DELHI, India, 6 October 2011 (BWNS) Step onto a bus in Ottawa,
Canada; open a magazine in Paris, France; or look upwards at Rimini's
railway station in Italy – all around the world, India's Baha'i House
of Worship is capturing the public's attention.
To coincide with its 25th anniversary year, the lotus-shaped temple is
being depicted on striking posters in 14 countries from South Africa to
Japan, from the U.S.A. to Singapore.
It is all part of the "Incredible India" campaign, the Indian
government's international strategy to showcase the cultural diversity
and special features of the country.
"India represents the spirituality of all mankind," said the Honorable
Union Minister for Tourism, Subodh Kant Sahai, "and the Baha'i temple
is the one place where people belonging to any faith or religion can go
for meditation or prayer."
The Baha'i House of Worship in New Delhi opened in December 1986 after
more than six years of construction. It is estimated that 70 million
people have visited the temple since its opening – averaging 8,000 to
10,000 every day – making it one of the world's most visited buildings.
"This is a unique place to be visited," said Sultan Ahmed, Minister of
State for Tourism. "It has world-class architecture, serene
surroundings and an elevating atmospere."
The temple is one of only seven Baha'i Houses of Worship in the world,
open to all people for silent worship and contemplation.
This message of inclusiveness is also a feature of the "Incredible
India" campaign, said Naznene Rowhani, Secretary of the National
Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India.
"Everybody who sees these posters will know that it is a temple, but
more importantly, also what it stands for and symbolizes. These posters
proclaim it to be the 'Baha'i House of Worship – India's symbol of
communal harmony,' or 'India's symbol of the oneness of humankind,' or
of 'unity of religions,'" said Ms. Rowhani.
message of peace
Immediately following the Incredible India initiative, the image of the
temple will also be appearing as part of another campaign in Delhi
itself. The "Delhi Meri Jaan" ("My Beloved Delhi") initiative was
launched last year.
"We commemorate 25 years of the temple and 100 years of the existence
of the modern Delhi that we have today. It's a great coincidence."
explained Shelia Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi.
"This is a beautiful building. It has become an iconic symbol."
The appeal of the temple is that it "encompasses everybody," the Chief
"The Baha'i Faith is a very attractive faith. The message it gives to
mankind is one of peace, prosperity and happiness..." she says.
Around 4,000 visitors from more than 50 countries are expected to
attend the 25th anniversary celebrations at the House of Worship next
"As these poster campaigns clearly show, the temple belongs to
everybody – every religion, creed and people," said Naznene Rowhani,
"so it is natural that the celebration of its 25th anniversary will
also be inclusive of everybody."