The Lotus Temple is a striking structure found in Delhi, India. It is a Bahai House of Worship and is one of the prominent attractions in the city. The Lotus Tower serves as the main temple for the Bahai faith in the Indian subcontinent.
The Lotus Temple was designed by Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba who was tasked to work on the temple beginning in 1976. Work on the temple took 10 years to complete. It was first opened to the public on December of 1986. It had since attracted more than 50 million visitors as of 2002.
The Lotus Temple is so called because its design was mainly based on the lotus flower. The temple structure is composed of 27 free standing roof petals made out of marble. The petals are arranged in clusters of three, forming a total of nine sides as specified by Bahai scripture.
Nine doors open into the central hall that can accommodate up to 2,500 visitors. The temple stands more than 40 meters tall with its surface made out of shining white marble. Nine ponds and gardens surround the temple covering 105,000 square meters of land.
Because of its striking architectural design, the Lotus Temple has garnered several architectural awards all over the world through the years. The temple was given the First Honor award in 1987 from the Interfaith Forum on Religious Art and Architecture, an Affiliate of the American Institute of Architects in Washington, D.C.
The Lotus Temple, along with its primary architect, received a special award from the Institution of Structural Engineers of the United Kingdom in 1987. The temple was also given the Paul Waterbury Outdoor Lighting Design Award-Special Citation, from the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America in 1988. In 1990, it was recognized by the American Concrete Institute as one of the finest concrete structures in the world.