Lakshmi Narayan Temple

The one thing that dominates the urbane skyline of Central Delhi is apparently the soaring spire of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple. About 1.5 km due west of Connaught Place, this garish, modern, Orissan styled temple was erected by industrialist B.D.Birla in 1938 and was inaugrated by Mahatma Gandhi on the condition that people of all castes especially untouchables would be allowed in. The temple enshrines almost all the deities of the Hindu Pantheon, the presiding deity being Narayan (Vishnu, the preserver in Hindu trinity) and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity and good fortune. The revered shrine, nestling in the heart of the city, is as famous for its sanctity as for its architecture. Portraying an alluring blend of cream and red, the sacred shrine also affords a curious medley of Hindu mythology and ancient Indian architecture. Enjoy a visit to the temple to savour spirituality and legends, served in a different flavour.

The architecture is amazing. Built in the Nagara style of architecture interspersed with modern influences, the Birla Mandir awakes from the womb of lush green Link Road reigning the whole terrain. The temple faces the east and is adorned with exquisite carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The other awe-inspiring thing is apparently the soaring spires of the shrine. You will be amazed to see the main spire (shikhara), nestling above the sanctum sanctorum, soaring with its head high at almost 160 ft. Enjoy a leisure walk through the spacious corridors and you will be overwhelmed to see such beautiful friezes and artistic sculptures that only add to the aesthetic beauty of this temple. Do you know that 101 skilled pundits from Varanasi, headed by Acharya Vishvanath Shastri, were employed to create this magic in stones. Remember to visit the Buddha shrine, the rippleless walls embellished with fresco paintings depicting the Lord's life and work. Children can also enjoy their hearts out at the miniature rock temples nestling at the backyard of the temple. There is also an arena said to be the erstwhile gym of Bhima, the second Pandava of the Mahabharata fame. An artificial landscape complete with mountains and cascading waterfalls makes for a perfect solitude.

Plan your holiday trip during Janamashtami, a festival celebrated to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna. The whole temple pulsates with sacred hymes and spiritual fragrance, and you can see devotees, adorned in colourful clothes, hemming in to vow adoration to infant Gopal. During Deepawali, the whole temple is trimmed with multi-hued lights that create a magnificent spell in the heart of every tourist. Believe us, it is indeed a mind-blowing vista to look at this colossal shrine glittering amidst lakhs of spiritual hearts. Also, do not forget to behold the splendid 'Arati' ceremony, a ritual performed with flowers, lamps, scent and other sacred artifacts.

How To Reach

The sacred Lakshmi Narayan Temple is situated on Mandir Marg, 1.5 km due west of Connaught Place. Tourists can get multiple transportation options to reach the temple. It is easy to reach Shivaji Stadium or Talkatora Gardens from all parts of the city, and then hire an auto rickshaw to visit the Birla Mandir. Entry is free but u might have to shed a few bucks if you want to go for some 'Puja' (religious ritual) inside the sanctum sanctorum. The temple is open from sunrise to sunset and the dates of religious ceremonies can be seen at the Mandir's office.

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