May 272013

A Hindus Temples also known as Mandires is a place of worship  for followers of Hinduism. A characteristic of most temples is the presence of murtis (statues) of the Hindu deity to whom the temple is dedicated. However, some temples are dedicated to several deities, and others are dedicated to murtis in an iconic form.

Here is a list of Top 10 Famous Temple in Delhi:

1. Akshardham Temple

Akshardham Temple in Delhi has an important place in Delhi’s tourism. The structure depicts great Indian culture and its architecture is simply immaculate. The temple is located at NH 24, Noida Mor, New Delhi. This amazing structure comprises of 20,000 statues, floral motifs and exquisite carved pillars made of stones.This beautiful structure and masterpiece architecture was built under the support and funding of the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. The temple was inaugurated on November 7, 2005 by Pramukhswami Maharaj.

It is built along the river Yamuna and lies over an area of around 100 acres with beautiful gardens, water fountains and carved pavilions. The temple took complete two years for completion and a hefty sum of rupees was invested in the construction. According to estimates, around 2 billion was spent in the construction of this masterpiece which indeed depicts the great Hindu religion.
The architecture of Akshardham temple is similar to the one at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The main monument at the temple is about 141 feet high with a beautiful statue of Lord Swaminarayan. There are various structures within the temple which depicts the history and culture of Hindu Religion.

2. Digambar Jain

Digambar Jain Temple is Located just opposite the massive Red Fort at the intersection of Netaji Subhas Marg and Chandni Chowk, Digambar Jain Temple is the oldest temple of the Jain religion in the capital, originally built in 1526. An impressive red sandstone temple today .the temple has undergone many alterations and additions in the past and was enlarged in the early 19th century, the Digambar Jain Temple is popularly known as Lal Mandir.

The main devotional area of the temple is on the first floor. It is reached by ascending to the terrace after crossing the small courtyard of the temple, surrounded by a colonnade. There are a number of shrines in this area but the main shrine is of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Born in 599 BC in the ancient republic of Vaishali (Bihar) as a prince, he renounced all worldly pleasures and comforts and went in search of ‘Moksha’ (salvation). Soon he attained keval-jnana (Enlightenment), and spent the rest of his life preaching to the people all over the country about the eternal truth of life and ways to attain Moksha. Though some believe that he was the founder of Jainism but he was in a real sense the reformer of an existing faith who reorganized and presented the tenets of the religion in a form suitable to the period.

The statue of Lord Adinath, the first Tirthankara of the Jain religion is also present here, along with the shrine of Lord Parasnath, the immediate predecessor of Lord Mahavira. The temple is quite popular among the people as devotees come and make offerings such as fruits, grains, rice and even candles. The place is very peaceful and the ambience is really soothing especially due to the shining of the gilded paintwork of the shrine area under the lights of butter lamps and candles.There is also a bookstore in the complex where a wide range of literatures on Jainism is available, apart from unique curios and souvenirs related to the religion. Visitors should take off their shoes and all other leather goods and hand it to the concerned person before entering the temple complex.

3. Iskcon Temples

Iskcon Temples in Delhi are renowned both for its religious fervor as well as its historic connection. The Simply yet beautifully made, the interior walls of this Temple in Delhi have been decorated with aesthetic works of Russian artists representing the different phases of life of various deities like Radha-Krishan, and Sita-Ram. The main attractions of the ISKCON Temple are its central prayer hall and the temple museum. The fine-looking and pleasing idols of Radha-Krishna with other deities are present in the central hall with informative religious lines and shibboleths. The temple museum on the other hand organizes multimedia shows to make the devotees understand the story of the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. It also gives a brief interpretative understanding of views, philosophy and practice of the Hare Krishna cult. This is an interesting feature of the temple and should not be missed.

The festival of Janmashtmi, the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated with the ISKCON temple premises on a large scale. The festival falls in the month of August or September during which the religious activities and enthusiasm of the devotees in the temple are at their highest level. Thousands of devotees visit the temple on this auspicious day and the atmosphere of joyous celebration is truly exhilarating.The festival of Janmashtmi, the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated with the ISKCON temple premises on a large scale. The festival falls in the month of August or September during which the religious activities and enthusiasm of the devotees in the temple are at their highest level. Thousands of devotees visit the temple on this auspicious day and the atmosphere of joyous celebration is truly exhilarating.

4. Lakshmi Narayan Temple

Lakshmi Narayan temple was Built in 1938 by the industrialist BD Birla, Lakshmi Narayan temple is located on Mandir Marg, west of Connaught Place, in the heart of the city. Popularly known as Birla Mandir, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu deities Narayana the Preserver and Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth and prosperity. The other idols are of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga. The temple is known for celebrating the festival of Janmashtami, commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna, on a large scale and has a special display, which attracts hundreds of devotees. Flanked by a pool and picturesque gardens, the architecture of the temple resembles Hindu temples built in the Orissa style.

Inaugurated by the father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the main feature of the temple is that it is open to all castes. There is a symbolic structure at the entrance welcoming people of all faiths and classes.The temple has all basic facilities for the visitors. Offerings are available in the temple complex itself. Those who want to perform rituals can do so with the help of the priest of the temple. The aarti is performed in the evening, which is worth attending.

5. Lotus Temple

Bahai House is located just opposite to the ancient Kalkaji Mandir, East of Nehru Place in South Delhi. The Bahai House of Worship, popularly known as the Lotus Temple, is one of the most visited edifices in India. The Lotus Temple in New Delhi is the sole Bahai House of Worship in the whole continent of Asia apart from the six others in Panama, Kampala, Illinois, Frankfurt, Sydney and West Samoa. These seven Bahai Houses of Worship are all world-famous for their architectural beauty and nine-sided design representing the manifestation of God. The Bahai Faith was established in India in the mid 19th century and today India is the largest national contingent of Bahai’s in the world with more than 2 million members.

Covering an expanse of 26 Acres of land, The Lotus / Bahai Temple in Delhi was built between 1980 and 1986 at a cost of Rs 10 Million and was opened to public worship in December 1986. The temple is set among pools and gardens, which gives the impression of a floating half-open lotus flower surrounded by its outspread leaves. The Lotus, as seen from outside, has three sets of petals The petals are made of special concrete clad with white marble, extracted from the Mount Pentitikon mines in Greece.

Recognized as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century architecture and winner of many prestigious International awards, the temple was designed by Fariburz Sabha, a Canadian citizen and a Bahai of Iranian descendants. More than 700 laborers and forty engineers were employed in its construction. They worked dedicatedly for 6 years to complete this stunning piece of architecture, which is considered one of the marvels of modern architecture. Fariburz Sabha designed the building in the shape of a Lotus because he wanted to reflect the multiculturalism and ancient traditions of India. The lotus flower, apart from being the national flower of India, also has very close associations with all the major religions of India, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Islam.

The Bahai House Of Worship is symbolic of the possibility of being spiritual and pure even in this materialistic world. The temple has a very large prayer hall where visitors of all faiths can meditate. The hall has no idols and no rituals and its daily public services include sections from the holy books of all religions. It is said about the Lotus Temple that “Architecturally, Artistically, Ethically, the edifice is a paragon of perfection” – a sentiment that is undoubtedly true. There is an Information Center at Lotus Temple that provides information on different facets of the Bahai Faith in the form of photographs, written texts and films.

Contributed By Sonia Narula

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