During January, my girlfriend Danielle joined me for a couple of weeks in India. As part of this, she got to see four candidate Wonders: the Lotus Temple, Akshardham, the Taj Mahal, and Agra Fort. Under only a little duress, she wrote a little about each, and answered a few questions. In this first of four "Danielle Corners", she writes about the Lotus Temple in Delhi.
Note: As a lawyer, Danielle is occasionally partial to a bit of "legalese". Also, she erroneously calls me "Niall" for some reason...
Before she gets into the full scrutiny that makes up Wonder-analysis, she has a few general words to say on Delhi itself.
1. Carry toilet roll at all time.
2. [In winter] Bring a pair of socks for the temples where shoe removal can be compulsory. The stones can get a bit chilly.
3. This may be common sense but invest in some conservative clothing. Traditional Indian dress wear with short sleeves would be recommended.
4 Photo friends - We are something of a novelty to some Indian people for a reason that may in my own ignorance escapes me so you will make lots of photo friends.
[For the unaware, photo friends - or "Random Photo Friends" to give the full term - is a name Burness and I have given to random people - invariably Asian - who approach us and ask to take a photo with us. Neither of us have figured out fully why they want a photo with a random Westerner, but we always oblige, and have started a league table on which nation wants the most photos with us. Indonesia was in the lead with 15 until India surged ahead with 29. Danielle's presence definitely attracted a few more photo friends.]
The Lotus temple
My first visit to a what was described as a potential World Wonder and all I can say is that it will not be making my top ten. I was fortunate enough to have two visits to this sight, in line with Niall's as yet undiagnosed OCD, and it wasn't much better the second time. With the fullest of respect to the architects, I can only guess that it took some amount of planning and skill, and in an engineer/architect's view may be Wondrous, but in my own Lay opinion, it was simply a pretty and mathematically symmetrical building that was, as its name suggests, a temple that cleverly looked like a lotus flower. It reminded me of the Glasgow S.E.C.C. Armadillo and on exterior looks alone, resembled a convention centre. I certainly wouldn't describe it as a Wonder and was doing a bit of "Niall Bashing", chastising him for even shortlisting this building as one to see. However, at that juncture, I didn't have the benefit of viewing from above, and post visit I had the opportunity of looking at aerial photographs which show it off much more favourably.
Enough of the Lotus.........
Had you heard of the Lotus Temple before travelling?
Yes, from you. [But otherwise?] No.
What were your expectations?
Quite high. [Why?] Because it looked nice in the pictures.
What was your first impression?
It was really small. You couldn't see the ponds from a distance, it wasn't angled well enough. It looked like a convention centre. Very calm and cool inside however.
What did you like most about the Lotus Temple?
The fact that it was sunny outside...
What didn't you like about the Lotus Temple?
There wasn't much to see, it was a bit of a let down.
Would you regard the Lotus Temple as a World Wonder?