Places of Religious Significance
The Akshardham Temple
The Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi embodies thousands of years of Indian culture. It is a showcase of India’s historical architecture and spiritual tradition. This temple has gained an iconic status in the city. It is spread over an area of about 100 acres. The temple has been constructed with pink sandstone. The temple offers the children an opportunity to learn about the nation’s ancient grandeur. Besides the breathtaking architecture, the temple complex offers boat rides, musical fountains and exquisite gardens for the children to have some fun. The pillars of the temple are famous for their consummate artistry which encompasses flora, dancers, musicians and the Hindu Gods. The Inner Sanctum or the Garbhagriha is a reminder of the Gothic architecture. The temple’s premises lead to the tranquil Narayan Sarovar. This holy lake contains water flowing in from 151 rivers and lakes sanctified by Bhagwan Swaminarayan.
Even from a distance, the famous Lotus Temple can be seen as enormous, white and spotless lotus soaring high from the hills of Kalkaji in New Delhi. This lotus-shaped Hindu shrine was opened to the public in December 1986. It was designed by architect Fariburz Sabha. The temple is nestled in the midst of a picturesque backdrop with lush manicured gardens. The lotus petals of the temple signify the secularity of all faiths. The 35m high lotus petals are made of a special Korean concrete that was later overlaid with white marble. However, the most astonishing feature of the temple that puzzles every tourist is the absence of any particular deity. When visited during the evenings, the whole temple glitters like a jewel.
This Orissa-styled temple was erected by the world-famous industrialist B.D. Birla in 1938 and was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi himself. This is perhaps the most revered Hindu temple in Delhi. The temple enshrines most deities of the Hindu belief but the presiding deity is Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity and fortune. The temple portrays an alluring blend of cream and red and combines Hindu mythology and ancient Indian architecture. The temple exhibits the Nagara style of architecture. The main spire or the shikhara is nestled above the chamber, soaring at 160 ft. The temple also has a Buddhist shrine. There is an arena that is known as the gym of Bhima, the second of Pandavas. Children can enjoy the miniature rock temples in the backyard of the temple.
This is the world’s largest mosque. It was built in 1656 AD. It was designed by Ostad Khalil, a famous Mughal architect. The mosque has an obvious influence of Persian Architecture. It took 13 years to build the mosque and nearly 5,000 craftsmen were employed. The mosque was built in red sand stone and is nearly 261 feet long and 90 feet wide. Its roof is covered with three domes that have alternate stripes of black and white marble. The entrance is possible through three main gates. It is surrounded by many small eateries and restaurants and a visit to the Jama Masjid without digging into the non-vegetarian delicacies is considered a culinary sin.
Chattarpur Mandir is situated near Qutub Minar, in the Mehrauli area of Delhi. The stunning temple complex is an Indian architectural wonder. All the shrines in the complex are built with white marble. Comparatively recent in its construction, it rivals the splendour of the Mughal architecture of the city. Devotees from all over Delhi and surrounding areas come to pay in the temple. The main shrine of the temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga and exhibits traits of the exotic temple architecture that is found in southern shores of India. The temple is famous for its Durga Puja celebrations. There is a common belief that tying a thread on a tree inside the complex of the temple fulfils one's desires. The splendour of the temple is complimented by the surrounding lush green gardens. There are other idols of Hindu gods like Vishnu, Ganesha, Lakshmi and Shiva.
The ISKCON Temple in the East of Kailash area of New Delhi was built in 1998. This temple is famous for its 'Shikharas' that rise as high as 90 ft. The temple has an air-conditioned hall to host nearly 1,500 people. The art paintings have been done by Russian artists and detail many famous mythological Hindu characters like Radha-Krishna, Sita-Ram, Hanuman and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The temple is mainly dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple also houses a museum which organizes shows to explain the philosophy behind the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata.