools and there were nine archways into the temple. Another interesting thing is that a simple nine-pointed star is generally used by the Baha’is as a symbol of their faith. At the Information center, we were told that “nine” is chosen because it is the highest single-digit number and in many countries symbolises comprehensiveness, oneness and unity.

The most astounding thing is that this beautiful edifice has no pillars or beams. The petals are made of white concrete and are covered by marble (the same quality of marble as used in the Parthenon, mined in Greece, cut and polished in Italy and 10,000 pieces were brought to the site and assembled as a jig saw puzzle).

The volunteers at the entrance tell the visitors to maintain absolute silence in the temple, though every one is free to meditate or pray as per one’s religious practices.

No deities inside the hall

No deities inside the hall

On entering the temple, some of the visitors are perplexed on the absence of any idols, deities or altar in the temple. This perhaps is owing to the fact that the Baha’i faith is inspired by the basic tenets of monotheism. Also we were told that the most basic idea in the design is that light and water are used as its two fundamental elements and these two elements alone are responsible for the ornamentation of the edifice. Accordingly, there is just a microphone and rows of sitting chairs in the prayer hall, where the visitors can peacefully pray and meditate.

The large prayer hall, which is an embodiment of peace and tranquility, is cool, even in the peak summer season. Ventilation and cooling is perhaps based on the age old technique of fresh air getting cooled as it passes over the fountains and pools. It is drawn in the openings in the basement and goes up into the central hall and expelled through vents at top of the interior dome.

This magnificent edifice is not only one of the most visited places in the country, but also has been accredited with some of the most coveted awards. The International Federation for Religious Arts and Architecture, a US based organisation, gave very early recognition to this great work of architecture and conferred on Sahba the award for “Excellence in Religious Art and Architecture for 1987”. In 1988, this opus received award for structural design from the Institute of Structural Engineers of the United Kingdom.

House of Worship - Uganda

House of Worship – Uganda

House of Worship - Samoa

House of Worship – Samoa

House of Worship - Sydney

House of Worship – Sydney

House of Worship - Germany

House of Worship – Germany

(Some of the pictures have been received through the kind courtesy of the Director, Public Relations, Baha’i House of Worship. Our most grateful thanks to them.)

It would be pertinent to add that Baha’is have seven other places of worship located at Illinois (USA), Western Samoa (South Sea in the pacific), Panama City, Kampala (Uganda), Sydney and Frankfurt. The one at Santiago is at the drawing board stage and construction is likely to start there shortly. Like all these temples, the lotus shaped temple at New Delhi was also constructed using the voluntary donations of Baha’is of India and abroad. The most interesting feature is that only the Baha’is are eligible to contribute to the Baha’i funds. No wonder there are no entry fees, no parking or any kind of other charges. It is very fondly said that the House of worship is a gift from the Baha’i community to the world.

As our next port of halt was the ISKON Temple, we quietly took a last look at this magnificent edifice, which looks particularly spectacular at dusk, when it is floodlit.

Night View from Front

Night View from Front

We passed through the ancient Kalka ji temple, which is less than a Km away from Lotus Temple and reached ISKON Temple on time to attend to the evening “Aarti” and watch the sound and light show on “Shreemad Bhagwat Gita”, which in itself is an experience of life time. I would endeavour to write about this in my next post.

Thank you for visiting.

  • Patrick Jones

    Can a description be soothing? That’s what I felt after reading this post :-)

    Been there a number of times but the post evokes a feeling of freshness as well.

    Ram Dhall awes as usual

  • Wow! I didn’t even know that faith existed until this blog.

    thanks for sharing! Learnt a lot!

  • A wonderful report: unusually comprehensive, descriptive and factual. Thank you for writing this! (And for the photographs, which complement the story nicely.)

  • Thorough, detailed and enriching, the usual Ram Dhall story :)

    I must confess that I have been there multiple times but after reading this I dont think I have really been there. Also I keep suggesting everyone to visit this place and I guess now onwards, I would first ask them to read this and then venture. It adds so much more to the whole experience.

  • very enriching as Nandan much information..Im quite overwhelmed – reminded me of Auroville

  • Ram Dhall

    Patrick : Thanks for your very kind words. Your have made my day.

    Backpakker: Thank you for your heartwarming one liner – which says it all. Just to remind you, we are awaiting your post.

    Nomadic Matt : Thanks for visiting. Please do come again.

    John Bryden : Very nice of you to have written such generous comments. Please remain in touch.

  • The building is beautiful. But was it really a wise use of resources by Baha’is? Is this what God wants us to do, build more beautiful buildings, while people live in abject poverty? How much worship does the Lotus Temple actually house? Is it primarily a tourist destination and a propoganda/public relations tool? For a very different account of a visit to the Baha’i temple in India read mine at

    • Marty Flick


      Much as I appreciate your concern about an apparent ‘display of wealth’, it’s far more likely that the money that built the Lotus Temple – like the money that is currently building the House of Worship near Santiago, Chile, is given over years, not months. And far from being a simple display, you might be interested to note that every Mashriq’u’l Adhkar [dawning point of the mention of God] is planned, in the future, to have a number of institutions around it. For example, a home for the elderly, a library and other kinds of services to the community. These are envisaged from the very construction of the foundation. Part of the function of the initial building is to attract attention, so that folks will inquire just what has caused this to spring up in the midst of the people? It is meant also – as all of them are – as the physical, outward expression of the inner spirit of the community. Just thought you might like an alternative viewpoint. Marty, San Mateo, California, USA

  • Oops the period on the end of the link messes it up. Try this:

  • A beautiful and informative post. Thank you.
    To Priscilla: The reason six million Baha’is have only seven temples is because far more money goes to educational and medical projects all over the world than to buildings. The temples are merely symbols, one per continent. There are thousands of educational, agricultural and medical projects, most in countries where the government can not or does not provide education or other assistance, so the focus is not on buildings, but helping people improve their lives.

  • Patrick Jones


    Whilst sharing your concern for the well-being of millions out there especially after the series of heart-wrenching images coming out of Africa and other parts of the world (Pulitzer award-winning photo of a child crawling to a food-distribution centre while a vulture is waiting for him/her to fall dead is the most terrifying amongst them) a question often comes up: is social work is the ONLY mission we ALL should have?

    Life in our world would’ve been a drab affair had we fed, clothed, bathed and educated every human being first and then turn to music or art or anything aesthetic. While it should be our endeavour to uplift other human beings, what would those geniuses of art/music/literature do had they turned full-time social workers, squander their God-given gifts?

    The vulgar display of wealth should be condemned by all but it is not a sound advice to put an end to all things creative/beautiful.

    Where to draw a line? Let each individual decide on that.

  • rajiv malik

    dear ram ji,

    really enjoyed going through your article on bahai temple. i think ghummakar is really lucky to have a real ghummakar like you as a travel
    writer…………..god bless this website……

    will look forward eagerly to your future articles.

    rajiv malik

  • rajiv malik

    please read the correct name of the website as ghumakkar in my above mentioned comments.

    rajiv malik

  • Dear Ram sir,

    Thanks for this most amazing post on the Baha’i Temple. have been there once and always wanted to go there again… but could not find the time due to time constraints… now I just have to open and read the post and start feeling that peace and calm which envelopes you when you enter the temple…

    Thanks a ton! Eagerly waiting for your next post…

  • Patrick – What a wonderful thought.

    Priscilla – Without using too many words, I think the ultimate goal of any faith would be to educate and build awareness. These temples act as a wonderful instrument to do that. You would need something which could inspire (or probably awe) people.

  • Ram Dhall


    Thanks for your thought provoking comment.

    On the outset I would like to mention that I am not a Baha’i. The post I wrote was from the perspective of a visitor and I described what I saw and understood.

    Needless to say that we all have a great concern for the poor and downtrodden and I believe that we all are contributing for their upliftment as per our respective capabilities.

    As Patric Jones has very aptly said in his comment that besides social work (which of course is of great importance), we need to take care of the creativeness and developmental aspect too, without which progress is almost impossible.

    I also agree with Nandan that the temples, churches or mosques are good instruments for imparting education and awareness. In a country like India, where faith plays an all important role, the contribution of the religious places, where people meet and congeregate is of immense value.

    The questions you have raised were probably also relevant and existent during the Renaissance period, a golden era of history, when a lots of progress in the fields of literature, art, medicine, etc took place. If the rulers and the churches of those times did not support / patronise the artists, philosphers and researchers, we would have been devoid of many Gothic and Romensque structures, we see today. In my humble opinion, the ancient temples, churches, mosques and even some of the most beautiful historical structures were all a part of the vision and creativeness of some of the God gifted people.

    Now coming back to the Lotus Temple, I believe, before its construction, not many people in India were even aware of the existence of the Baha’i faith. I am told that on average around 10,000 persons visit this edifice every day and since its opening to the public, more than 60 million people have visited this place. Assuming that even 20% of the visitors made use of the prayer hall for prayers and meditation, the very objective of construction of this magnificent opus is probably achieved and it will carry on for ages to come.

    I think Duane Herrmann’s comment about the usage of resources for medical and educational purposes is self explicit.

    However, I still respect your opinion and as read somewhere in the writings of Abdu’l Baha that through the clash of opinions, comes the spark of truth.

    I am exremely grateful to you for your kind comment.

    Thank you and God Bless you

    • Bonnie Fields

      Re. Priscilla’s question about money spent, a Baha’i friend once told me, the Baha’is don’t want to not spend money on beauty, they want the world to not spend money on destruction : )
      Beauty is actually a tenet of the Baha’i teachings!
      Cheers and thanks.

  • Ram Dhall


    Please permit me to address you as Manish.

    Manish, I am extremely grateful to you for your very kind and heartwarming remarks.

    I am a great fan of your writings, especially the Wishful Riding Parts 1-5. Even posts on Daujidhar and Motorcycle Nirvana were simply superb. The flight of imagination in the Wishful Riding was just astounding.

    Would look forward to your next post.

  • Such a complete account, I’m sure I could not have got even after 10 visits to this place! Thanks for a great, panoramic perspective.

    Looking forward to the post on ISKCON temple.

  • Dr. A. K. Merchant

    Dear Mr. Dhall,

    Your article is, indeed, superbly written covering all the essential facts about the Baha’i Temple and some of the teachings of Baha’u’llah Who inspired the creation of such Houses of Worship. The universal appeal and the message of silent servitude this “lotus” unfolds has been deftly captured in your write-up and the selection of photographs. May the message of peace, harmony, aesthetics, spirituality and the hope of a better future conveyed by the Temple and those who serve it continue to touch the hearts of the unaware multitudes that dwell on this planet, our common homeland.

    With best wishes and kind regards.


    A. K. Merchant

  • Ram Dhall

    Dear Dr. Merchant,

    I am deeply touched by your very kind and generous words. Getting such comments from an eminent scholar like you, could be a matter of great honour for any one.

    My grateful thanks and kind regards,

    Ram Dhall

  • Aditya

    Simply great. Detailed and very well accounted. As Nandan said after reading this I dont think I have really been there. This post gave us a chance to understand more about the Temple beyond its marvelous structure.Thanks for sharing!

    Look forward to your next post.

  • Shaguna

    Thorough is the word for this post! I’ve been to Lotus Temple couple of times, but after reading the post, came to ‘really’ know the details. You have the knack of getting the best out of each experience.

    Thanks for sharing. Waiting for your next post!


    Dear Mr. Dhall
    It is indeed a very nicely written article on the Baha’i House of Worship in New Delhi. Another dimension of Lotus is its purity. Although it springs from murky waters it is considered a symbol of purity. Likewise, we human beings, although surrounded by many evils around us, are expected to shed the radiance of divine virtues and purity like the lotus.

    All the best

  • Farida Vahedi

    Dear Mr. Ram Dhall

    For one who has never been to the Bahai Temple in New Delhi, your article serves as an invaluable asset of sequencing one’s visit to the various locations in the Bahai Temple, of knowing what to expect and of establishing the link between, beauty and order with spirituality and service. To have a profound spiritual experience at the Bahai Temple, it is important to perceive it as a place of worship, contemplation and meditation and not just a beautiful architectural marvel which is attractive to every visitor. Your article has achieved that. It was a joy reading it.

    Farida Vahedi

  • Ram Dhall

    Dear Mr. Rao,

    I am extremely grateful to you for your very kind remarks.

    Sir, you have very aptly written that despite the fact that we are surrounded by many evils, we need to maintain our serenity and purity and you have given “lotus” as an example. I think, Fariborz Sahba, the architect (or shall I say, the composer of this magnificent opus) has conveyed similar sentiments through his great architectural marvel.

    Thanks once again.

    Ram Dhall

  • The grandiose and simplicity that the structure exudes is easily visible in Rams writing. His ability to observe beyond what we see and transform it into a soul-touching rendition through his words is simply gracious. His portrayal of Lotus Temple makes us look at its soul and experience the contentment of being there.

    No doubt, I would like him to write more and more on such places of interests and fill our hearts with the serenity of the atmosphere and the aroma of freshness that prevails so candidly in his works.

    Ram, my next visit to the Lotus Temple will definitely have a new perspective.

  • Nahid Sobhani,MD

    Dear Mr Ram,Dahl,
    I was so inspired to read your article I was just there 2 months ago at the House of Worship for a very short time to visit this breath takining temple your wobderful remark and genuone remarks add to my insperation and to be a Baha’i of origin irannian but live in US thinking how come the eyes of my fellow country men should be so closed not only to see these wonderful message coming out from their country yet to continue to persecute their fellow irannian Baha’i to the most,for last 165 years even to day to horras the childern lately.
    your article which you rote it with utmost sincerity and love may be a beautiful ansewr to very one in our planet.
    With the best loving greeting,
    Nahid Sobhani,MD.

  • Ram

    Dear Farida,

    The serenity and tranquility at the temple can only be experienced – it is simply beyond description. The moment one enters the prayer hall, one is tuned into the silence within, into a sphere of peace and placidity. The architectural marvel created by Mr. Sahba acts as an entry point and remains in your memory long after coming out of this magnificent edifice.

    I am very happy that you found the article informative.

    Thank you for your very kind and encouraging words.

    Best wishes,

    Ram Dhall

  • Neerja Dhall

    Dear Ram,
    Reading your panoramic account was indeed a splendid experience. For someone like me who has never had the opportunity to visit this is temple, your article is inspiration enough to visit it at least once.
    This temple has always been a part of our local culture and folklore and we have heard several anecdotes and stories connected with it. But your article brings to notice some amazing facts and stories related with it, which makes us realize how unaware we were.

    It was great to live your experience through your words.
    Hope to read more of your experiences as you have a wonderful knack to catch the best of moments in simply great words.
    Best wishes

  • Ram,

    I’ve been to the Lotus Temple years back but do not recall much except gazing at the beauty of it in wonder. In this post, you have explained so much so well, and I must say thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
    PS: The comments have been equally interesting.

  • Ram Dhall


    It is early in the morning at Delhi. I can see through my window, the sun is about to rise. The chirping of the sweet little birds, the beautiful morning breeze and the fragrance of your heartwaming remarks, have almost made my day.

    Thank you and God bless you.


  • Geetha Saravanan

    I’ve visited the Lotus temple a couple of times and the most memorable one was on a picnic from school. It was an awesome moving experience… the transformation from the continuous chatter of the school kids outside to the enforced silence inside the main hall. It is only now though, through your story that I’ve learnt the detailed facts and its history. Thankyou for such an informative and lovely narrative. The Lotus Temple in full bloom against the night sky is breathtaking.

  • Bhooma

    That is a really detailed description of the Baha ‘i faith and the temple.The number nine is important in hinduism too as we have the nav ratris, the nav grihas , the nav ratnas etc.Looking forward to the Iskon temple write up

  • manish khamesra

    Ram Uncle,

    I loved the description and in-fact after reading it I became very interested in Bahai religion, esp its status in Iran. I saw the comment by Nahid, hinting that things are not that good for its followers in its country of origin.

    Middle East-Asia has something spiritual in it and that can explain birth of so many spiritual leader from that holy place, same like India.

    Lotus – a Flower that blooms in muddy swamp and raise itself above the mud around it. I would like to share a remark about a telephone line man. It was around the time BSNL was the only player in telephones and corruption in this area was rampant. This person came to my colleagues house and installed a new connection. As tradition, my colleague offered him money. The line man refused it saying that he don’t take mony for his job, but please keep this money safe as very soon, other colleagues of his department will come demanding the same.

    I have not seen that man, but I think he is a Lotus among us. Its easy to be honest, when you have enough and you are working in an environment where everyone is honest. It needs steel to be honest when everyone around is corrupt and you are not that rich too. Though surprisingly money doesnot decides a person’s honesty.

    And that’s why Harishchadra’s honesty and integrity is admirable. He was so even in very trying situations.

    Thanks Uncle again for sharing the experience. The only problem is that you have raised our expectations from your articles a lot. So we would be expecting similarly rich articles from you everytime.

  • Ram Dhall

    Thanks Manish for your very kind and encouraging words. You have placed a lot of responsibility on me. I am a very simple and straight forward sort of person. I speak and write, whatever I see and understand, very candidly. In the process, if scholarly persons like you, find something good about my humble submissions, it is sheerly, through God’s kindness. Nevertheless, I will try my best to come up to your expectations.

    Your analogy with the Telephone Mechanic, reminds me of a short story entitled “honesty”, written by Sudha Murthy in her collection of stories by the name – “Wise and otherwise”. She has said something similar to what you described.

    Yes, Middle East did provide not only some of the famous saints, but also gave the world, three great religions – Islam, Christianirty and Judaism.

    Thanks once again

  • Ajayan George

    I have been to the Lotus Templefew times,apart from being an arcitectural marvel of this time,I must say that Lotus Temblehas a spirit in it,and it is a world of its own.I could find peace in there.

  • Ram Dhall

    Dear Dr. Sobhani,

    I am deeply touched by your very kind words. Getting such remarks from a practicing physician is an honour for me.

    Thank you very much for your kindness.

    Ram Dhall

  • Ram Dhall

    My grateful thanks to all of you for your kind remarks.

    Rajesh : I can’t say much about my post, but your kind words can make any one feel very happy. I will endeavour to write something on other places too.

    As discussed the other day, please do favour us with your writings. We shall await.

    Smita, Aditya, Shaguna, Geetha, Neerja: Thank you for your heartwarming words. God bless you.

    Bhooma ji: Thank you for your comment regarding the importance of “Nine” for Hindus. I did mention about “Navratras”, but in a different context. Your kind remarks have given a further clarification to the similarities of practices in various countries.

    Thanks Ajayan George for your remarks.

  • Avinash

    Dear Sir,

    I had been to Lotus temple ample number of times as I had spent seven years of my professional life in Delhi but never ever gone to such depth like you did. It was during my visit to yet another Bahai House of Worship located in Kampala, Uganda last year that I came to know about the spread this religion has. It was there that I learnt that there are only seven house of worship in this world with Delhi, India among one of them. Nice writing sir and thanks for sharing such vast amount of info.

  • Deepak

    Ram Saab,
    As usual you were fantastic . I learnt an awesome lot, all this was new to me !! Hope to see it some day, specially after reading your article

  • Veer Mukhi

    Dear Ram,

    It is really worderful. You reminded me of my first visit to the temple in 1987. It’s architecture is as marvelous as your narration. I am reminded of an old saying, “World is full of beauty when the heart is full of love” .
    May the light of love shine and bring peace to all.
    You are right Figure “9” is the most comprehensive figure. This figure has potent reference in many religious books. It is so powerful that if you multiply 9 by 9 and keep compounding, the sum total of the resultant is always 9, like 9×9=81(8+1=9), 81×9=729 (7+2+9=18 {1+8=9}, 729×9=6561 (6+5+6+1=18) {1+8=9}, 6561×9=59049 (5+9+0+4+9=27) {2+7=9} etc. May be I have gone too far.
    Good luck Ram and keep sharing your views, thoughts and very distinct camera shots.

    Veer Mukhi

  • Ram Dhall


    It is early morning in Delhi, the dawn is almost setting in. The soulful chirping of the tiny little birds, someone next door reciting the holy “Gayatri Mantra” and the arrival of your beautiful message on my computer screen, what else could any one ask for. Thank you, you have made my day, Veer.

    Your beautiful description of the comprehensiveness of the figure “9” has added flavour to my humble submission.

    God bless you and the family.


  • Ram Dhall

    Avinash: Good to see you after an interval. Thanks for your kind remarks.

    Thanks Deepak. You are not only a great source of encouragement to me, but also a store house of strength to many other friends in NCR.

    God bless you and be with your family, always.

  • Dinesh Sharma

    Ram SIr,

    Every post encourage us & rasie our anxiety to revisit that places even we had already visited these places many time. The extract of this post is very educational and pious. Me & my family is grateful to as you had given us the eye to visit the places.

    Exellent review.


    Dinesh Sharma

  • Edmund Jayaraj

    I have been to this temple twice and the post has further enhanced its beauty and my understanding of it.
    Edmund Jayaraj

  • Madhavi Srivastava

    Dear Mr. Dhall

    Really loved the article on the Lotus Temple. Its very exhaustive. There are so many things one did not know about the Bahai’s or, for that matter, the Lotus Temple. Also read with great interest the comments & conter replies of Priscilla & others. I feel that such places ,where many can congregate,are a necessity to organise large scale operations , which these things require.Here many people can be contacted at one go. Hope to see more such articles in the near future.

    Best wishes

  • Ram Dhall

    Dear Madhavi,

    I am indeed very grateful to you for your kind and gracious words.

    Honestly, I did enjoy the interactive and healthy comments on the issues raised by Priscilla, which were very aptly attended to by Patrick Jones and Nandan.

    Please do keep on visiting the site and keep us apprised of your views on various posts.

    Warm regards

  • manish khamesra

    Ram Uncle,

    Today I read some very interesting information about Bahais in “Hindustan times”, so sharing with all:

    * The largest population of people believing in Baha’i faith, lives in India, around 2.2 million and in Iran their population is around 3,50,000.

    * Bahai’s is the fastest growing religion in the world.

  • Thanks for the information Manish. Yes, the largest population of Baha’is lives in India. Though the faith started in Iran, for the reasons so aptly stated by Dr. Nohaid Sobhani, a pediatrician from Maryland, USA (comment number 26), the Baha’is population in Iran does not seem to be considerably high. There could be some other reasons too about which I am not well versed.


    Dear Sir,

    It is really a soul touching article. I have been to the Lotus Temple few years back and could recall the beautiful structure only. As per my opinion and rating it is the best article written by you. Excellent description of the Temple, Bhai faith with the very fine details of the structure as well as the architecture of the structure. It is the soul of this article as per me. Being a Civil Engineer it was really so good to know the technical details of the structure too. It simply proves your efforts and hard work to provide us such knowledge of the different places. This article really makes me curious to see the Temple again. Great work Ram Sir, please keep it on.

  • prajkta shukla

    hello ram sir,well congrasts your this article was far interesting than let me tell you thiis information was rough facts available easily on net.we except you to write more than that?like was the temple funded?are all the volunteers indian national n bahai?why ther is only one temple in a country?n much more.
    hope you wud reply these questions n satisfy readers.apart from that we want you to write for no of different monuments awaiting attenion.thkz n good luk.with warm regards
    prajkta shukla

  • mehak

    well it was quite rocking.when i recently went there i forgot abt myself n my companion n only icud remember was your words n lotus temple.thus i replied.marvellous be honest it was jhakaaas!!!!!!!!!

  • Prajkta ji,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    I am glad you have raised these questions. Such constructive and interactive remarks do help the writers to overcome their shortcomings and to that extent I am grateful to you.

    I give below a seriatim response to your queries:


    I re-iterate what I have said in my post:

    a)— situated in the sprawling lush green 26 acres campus (this privately owned property was purchased by the Bahai community in 1953, without any sort of grant from the Government),

    b) Like all these temples, the lotus shaped temple at New Delhi was also constructed using the voluntary donations of Bahais of India and abroad. The most interesting feature is that only the Bahais are eligible to contribute to the Bahai funds.

    I would also like to add an excerpt from one of the interviews given by Fariborz Sahba, the designer and the architect of this edifice:

    The National Spiritual Assembly of Bahais of India printed a large number of coupons valued from one rupee to one hundred rupees to raise funds from Bahais scattered in several thousand localities in India. Bahais from all over the world also contributed voluntarily for the construction of the temple.


    All the volunteers are Bahais. Many of the volunteers are from India, though there are volunteers from Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Canada, USA and many other countries too, as the community has a worldwide presence. The tenure of the volunteers is between one to three months.

    Number of temples

    I think Duane L Herrman in the comment no. 9 has very aptly clarified your query. It says:

    The reason six million Bahais have only seven temples is because far more money goes to educational and medical projects all over the world than to buildings. The temples are merely symbols, one per continent. There are thousands of educational, agricultural and medical projects, most in countries where the government can not or does not provide education or other assistance, so the focus is not on buildings, but helping people improve their lives.

    I personally feel that as the Bahai community grows, there could be other temples in the smaller towns as well. It is also good to know that the community doesnt believe in the stand alone temples only, but also envisages other social organisations in the vicinity of the temple, like hospitals, old age homes and educational institutions.

    While thanking you once again for your kindness, I trust that the above is to your satisfaction

    Please do keep us apprised of your valuable views from time to time.

    Best regards,

    Ram Dhall

  • To Priscilla,

    I watch the Lotus Temple being built, and I can tell you that it gave thousands of pretty destitute people what they needed most, jobs. Right now Baha’is have only one building like this for each continent. I think that is hardly squandering our resources. As for how much worshipping goes on there, I suppose you can answer that for yourself. How many prayers did you say? For my own part, I recall how stirring it was to hear the Hidden Words being sung in Hindi by a children’s choir. The arrangement was done by Pundit Ravi Shankar.

    warmest, Susan

  • Susan,

    Thanks for your kind remarks.

    I fully agree with you that one of the objectives of construction of such edifices is the generation of employment, though as very aptly mentioned by Patrick Jones, Nandan and others, such monuments are almost a necessity for the cultural, spiritual and educational awareness.

    Thanks for reminding about the beautiful compositions of Pandit Ravi Shankar, especially composed for the inaugural occassion. I have an audio cassette of the recording and enjoy this soothing music from time to time.

    Please do keep on visiting the site and share with us your views.

    Warm regards,

    Ram Dhall

  • Mohit,

    It is a great honour to get such encouraging remarks from a person who is himself a civil engineer and understands the intricacies of the structural engineering.

    I am glad that you found the post informative.

    Thank you very much.


    Your heart warming “mast” comments brought an immense joy to me.

    Do keep on sharing your views.

    Thanks and God’s blessings.

  • prajkta shukla

    hello ramsir,im quite impressed by your answer.well you mentioned abt a volunteer sabha from kuwait.i wud like to contact her for more details.plz provide me d contact no if you can.

  • Prajkta,

    Thanks for your kind remarks.

    As I mentioned earlier, the normal tenure of the volunteers is between 1-3 months and they stay at a hostel located close to the Information Centre. In case you need any information about the volunteers, you may please contact:

    The Director, Public Relations,
    Baha’i House Of Worship,
    Kalkaji, Near Nehru Place,
    New Delhi – 110019.
    Tel No. 2644 4029, 2644 4035.

    E-mail: [email protected]


  • WoW…the pictures are simply excellent & the writeup in one word ‘Marvelous’. I have read very few of detailed posts like this & that too so beautifully done…Your research, observations & thoughts are so vivid and beautifully captured in words, I could visualise the Lotus temple even without viewing the pictures…a comprehensive post….Excellent work!

  • Ram Dhall

    Kalyan Da,

    I am profusely overwhelmed by your very kind and generous remarks.

    Getting such sweet words from a scholarly person like you could be a matter of honour for any one. Sir, I am deeply touched

    Please do keep on enriching us not only through your enthraling writings, but also your kind views on our posts.

  • s.v.kumar

    God give an golden oppertunity in my life is period of “one month” that is when i was stayed in lotus temple as volunter “THAT IS MONTH OF MAY”
    It is GODS GRACE
    by S.V.KUMAR Chennai

  • Jeevan

    The world needs sincere souls like Ram Dhall in abundance. I am proud he, being a non- believer in the Bahai religion is able to see beauty in the Bahai religion. I am equally deeply moved and touched by the passion with which he glorifies what is good in other religions. I have read and heard of the Lotus Temple. But it is this particle article that has tempted me definitely visit the Lotus Temple. Kudos to Ram Dhall!


  • Elena

    Dear Ram,
    Thank you for a wonderful moving report and wonderful pictures. You have done such a great job here!
    I also enjoyed reading the comments.
    I am a Baha’i living in the UK. I have always wanted to visit India and the Lotus Temple and now feel even more encouraged to do so. I have visited two other temples – in Germany where I sang as part of a choir and Samoa on holiday. As you say the Lotus Temple attracts a lot of visitors from all over the world. For instance, I noted recently that a UK based tour of India was including a visit to the temple as part of their itinery.
    Regarding the interesting discussion about people living in poverty and the raising of funds for building the temple, I am sure that I read a moving account about how the funds for the temple were raised. This related that an Indian Baha’i, originally Hindu and from an impoverished background, had worked hard all his life, saving and establishing a business. Later, he heard of the Baha’i Faith and became a Baha’i. On hearing that monies were needed for purchasing the land and the building of the temple, he decided to sell his assets and donate to the funds. I think I have got the story right. Does anybody else know of it and who this gentleman was?
    Thank you once again Dear Ram and May God Bless you!

  • Ram


    I am deeply touched and moved by your very kind words. I am glad that the post was to your satisfaction.

    As a matter of fact, I was indisposed for sometime and was practically out of touch with my ghumakkar friends. Your comments have motivated me to bounce back and catch up with the unread posts.

    Please do keep on posting your views.

    Thanks and God’s blessings.

  • Ram

    Dear Elena,

    Thanks for your very sweet words and for liking the post.

    The gentelman you have mentioned in your comments was called Ardeshir Rustampour. an Indian Parsee, who accepted the Baha’i faith.

    Another interesting fact is that for the purchase of land and construction of the temple, coupons of Re. 1 -100 were purchased by the Baha’is all across the country (as you know contributions from Baha’is only are accepted), with a view to have a total community support. I am told that at the time of purchase of land, the shortcoming was made up by Ardeshir by selling his assets, which helped immensely. His sacrifice will be remembered for a long time.

    Needless to say that the Bahai’s across the world have contributed to the cause not only financially, but also provided manual labour during the construction of the temple.

    Singing in a choir at the German temple, speaks of your devotion and talents.

    Last but not the least, no itnerary is complete without a visit to the Lotus Temple. It would be interesting to note that this is the second largest visited eddifice in the country (after Taj Mahal and may be the Golden Temple)

    Please do keep on visiting and apprise us of your views.

    May God be with you.

  • S V Kumar,

    Working as a volunteer at the temple is not only a great service to the society, but also a matter of honour.

    The excellent upkeep and maintenance of the temple is largely due to the untiring efforts of the volunteer force.

  • Here is Peter Khan, member of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Baha’i Faith, confirming that the “Baha’i strategy” is indeed to favor showy buildings over other priorities. He thinks it is right through a spriitual perspective:

    “It gives us also insight to Baha’i strategy. For example, consider the Baha’i strategy to spend a vast sum of money on beautifying Mt Carmel at a time when the world is crying out for hospitals, for schools, for more effective means of agriculture, for scholarships for bright kids to get a good education. If you and I were running the world, the beautification of Mt Carmel, a construction of an elaborate series of terraces and a bunch of marble buildings would not be our highest strategy at a time of inadequate material resources. Yet this is the Baha’i strategy; it is best appreciated, can only be appreciated, from a spiritual perspective. If you look at it from a material perspective, it’s either megalomania or some distorted sense of priorities. From a spiritual perspective, it is none of those things, it is the fulfilment of the millennia-old prophecies of the establishment of the seat of God’s administrative order on God’s holy mountain and all the spiritual forces that are attracted by that accomplishment. So, my point is that the most pressing need before us all over the world is that of acquiring a heightened spiritual consciousness.”

    • Greg Moore

      Dear Friend, I think Dr Khan’s point was that the long term priority for humanity is the estblishment of a spiritual world governing body on Mount Carmel. Likewise, construction of the temples in various lands is a long range plan for the spiritual growth of humanity as a whole. Hospitals and schools are good, but help far fewer people on the global scale and in the long run.

  • pankaj jain

    Besides a book lover and a passionate traveller you also appear to have a good sense of taking photographs. Your snaps are giving a very pleasing feeling to my eyes. Thanks . Keep on taking.

  • This is such a beautiful post, I have passed near the lotus temple so many times but never ventured in. Now it is on my must do list next time I am in NCR. Thanks for giving a brief about history of the Baha’i faith

    • Ram Dhall

      Thank you Prasad for liking thev post.

  • Dear Mr. Dhall,

    This is perhaps the most comprehensive account of the Lotus temple. Your k een observation skills and attention to details are incomparable. Thanks for sharing this with us, as I must admit that before reading this article, I wasn’t much aware of the Baha’s faith.

    I am so glad this article has been republished.


    • Ram Dhall

      On the onset, welcome back to your editorial desk. Needless to say that though Archna had been doing a wonderful job, your presence was always missed.

      Thank you for your kind words for this re-published humble post.

      I keep on getting news about you and Vijay from Nandan, including his visit to Hamirpur to attend the wedding. May God bless you both and keep you happy, always. I would request Nandan to inform me of your next visit to his home. Would look forward to meet you and Vijay.

      Warm regards, God’s blessings and Season’s greetings

      • Dear Sir, thank you for your reply. The next time we visit Nandan, I will remind him about informing you. In the meanwhile, may be you could visit me and Vijay at our home. You just have to let us know and we will be there to greet you… :)


    Hello Mr Ram Dhall,

    It is a great post by all accounts….I somehow missed it in the previous edition. Despite more than one visit to the temple, almost the entire information provided here is new for me.

    Always interesting reading your posts…..

    @ Nandan – it is a wonderful idea, republishing such gems.



    • Ram Dhall

      Thank you Aurojit for your kind and inspiring words.

      May God bless you and your family.

  • I failed to update here that this has been re-published early today and it is heartening to see a lot of new comments already. Thank you Auro. Let me read it once more as well. :-)

    • Ram Dhall

      Thanks Nandan and the editorial team for re-publishing this humble post. It has revived many of my fond memories of visiting the edifice to gather material for this post.

      God bless you all.

  • Munesh Mishra

    Hi Mr Ram Dhall,
    Nice post about your visit to Lotus Temple Delhi. Your post provides detailed information to readers.
    Photos of different view of the temple and other Bahai House of Worship also very interesting.

    • Ram Dhall

      Thank you Munesh for liking the post.

  • Nirdesh Singh

    Hi Ram Sir,

    I have savoured this post several times. And it keeps getting better.

    There was a time when we had an unhindered view of the contruction of the temple and the completed temple from our third floor terrace in Alaknanda. But now newer buildings have blocked the view.

    It is time I visited the temple.

    • Ram Dhall

      Nirdesh Babu,

      It gives me an immense satisfaction, when an artist of your calibre finds time to re-read such an humble post and also like it.

      My heartful thanks for your kind words.

      May God bless you.

  • Rathinavel

    Hi Ram Sir

    Great support to the society !

    Can I able to find Bahai temple in Chennai, is it there?


  • The latest of Bahai temple, in South America, is another art wonder. It seems it came up very recently.