Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rajasthan Temples Tour

Birla Lakshmi-Narayan, Temple
The Lakshmi Narayan Temple or the Birla Temple as it is popularly known enshrines Lord Vishnu – the preserver of the Hindu Trinity.
A must-visit if you are planning to travel to New Delhi, the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, popularly known as Birla Mandir, was built in 1938. The temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1938 on the condition that people of all strata of society be allowed to offer prayers there on account of the largescale prevalence of untouchability at that time. It was one of the first major Hindu places of worship which admitted Harijans (untouchables). Built by the well-known industrialist, R.D. Birla, the temple is dedicated to Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth) and Narayana (the preserver).
The temple has been designed by Sris Chandra Chatterjee (1873-1966), who combined the architectural styles of Orissa style sanctuaries and Mughal arcades. The highest tower in the temple reaches a height of 165ft, while the ancillary towers reach 116ft. The Geeta Bhavan, a hall adorned with beautiful paintings depicting scenes from Indian mythology. There is also a temple dedicated to Buddha in this complex with fresco paintings describing his life and work.
The entire complex, especially the walls and the upper gallery are full of paintings carried out by artists from Jaipur in Rajasthan. The rear of the temple has been developed as an artificial mountainous landscape with fountains and waterfalls. The Lakshmi Narayan Temple is adorned by a large garden and fountains behind it and is among the most popular of Hindu temples in Delhi. One of the most important festivals of the Hindus Janamashtami coinciding with the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great fervour in the temple and the occasion is visited by lakhs of devotees. At the entrance is a plaque which welcomes people of all faiths and religions to visit the temple and that there would be no ostracisation of any kind.
The father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated in this temple complex in 1948.

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