Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Burness Corner: The Lotus Temple

The latest in the series of snippets from the blog of my erstwhile travelling companion, Burness, as well as a short interview, on his views on a World Wonder. This time: The Lotus Temple.

Burness's Blog

The Lotus Temple is a house of worship for the Bahai faith, and adherents of all faiths are welcome to come and use the temple to pray and meditate. It’s in the shape of a white lotus flower and set among immaculately maintained gardens and small pools. In photos it looks amazing, but up close it failed to impress.

From my initial sighting I knew that the building was far from a world wonder. The closer I got to it the less of an impact the building made. It kind of looks a bit like the poor man’s Sydney Opera House. Up close, the building materials don’t seem to be of the highest quality, it certainly doesn’t shine bright in the sun like some of the other pure white buildings we have seen. I would say it’s comparable to the Armadillo and Glasgow, and as Danielle put it, it looks like a conference centre. When I met up with Nev, for the first time in our travels, I asked him, “Why did you put this on your list?”
The visit wasn’t great either, you can’t wander round the building or stroll in the gardens. The visit is a fixed route, you are only allowed to enter into one door and exit another with most of the area outside the temple out of bounds. The stringent rules seem to contradict the openness of the Bahai faith. Inside the temple absolute silence is to be maintained. It was freezing and looked even more unimpressive from the inside, so we didn’t hang around for long.


Had you heard of the Lotus Temple before travelling?

No, I hadn’t.

What were your expectations?

Bizarrely, I would day fairly high. I saw the photos in your brochure, and it looked really cool.

What was your first impression?

From a distance, when I arrived, it didn’t look too bad. But then as I got closer to it, I was particularly underwhelmed. As soon as I met you there, I asked the question I’d been looking forward to asking for four months – “why did you put this on your list?”

What did you like most about the Lotus Temple?

I didn’t like that much about it. It was a poor man's Sydney Opera House. I find it difficult to say much good about it. Maybe from afar, its quite petty.

What didn't you like about the Lotus Temple?

It was just a bit bland, a bit boring, you couldn’t walk around the site, or even the temple. To be honest, I would compare it to the Armadillo in Glasgow, it was that insignificant as a Wonder. It was a nice enough building, but just not a Wonder.

Would you regard the Lotus Temple as a World Wonder?

A definite no.

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