Adesh Gupta, 37, a software engineer is a proud Delhiite. A man with a deep interest in spiritual matters, Gupta loves Delhi for what he calls its religious diversity, and monuments that exist in perfect harmony with skyscrapers. Says Gupta,
“Delhi can give Rome and Istanbul a run for their money, as far as historical and religious monuments are concerned. I think Akshardham Temple in East Delhi is the grandest temple in India.” Besides other grand places of worship like the Chattarpur Temple, Lotus Temple, and the Jama Masjid, Delhi even has a World Peace Stupa.
Not many cities in the world can boast of such diverse religious landmarks. And it is not just Delhiites who are effusive about the city’s diverse religious heritage. Rekha Seghal, a teacher in Bangalore, is awed by Delhi’s monuments. “This is my first visit to the city, and I am amazed by the spiritual and urban grandeu you have here. It is such a great experience driving around; at one place you have the grand Lotus temple, while somewhere else there are modern skyscrapers. It’s a mesmerising experience,” she says.
Travel operators say the city’s religious abodes are on every tourists’ must-see-list. Even foreigners show a lot of interest in the city’s religious places. Says Vinay Marwah, MD, Uday Tours and Travels Private Limited, “Seventy per cent of the tourists who come to Delhi make it a point to visit the Akshardham temple. It is becoming increasingly popular with foreigners — most of whom want to be left in the temple complex for one whole day.”
On a recent visit to the city, Irish actor Eamon Morrissey was charmed by the city’s religious diversity. “It is an amazingly varied city, where the old and the new, the spiritual and the mundane all exist together in perfect harmony,’’ he told HT.
It is not without reason that the city’s diverse religious monuments fascinate everyone so much. They stand out for their magnificence, and are a blend of diverse architectural styles. While Akshardham has emerged as a hot new religious destination in the city, the Lotus temple is known for the Bahai way of worship.
Others such as the Chattarpur and Birla Temples are fascinating blends of the North and South Indian styles of architecture. Delhi not only has grand temples, but also some magnificent mosques, churches and gurdwaras that make the city truly representative of all faiths.