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Album: By Country | By Date India | May 2001 < Prev: Touring New Delhi | Next: The Taj Mahal Part 1 >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date India | May 2001  

May 2001 - Visiting More of New Delhi

The Bah'i Temple and President's House

Leaving Humayun's tomb compound and hearing about how Maggie hogged the camera The Baha'i Temple in Delhi.  Founded in the mid-18th Century in Iran, the principal Baha'i tenets are the essential unity of all religions and the unity of humanity. Baha'is believe that all the founders of the world's great religions were manifestations of God and agents of a progressive divine plan for the education of the human race. The world's great religions, according to the Baha'is, teach an identical truth. Baha'is believe in the oneness of humanity and devote themselves to the abolition of racial, class, and religious prejudices. The great bulk of Baha'i teachings is concerned with social ethics; the faith has no priesthood and does not observe ritual forms in its worship. The lotus-shaped temple, surrounded by reflecting pools, sits on a small hill and is visible from many spots in Delhi.  It's bright white surfaces and unusual design stand out. According to our volunteer docent, Baha'i services consist of readings from the holy books of major religions.  There are no sermons or interpretation.  Perhaps reflecting its roots in an Islamic country, musical instruments are banned.
We couldn't take photos inside the temple, but it was a calm, clean, peaceful spot to sit and think.  The interior is roughly egg-shaped with a couple inner shells that admit light in ways that make interesting shadows. The Secretariat buildings at the end of the Rajpath, opposite India Gate.  They sit on Raisina Hill which had its top blasted off to make an acropolis for the President's house and the Secretariat buildings.  (Imagine the relation of the Capitol Building in DC to the Washington Monument, and you'll get a fair idea of how impressive the view down the Rajpath is.) Looking through the gates at the President's house.   This is considered Lutyens most important building.  It combines western and Indian themes.  Unfortunately, it's rather hard to get a look at.  Hidden behind these big gates and protected by guards who kept chasing us from one spot to another, the house has 340 rooms. The house is also surrounded by a 130 hectacre garden that is open to the public by reservation only a couple times a year.  Before independence, there were 418 gardeners - 50 were bird chasing boys.
This is an attempt to show how grand the Rajpath is.  Unfortunately, the pollution defied all our attempts to get a good picture.  You can see the India Gate very faintly in this one. Maggie and Monica passed this shrine while out shopping Looking out at downtown Delhi.  There's a temple in the foreground, but the point of the photo is to show how many trees there are. Modeling recently purchased ankle bells
In the expensive, and average, Park Hotel in downtown Delhi.  The plants above the heads of the kids are silk-versions of foxglove, a source of digitalis.  The full fare at this hotel, which we weren't paying, would be enough to stop one's heart.