Officially known as the Lakshminarayan Temple in honor of the god Vishnu (the preserver in the Hindu trinity) and his consort Lakshmi, the beautiful Birla Mandir complex centers around one of the most significant temples in the Indian capital. Though built in the 1930s, it remains one of the finest local examples of modern temple architecture.
Spread out over seven acres (three hectares), this large temple complex was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi himself in 1939, and was groundbreaking for its time in that it allowed people of all castes and backgrounds to enter. Although the main 3-story temple is dedicated to Vishnu and Lakshmi, it features shrines to numerous deities, including Shiva and the Buddha. The grounds are a fun place for families, with large plaster animals that are big enough for kids (or small adults) to climb on.
Birla Mandir is a popular stop on many group and private Delhi tours, particularly those focused on temples and religious sites. Some time their visits to coincide with the morning and evening aarti, a traditional Hindu ritual.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Birla Nadir is a must for lovers of religious and temple architecture.
- Photography is not allowed inside the temples but is permitted in the surrounding gardens.
- Secure lockers are available by the main entrance.
- Not wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Birla Mandir is located about a 10-minute drive or auto-rickshaw ride west of New Delhi’s Connaught Place. The closest metro stop, Ramakrishna Ashram Marg, is a 20-minute walk away. Generally it’s easiest to visit by taxi or as part of an organized tour.
When to Get There
The Birla Mandir complex is open daily from 4:30am to 1:30pm and 2:30pm to 9pm. Like all Delhi attractions, it’s often more pleasant to spend time here during the cooler winter months. Especially if you’re visiting in the hot season (particularly May and June), you may want to get up early or visit after sunset to avoid the heat—and to catch an aarti ceremony.
The Birla Family Legacy
This temple (or mandir) is the oldest of many similarly named and equally grand Birla Mandirs built by one of India’s most prominent industrial families, the Birlas. Although there are Birla Mandirs dedicated to a variety of deities—from Shiva, the destroyer in the Hindu trinity, to the goddess of learning and music, Sarasvati—a good number are dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan, including the landmark Birla Mandir in Jaipur.