It has been more than 3 years since I went to India with two of my good friends. As usual, it was one of those extended-yet-short-weekend escapades. With our limited time, fitting the Lotus temple in our itinerary was something to think about. But I really wanted to see it and I knew we could manage. My friends have agreed, although from what I could recall, they wanted to do some shopping instead. Well, I was leaving a day ahead of them so I guess, it wasn’t a difficult choice to make after all.
None of them knew what to expect with the Lotus Temple. When they asked me, I just told them that it is said to be beautiful especially with its amazing architecture, of which looked like a Lotus. Once we arrived, it just took my breath away. The photos doesn’t compare to its beauty.
The Lotus Temple is indeed a sight to behold. Surrounded by a vast garden, its simplicity would want you to stare at it for a while — like as if you could wait and see if the Lotus would bloom as time passes. Like a flower, it comprises of 27 marble-clad “petals”, of which has 3 layers with 9 petals (sides) each.
A lot of people were there to visit the temple. It is said to be one of the most visited sites in the world, having surpassed that of the Eiffel and Taj Mahal at some point. I’ve read that its beauty at night is just as fascinating.
To add, it also has 9 ponds surrounding it. We were able to see one of those. We didn’t have a clue at that time that there were actually 9 of them. (A top view from afar could’ve given us the image, but that’s just me, wishful thinking).
Once we arrived inside, it felt different. It wasn’t as crowded as expected. And there were no sculptures or any definitive religious images. It felt open and peaceful. I remember sitting there in my lotus sitting position at the cold marble seat. I remember looking at the ceiling, wondering. I remember observing the people that come and go. I remember saying a silent prayer. I probably prayed for my love life too. And I remember taking time to do so, while my friends wait for me.
I didn’t bother taking photos inside, as I thought it was an intimate moment for all of us. There was a certain calm that you could get just by being there.
I’ve always believed that regardless of your religion (and even if you don’t have one), for as long as you do good and practice your good intentions without harming anybody, then you are in the right path. But I do believe in God. Doing and being good is probably one of the core teachings of most religions. For the most part, the “caveat” is that it comes from a specific God, and sometimes, some of us become restricted in (or feel restricted by) our own faith.
Visiting the Lotus Temple has made me appreciate the openness of what it actually stands for. The Lotus Temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship, which believes that there is only one creator, one spiritual source, and that we are all equal. That there is unity of God, religion, and humanity, respectively.
The Lotus Temple is a place of worship that truly doesn’t discriminate, as it is open to all regardless of their religion. No sermons nor rituals may be practiced inside. Prayers can be read in any language and music can be sang (without instruments) as well.
Our whole visit at the Lotus temple didn’t take that long. From the temple, a better view of the gardens around could be seen. And the colorful crowd is just as fascinating.
The Lotus Temple is a must-see for anyone, for those who want to pray, practice their faith, and even find peace and solitude. Although it gets really crowded outside, it can be pretty quite inside, as most know how to practice silence and respect.
It is also a good place to internalize, reflect, and even observe how you are in the middle of the crowd (but I guess if you’ve been to any tourist spot, it’s also a good place to do those as well!).
For the architecture and landscape aficionado, this is indeed a sight to see. Relatively compared to other places of worship, it doesn’t have any intricate sculptures nor colorful designs. It’s pretty straightforward. But its simplicity is very captivating and could truly take your breath away.
The best part, like most religious sites, it is free of charge. 🙂