Distinguished visitors praise Baha'i Temple
NEW DELHI — Prominent international visitors to the Baha'i House of Worship here recently expressed their admiration of the Temple that attracts more than three and a half million visitors each year.
Crown Princess Margareta of Romania and her husband, Prince Radu von Hohenzollern-Veringen, attended a prayer service at the Temple on 14 November 2004.
On 13 December 2004 the First Lady of the Slovak Republic, Silvia Gasparovicova, attended a similar service at the House of Worship.
Princess Margareta and her husband were welcomed at the House of Worship by the secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India, Farida Vahedi, and by the architect of the Temple, Fariborz Sahba, who explained features of the building.
The couple was accompanied on their visit by the ambassador of Romania to India, Vasile Sofineti, and Mrs. Sofineti.
Following a service, which included prayers from some of the major religions, the guests proceeded to the nearby information center where they viewed an exhibition about the Baha'i Faith.
The Princess expressed delight at finding on display photographs of her great-grand-mother, Queen Marie of Romania (1875-1938), who was the first monarch to become a Baha'i.
The exhibit also included the letter of Queen Marie addressed to Shoghi Effendi, the then head of the Faith, in which she declared her belief in the Baha'i teachings.
Afterwards the Princess wrote in the visitors' book that her visit had been an "uplifting and moving experience" and that it made "the connection between generations, like a rainbow of hope, affection and peace, love, and faith."
"To see here the photographs of my great-grandmother, Queen Marie of Romania, and to feel her spirit is a blessing," she wrote.
A month later, the First Lady of the Slovak Republic, Silvia Gasparovicova, was greeted upon her arrival at the Temple by a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Asia, Zena Sorabjee.
Ms. Gasparovicova attended a prayer service at the House of Worship accompanied by the wife of the ambassador of the Slovak Republic to India, Edita Ilascik, and the wife of the ambassador of India to the Slovak Republic, Radhika Lokesh.
The First Lady later wrote in the visitors' book, remarking on the "very beautiful and wonderful atmosphere in this religious building."
Among many other prominent visitors to the Temple, which was opened in 1986, have been the president of India, the prime ministers of Norway and Sri Lanka, the president of Iceland, the vice-president of Uruguay, and the Dalai Lama.
Known in India as the Lotus Temple, it is one of the most visited buildings in the world and has won numerous architectural and engineering awards.
It is designed in the shape of a lotus flower, which is beloved in India as a symbol of purity and tenderness -- and of God's Messengers.
The Temple is one of seven Baha'i Houses of Worship in the world. The others are in Australia, Germany, Panama, Uganda, the United States, and Samoa. Another is to be built in Chile.
Each temple has its own distinctive design that incorporates common elements such as a dome and nine entrances, which are symbolic both of the great religions through which humans have gained knowledge of God and of the diversity of the human race and its essential oneness.
(For more information on the Lotus Temple see http://www.bahaiworldnews.org/story.cfm?STORYID=89)