Baha’i temple was mentioned at home several times since I had touched the city of Illinois. Back home I have visited a lotus shaped Baha’i temple in Delhi, but still, I was curious to see this one mainly for its architecture.
We drove on a clear day to Linden Ave, Wilmette, to see the famous Baha’i temple.
It’s a beautiful structure in white with artistic carvings on the walls and on pillars, surrounded on all side by landscape and water fountains, it overlooks the lake. Completed in 1953 and designed by French Canadian architect Louis Bourgeois, it is one of the seven Baha’i temples in the world. The Baha’i place of worship is the cross between a mosque and the temple.
Baha’is believe nine, the last number in decimal system, symbolizes perfection and completions, hence many elements of the building occur in groups of nine. There are nine entrances to the auditorium, nine interior alcoves; nine dome sections to the auditorium, nine fountains in the garden area. Bahia followers believe that God revealed himself through Messengers (Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad and other Gods)
On closer inspection of the pillar, one could see symbols of many religions like cross (of Christians), Star of David, symbols used by Hindus and Buddhists in the form of swastika. On the top of the pillar is a nine-pointed star, symbolizing the Baha’i. Various writings of Bahaullah, the founder of the religion, are inscribed above the building entrances.
Since I did not want to climb the step to go up, I took the back entrance and went up inside the building by lift. People meditated in silence in the large dome shaped hall, all engrossed in their own faith.
Inside the building there were artwork and large wall hangings of religious inscriptions. A plaster model of Baha’is temple designed by Bourgeois occupied one segment of the corridor.
In the dark corner was the Cornerstone, that Abdu’i-Baha had dedicated to the Baha’I temple.
It was a beautiful experience walking around this temple. I went back again after sunset, the building glowed at night against the dark skies.
Since i used the back entrance and taken the lift to go upstairs, I had not seen the gardens and fountains that looked so beautiful during my last visit. I went there back again to climb the stairs and have a closer look from below the stairs.This time I clicked more pictures from different angles, the front view, the gardens and the waterfall. It was beautiful..