The National Capital Territory

281 The National Capital TerritoryThe National Capital Territory: Now we are moving to our last stop – Delhi, which houses both the Lotus Temple and Jama Masjid. These are two of the many symbols of the city. Hmmm … I will try to explain to you what I know about the capital city because it’s a little bit complicated. If I fail, apologies. Soo …. Delhi is the National Capital Territory (a large metropolis) of India. It possesses 11 districts, New Delhi being one of them and the most important one where government institutions are situated. It is also the capital city of Delhi. Therefore, when we talk about the Indian capital, we consider namely this part of Delhi (i.e. New Delhi).

I will continue like this. Lotus is the national flower of India. It’s related to purity. It’s worshipped in the country because its beauty is unobtrusive, it’s good-looking and it’s eye-catching when it blooms over the water of a lake. Being so worshipped by the Indians, nowadays we could even find a lotus-like Holy building in New Delhi. Principally, every continent has its own Bahá’í House of Worship and the Asian one is India. It was constructed in 1986 and nowadays it is one of the most visited tourist sites there. It resembles a blooming lotus in the water because the flowerlike building is surrounded by 9 small ponds whose purpose is to filtrate the air in the building itself. The hall inside is large with a stage and amphitheatrically arranged wooden chairs.  Where shall we make our next break? Any ideas?

Jama Masjid is really one of the last and most splendid architectural wonders commissioned by Shah Jahan. It is not only the largest mosque in India but on the whole Asian continent. It gathers up to 25 000 pilgrims at religious holidays. The mosque was built of the marble taken from the Makrana mine (the same mine from which the marble for Taj Mahal was taken). It was constructed for twelve years (1644 – 1656) and about 5 000 workers were involved in Shah Jahan’s project. It has three entrances, four angular towers and two minarets (40 metres high each). There are a few places in the garden where pilgrims wash their hands and feet before a prayer. Pilgrims can enter the Mosque through the Northern and Southern entrances only because the Western one looks towards Mecca while the Eastern one is the “imperial” one and is open on Friday and at religious holidays only. Last two things here. The Mosque is closed for visitors who don’t belong to the religion during prayers. People enter the holy building only barefoot and their ankles and shoulders should be covered.


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