The Lotus Temple in New Delhi is a modern icon in a city seemingly full of numerous monuments from its rich past – completed in 1986, its distinctive shape is reminiscent of Sydney’s equally iconic Opera House
But instead of water, the Lotus Temple is surrounded by 26 acres of manicured lawns and gardens, together with nine fresh-water ponds.
The temple is the main house of worship in India for the monotheistic Bahá’í religion and draws both believers and non-believers into its pleasant, no-pressure environment.
None of that fire & brimstone and repent now stuff…
It’s just a nice place to wander round after the general chaos that is Delhi and on an average day some 8,000 to 10,000 people do just that!
Photographing the Lotus Temple in New Delhi
Sunset is the best time to photograph the Lotus Temple as the sun sets behind the main temple as you look towards it from the main pathways and gardens, plus the lights are turned on illuminating the leaf structure.
But, and there is always a but in India, the temple closes at 18.00 and within about 15-20 minutes the security guards will start giving the signal to get moving – usually when the light is just about to become perfect!
To do justice to the Lotus Temple you will need a tripod and for some reason in India these seem to be a primary indicator that you may be a potential suicide bomber… In most places, such as airports and the main historical monuments which are guarded by the army, you are not allowed to take a tripod – but because the Lotus Temple is a private institution they have their own security people who are not quite so intimidated by tripods!
Officially you can’t take them in, but the general Kumbaya atmosphere seems to prevail and I managed to take mine in on all three occasions I have visited the Lotus Temple. Once inside you need to find a quiet spot where you are not too intimidating to the security guards, set up your gear and then wait for the right light!
Nikon D800 @ ISO 100, Nikon 24-70 @ 56mm – f10 and 6 seconds, no filter and Gitzo tripod.