Fariborz Sahba who designed the Baha’i Temple in New Delhi is an Iranian-American Baha’i architect now living in North America. Sahba who has a master’s degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts from the University of Tehran was encouraged by his mother to be an architect at an early age.
In 1976, the international governing body of the Baha’i community, chose the architect, Fariborz Sahba, to design the Baha’i House of Worship in New Delhi, a project on which he worked for 10 years as the architect and director of the works. Interestingly, while all current Baha’i Houses of Worship have a dome, temple in New Delhi is lotus shaped. Why did Sahba chose lotus shape to design the Baha’i temple? Do you know?
Before beginning the design, Sahba had travelled around India to study the countryís architecture and was impressed with the design of the temples, as well as the art and religious symbols, in which the lotus flower always played an important role. At the same time, it should be noted that according to Baha’i scripture which stipulate certain essential architectural characters of a House of Worship, dome structure is not regarded as an essential part of their architecture. However, Baha’i scripture stipulates a nine sided circular shape which element is included in the Lotus Temple as well. This particular aspect of Baha’i scripture gave Sahba much needed freedom to design the temple in sync with local architecture. Sahba felt the lotus flower which has special significance for the majority in India also blended with the concept of purity, simplicity and freshness of the Baha’i faith. So he conceived the design of the Delhi temple in the form of a lotus flower. The temple gives the impression of a semi-open lotus, floating, surrounded by its leaves.
Today Lotus Temple is considered to be a place of worship with one of the best modern-day architectural marvels. With a capacity of 2,500 people, the Baha’i house of worshipís structure has nine sides to the temple, formed by 27 marble petals, arranged in groups of three. The nine doors lead to a central prayer hall made of marble and is about 40m high.
Winner of multiple architectural awards, the Lotus Temple is also touted to be one of the most visited places in the world by a CNN report.