In honor of the Hindu god Lord Narayan and his consort, the goddess Lakshmi, the Lakshmi Narayan Temple was built in 1938 by Baldeo Das Birla, a philanthropist and entrepreneur. Also known as Birla Mindar, the Lakshmi Narayan Temple is considered to be one of the most famous and significant Hindu temples located on the Mandir Marg, one of the largest business centers in New Delhi.
Spread over 7.5 acres of land with the main temple taking up an area of about 0.52 acres of land. The tallest shikhara or highest peak of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple is at 165 feet. This three-storey temple was built by more than 100 artisans from Benares for six years, lead by Acharya Vishvanath Shastri. The temple style was adapted from the northern Nagara architecture. However, some claim the temple to be of Orissan style architecture because of the circular patterned designs used on the top tall towers. Adding to the beauty of the surrounding area is a cascading waterfall with a carefully and meticulously maintained landscape.
Considered as one of Delhi’s major tourist attractions, the Lakshmi Narayan Temple complex is decorated with many shrines attracting thousands of devotes during Hindu and Buddhist festivals since it was opened to the public. Easily accessible from the city by bus, taxi or auto-rickshaw, the temple complex houses the Geeta Bhavan which are statues of Vishnu or Narayan and his wife Lakshmi residing together in their eternal love. Several other shrines may also be seen inside the temple dedicated to Buddha, Shiva, Ganesha, Durga and Hanuman.
Mounted on a platform that faces east just like how all temples are built, the Geeta Bhavan showcases aspects of Hindu mythology in richly made murals and frescoes. Hindu symbols are also carved up to adorn the walls of the temple. The icons found in the temple are made of marble that come from Jaipur while the Kota stones are from the towns of Kota, Jaisalmer and Agra.
The most important festivals held in the Lakshmi Narayan Temple are the Krishnashtami and Diwali. Krishnashtami or Krishna Janmashtami, is a Hindi festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, the avatar god of Vishnu. Diwali or Devali, is also known as the festival of lights, an official Hindu and Buddhist holiday in India. The Diwali festival is also celebrated by several other countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and many more.
The great Mahatma Gandhi himself presided as the guest of honor during the inauguration of the Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Records show that the great Mahatma Gandhi claimed that he would only make an appearance if there would not be any restrictions in allowing people from all backgrounds become welcomed in the temple during the momentous event. Today, the maintenance of the temple complex is funded by the Birla family.
The Lakshmi Narayan Temple is situated next to the New Delhi Kali Bari Temple, another Delhi tourist destination that is smaller in comparison to the Lakshmi Narayan, but nonetheless notable. Although New Delhi is indeed flocked with one too many temples, the Lakshmi Narayan Temple is one temple that you wouldn’t want to miss out on during your trip to New Delhi.