Editor’s note: The global COVID-19 crisis has left each one of us deeply affected and we want to help. Burda Media India has organised a fundraising campaign to #FightBackWithTesting and donating RT-PCR test kits to the worst-affected areas in India, which will be secured from our testing partner Mylab Discovery Solutions. You can help these kits reach many more by donating for the cause or by adopting a kit. Click here to join the fight.
Delhi is home to people from all walks of life. Inhabited since the 6th century BCE, the city has served as a capital of various kingdoms and empires such as the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. With such an immense history, Delhi is the ideal destination for holistic spiritual experiences that enable visitors to find the true meaning of life. By Upasana Singh
1. Nizamuddin Dargah
With special appearances in popular culture and movies such as Delhi 6 and Rockstar, the Nizamuddin Dargah in New Delhi is frequently visited by thousands of pilgrims every week. Built-in the traditional Islamic style of architecture in 1562, this is the resting place of one of the Sufi saints, Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya. People across the city can be seen tying red threads on the jaalis (lattice screens) of the dargah in hopes of getting their prayers answered. One can light incense sticks and shower rose petals whilst visiting the mausoleum. It is especially auspicious to offer a chadar or a large sheet of fabric at the shrine as well.
Whilst the dargah is open all week, the best time to visit is on Thursday when qawwali performances are held in the evening.
2. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
You may have recently heard about the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara feeding countless people across Delhi-NCR during the Coronavirus lockdown. This initiative is one of many undertaken by the Gurudwara. The philosophy of service and action is deeply rooted in the community. If you wish to give back to the world or simply lend a hand, you can volunteer at the Gurudwara’s various services.
Situated near Connaught Place, the Sikh house of worship is easily recognisable by its golden dome and tall flagpole. The calm waters of its Sarovar is a great reverence for Sikhs and a place for the special congregation on the birth anniversary of the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan.
3. Sacred Heart Cathedral
One of the oldest church buildings in Delhi, the Sacred Heart Cathedral was designed by British architect Henry Medd who was part of Edwin Lutyens’ team that designed New Delhi and later the chief architect to the British government. Sprawling over an area of 14 acres, the church is located close to Connaught Place and across Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.
While Holy Mass is celebrated every day in the morning and evening, one must visit the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Christmas Eve an hour before midnight and witness the magical Christmas Vigil Service.
4. Lotus Temple
Known for its flowerlike shape, the Lotus Temple is a Bahá’í House of Worship and is open to all, regardless of any religion, culture, gender, and other distinctions. As there are no set rules of worship and ritualistic ceremonies, one is allowed to read sacred writings and sing prayers of religions other than the Baháʼí faith.
With nine ponds surrounding the 27-free-standing marble-clad petals arranged in clusters of three, it is mesmerising to witness this vast structure. The white marble from the Penteli mountain in Greece (that was also used to construct the Parthenon) adds to the serene ambience of this temple. It is also worth knowing that this is the first temple in Delhi that has made use of solar power.
5. Tibetan Monastery
A small monastery and Buddhist temple are located amidst the bustling narrow streets of Majnu ka Tilla, popularly known as ‘Little Tibet’ in the North Delhi district. The monastery is one of a handful of Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the capital and is a famous destination among foreign tourists and students.
The prayer flags hanging all around the monastery represent five elements of nature— land, water, air, fire, and sky. With Lord Buddha as the main deity and incredible wall art depicting sacred mantras, one can feel the wind carrying positive energies as you walk through the monastery.
6. Swaminarayan Akshardham
The term ‘Akshardham’ translates to the immortal abode of God. With water bodies, gardens, and step-well styled courtyard created by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the complex is an embodiment of devotion, purity, and peace. The temple was built in 2005 as a tribute to Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Over two hundred murtis (idols) of spiritual stalwarts installed in the temple depict that each soul is potentially divine. The power of prayer, service, and non-violence is reiterated in the central Akshardham Mandir and its various exhibits such as the Sahajanand Darshan (Hall of Values).
Whether you wish to admire this architectural marvel with its intricately carved designs, pillars, and domes or participate in its daily arti (songs sung in praise of the deity) that is held at 10:00 am and 6:00 pm, a visit to Swaminarayan Akshardham is a must for a unique spiritual experience.