Delhi

General Information:Site Land: Purchased in 1953
Temple land Area: 26.6 acres
Overall Height: 34.27 metres
Overall Diameter: 70 meters
Seating Capacity: 1300 people
Number of pools: 9
Architect: Mr. Fariburz Sahba
Start of Construction: April 21, 1980
Inauguration: December 1986
Timings: Summer 9:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.,
Winter 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Monday closed.

About Birla Temple:It is a very recent architectural marvel of the Bahai faith, located in Kalkaji, south of Delhi. Shaped like a half opened Lotus flower, this temple is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility. Bahai’s Temple is a marvel of modern architecture, which is visible from several spots in south Delhi. The lotus flower signifies purity and peace, a representation of the Manifestation of God, to the people of India. This ancient symbol has been given a modern and contemporary form in the structure of the Bahai House of Worship drawing into its sanctum sanctorum people from all races, religious backgrounds and culture from around the globe. It represents the Bahai faith, - an independent world religion; divine in origin, all acceptance in scope, broad in its outlook, scientific in its method, humanitarian in its principles, and dynamic in the influence.
This "House of Worship of the Indian subcontinent" joins six other Bahá'í temples around the world. Each of these Houses of Worship, while sharing some basic design concepts, has its own distinct cultural identity embodying the principle of unity in diversity. The lotus, the national flower of India, is a recurring symbol in the religious architecture of the Indian subcontinent. This ancient symbol has been given a modern and contemporary form in the structure of the Bahá'í House of Worship drawing into its sanctum sanctorum people from all races, religious backgrounds and culture from around the globe.
To the people of India the lotus flower signifies purity and peace, a representation of the Manifestation of God. Rising pure and unsullied above stagnant, muddy waters, the Indians have seen this flower as worthy of emulation, teaching them to be detached from material preoccupations. It is because this flower is so revered in Indian mythology and cultures that its translation into the design of a temple has caught the attention of the people at large.
The structure of the House of Worship is composed of three ranks of nine petals; each springing from a podium which elevates the building above the surrounding plain. The first two ranks curve inward, embracing the inner dome; the third layer curves outward to form canopies over the nine entrances. The petals, constructed of reinforced white concrete cast in place, are clad in white marble panels, performed to surface profiles and patterns related to the geometry. The double-layered interior dome, modeled on the innermost portion of the lotus, is comprised of 54 ribs with concrete shells between. Nine arches that provide the main support for the superstructure ring the central hall. Nine reflecting pools surround the building on the outside, their form suggesting the green leaves of the lotus flower.
In the raising of the House of Worship in New Delhi traditional Indian means of construction were employed coupled with the most modern Western engineering design. Fariborz Sahba, Canadian architect of Iranian origin, spent 10 years in designing and project management, and with the help of a team of about 800 engineers, technicians, artisans and workers brought to realization one of the most complicated constructions in the world. The conversion of the lotus into structural designs and working drawings alone took the architect and his structural consultant Messrs. Flint and Neil Partnership nearly 18 months of work.
Translating the geometry of the design, in which there are virtually no straight lines, into the actual structure presented particular challenges in designing and erecting the framework. Not only was it difficult to align, so as to produce accurately the complex double-curved surfaces and their intersections, but also the closeness of the petals severely restricted workspace. Never the less the task was carried out entirely by the local laborers. Before assembling the temporary works for the roof, a number of full-scale mock-ups were constructed to check the feasibility of the proposed methods of construction, geometric form, practicality of fixing the complex reinforcement, entrance and inner leaves, and interior dome elements. Forms and their supports for all the petals were designed to withstand pressures from continuous concreting. To avoid construction joints, petals were concreted in a continuous operation for approximately 48 hours. Women bearing 50-pound loads in baskets balanced on their heads carried concrete up the staging. All the steel reinforcing for the shells of the lotus petals was galvanized to avoid rust stains on the white concrete in the prevailing humid conditions, and guarantee the life of the delicate shell structure of 6 to 18 cm thick shells of the petals.

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