The Bahá'í Temple in Delhi is one of the most visited buildings in the world, attracting over 50 million people since it opened in 1986. Also known as the Lotus Temple for its distinct half-open lotus design, the belief behind the Bahá'í house of worship is that it should be open for all, regardless of denomination. There are however certain rules: no sermons can be delivered, no ritualistic ceremonies and no musical instruments can be played. There are also no religious images displayed.
Bahá'í temples must all be a nine-sided circular shape as set out in their scriptures, hence the solution of a lotus shape. Bahá'í is an independent religion founded around 1844. Their belief is in a mystic feeling with unites man with God and they do not dictate how that be done, hence their openness to other forms of worship within their temples.
The Lotus Temple was designed by Fariborz Sahba, and has won many awards. It was designed in 1976, opened in 1986, and largely built with moneys left by Ardishír Rustampúr of Hyderabad who, in 1953, bequeathed his life savings to the church to build a temple. The temple is made of white marble from Greece and sits on 26 acres (10.5 hectares) of land, which has nine ponds and extensive gardens.
We had a wonderful experience on our Delhi tour. Our guide, Ashish, was able to share the history about India overall and each site specifically. He was lots of fun, spoke excellent English, and engaged in very informative discussions throughout the day. He knew a great place for us to have lunch - the best Indian food we've ever had. Our driver was also wonderful and navigated the complexities of Delhi traffic with great expertise. We couldn't have been more pleased with our experience.
Wonderful tour! My guide was very sharp, easy to understand, and hilarious. We had a really fun day and he was super flexible in seeing everything I wanted and suggesting some extra stop. Perfect tour!
I am so glad I booked this Private Custom Tour: Delhi in One Day! Our knowledgeable, energetic, fun and articulate guide Avdesh ("Avi") was wonderful! He met us at the hotel lobby on time and together we toured many of Delhi's key attractions. I simply gave him a list of what we wanted to see (Qutab Minar, Safdarjung's Tomb, Lodi Gardens, Humayun's Tomb, Purana Qila, Jama Masjid, Red Fort, and Chandi Chowk) and he was genuinely happy to show us around. If we hadn't already prepared a list, he would have made suggestions in that first meeting to establish an itinerary; he was organized and professional. We set the pace and could be as quick or as slow as we chose for each location. He thoroughly explained each site and was patient as I gave my camera a work-out. Avi also did a great job of watching over us by ensuring we paid the correct entry fees where appropriate and that we weren't scammed or bothered anywhere along the way. One of the best parts was that at my request he even helped us navigate the North India Railway Station to find the international tourist office (2nd floor) so we could buy 1st class tickets to Agra the following day. I wouldn't have had those tickets without Avi's help, translation skills, and ability to guide us clear of people at the station who intentionally misdirect tourists. The driver was great also, waiting for us at each site, getting us safely and quickly through traffic, and stopping on a dime or pulling u-turns when I had to get a photo of something unexpected. I've used Viator in Paris, Moscow, and now New Delhi and have never been disappointed.
Catch the bus to Nehru Place Bus Terminal and it is a short walk from there. You can go on a guided tour or self-guided tour of the temple. There is an information center showing films and regular daily prayer sessions in the hall. You must take off your shoes before entering - there is a shoe room. Also no photography is allowed inside.