Had a lovely time in India, exploring the Golden Triangle and Goa with family. I'll post more about that soon, but something that was particularly interesting was a visit to the Lotus Temple in Delhi.
For those of you who read Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran, you might be as interested as me to know that this is a Bahá'í temple. Those Rosy Hours touches on the genocide against the Bahá'í that followed an assassination attempt on the Shah of Iran after he executed the Báb, Sayyed ʿAli Muhammad Shirāzi, in 1850.
Later the Bahá’u’lláh, the head of the Bahá'í faith, was expelled from Iran along with all of his followers.
“Haven’t you heard, Shahzadi? Your brother exiled the Baha’u’llah months ago. The Bábí can no longer call Iran their home. Their marriages will be annulled, their books will be burned, and any who resist will find themselves chained in the Síyáh-Chál at Tehran. You no longer need to fear the insurgence. They have left like lambs.” - Those Rosy Hours at Mazandaran
Through writing that novel, I knew a bit about the origins of the Bahá'í faith and the period in history which led to their expulsion from Iran, but I really didn't know what came after that, or much about their specific teachings.
It's actually evolved into a really fascinating concept. You can be Bahá'í whilst also being a follower of any other faith or religion. The temple itself is built of white marble, extremely cool beneath the hot sun. There are no icons there and everyone maintains silence within. The idea is that you fill the space with your own thoughts and prayers. They provide the silence, you bring it to life.
I've taken the liberty of scanning the information brochures provided at the temple.
You can also find out more about the Bahá'í via bahai.org.