Houses of Worship
Bahá’u’lláh instructed that Houses of Worship be constructed as gathering places for prayer and meditation, around which social, humanitarian, educational, and scientific institutions will be clustered in future.
Seven continental Houses of Worship have been built, and many more are envisioned at local and national levels.
One unique architectural feature of a House of Worship is that it has nine sides and a central dome, welcoming people of all religions to worship God. Devotional programs are simple, consisting of prayer, meditation, and readings from the sacred scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith and the other world religions. There are no sermons or rituals; music is provided by a cappella choirs.
The temple for the North American continent is located outside Chicago in the United States. The cornerstone was laid by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh, during His historic visit to North America in 1912. The temple itself was designed by French-Canadian architect Louis Bourgeois and was completed in 1953. The building’s intricate design combines many elements of Western and Eastern cultures.
The temple for the Indian subcontinent is in New Delhi, India. This unique edifice was designed by Canadian-Iranian architect Fariborz Sahba and opened in 1986. It attracts thousands of visitors each day and has become a symbol of modern India. The design is inspired by the lotus flower because of its significance in Indian traditions.
Other Bahá’í Houses of Worship are located in Kampala, Uganda; Sydney, Australia; Frankfurt, Germany; Panama City, Panama; and Apia, Samoa.
The next House of Worship is being constructed in Santiago, Chile, and has been designed by Canadian architect Siamak Hariri.
View a gallery of pictures of Bahá’í Houses of Worship.