Lotus Temple: The Expressionist Architecture
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Lotus Temple: The Expressionist Architecture

Lotus Temple: The Expressionist Architecture
(Dreamstime)

Lotus Temple, located in Delhi, has been a popular tourist spot since it was first opened to public in 1986. Known for its architectural splendour, the beautiful flower-like temple was conceived by Fariborz Sahba and constructed by a team of 800 technicians, engineers, artisans and workers over a period of 10 years. The iconic temple, also known as the Bahá’í House of Worship, is visited by people of all faiths -- the Bahá’í faith teaches ‘the Oneness of God, the Oneness of Religions, and the Oneness of Mankind’.

The magnificent structure

The temple, which stands 40 metres tall, is made of white marble and is surrounded by nine ponds adding to its aesthetic beauty. In order to give the temple a lotus-like look, it had to be converted into different geometrical shapes, including cylinders, spheres and cones. Later, these shapes were transformed into equations, based on which the drawings were made and structural analyses were conducted. The design was so complex that it took almost two-and-a-half years to complete.

The temple has a library, ancillary block, reception centre and restroom block. The lotus has three levels of petals. The nine outer petals are part of the nine entrances; the next set points inwards and covers the outer hall; and the last set of petals, known as inner leaves, are partly closed. At the top, the lotus is open, allowing the sunlight to enter. This open area is protected with a glass-and-steel roof.

Significance of the lotus

Lotus, in Indian culture, symbolises purity, love, peace, and immortality. It has also been part of the Hindu mythology as a sacred flower associated with Lord Brahma, the creator. In Buddhism, it is said that Bodhisatva was born from a lotus. So, the significance of the lotus spiritually links all faiths together.

Honours received

  • In 1987, International Federation for Art and Architecture, USA, honoured Fariborz Sahba with an award for Excellence in Architecture
  • The Institute of Structural Engineers in UK awarded Lotus Temple with the award for best structural design
  • The temple received the Citation Award for beautifully illustrating the visual impact of a lotus flower
  • In 1988, the temple received recognition for its outdoor illumination
  • For its artistic built, the temple received the American Concrete Institute Award
  • In 2000, Glob Art Academy in Vienna awarded the temple with "Glob Art Academy Award"
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