Yesterday my husband and I made the trek to Delhi in the steamy July air to visit the Lotus Temple. The Temple is a Bahai house of worship but due to its stunning architecture it’s become a popular attraction for people from all over the world. Built in 1986, the structure follows the Bahai’s scriptural requirement of being a nine-sided building. The interior is devoid of any adornments, pictures or statues. It’s very plain but the simplicity is stunning. The ceiling sweeps up as if one is standing inside a blossom and at the tip where the petals would open, they greet a golden sun skylight bearing the name of God.
Although it’s a Bahai house of worship, all are welcome there. You are asked to remove your shoes as you approach the temple and after a brief welcome outside by temple members you are free to enter the sanctuary. Cell phones must be turned off and cameras must be stowed away. The final qualification as you enter is that you remain completely silent during your time inside.
Wooden benches encircle the sanctuary. The only decorations are vases of fresh flowers and the view of the grounds through the large windows which encircle the base of the building. There is a hush there. Even with the inevitable sounds of people moving, something touches the silence in you and asks it to spread its petals.
We meditated there, hand in hand, for quite awhile. During our silence we were serenaded by a pair of mina birds who had chosen to make their home inside the sanctuary. I went so deeply into the hush that all sound eventually ceased. But there was the feeling of peaceful unity hung about me like a comfortable blanket.
When I opened my eyes again, I realized there were people from other countries mingled in with the native Indians. Some held rosaries or other types of prayer beads, some wore the bindi of Hinduism, others wore the white cap or hijab worn by Muslims. We were just a silent sea of humanity joined for that short time within the blossom of the lotus with one heart joined in one intention. It was beautiful.
Photos from our day: