Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Beautiful Baha'i

Up in Evanston on the shores of Lake Michigan, North of Chicago, is one of the world's first Baha'i temples. It's a really stunning building. Set in the suburbs of spacious painted wooden mansions and green green manicured lawns it sticks out a mile.

Get that polarizing filter on.

The building has nine sides which represent something profound, I forget what exactly and the building is covered in the symbols of all the major religions. The Baha'i faith is all about inclusion and focuses on the teachings that all main religions have in common, which is one of the reasons it's such an attractive place to visit.

The people at the temple were seriously welcoming in a totally genuine way, by which I mean they didn't seem interested in trying to convert people, but really happy to let you have a look around and a chat if you wished. They even opened the visitor centre for us early so that we could use the toilets. I mean who arrives before 10am to look at a church? (Answer: People with serious jet lag.)

O Rich Ones on Earth
According to the information my Dad read there, the Baha'i religion is run by elected councils and has no clergy and no services as such. I think he was seriously impressed by this.

The thing that I liked the most though was undoubtedly the way the gardens and temple are planned to fit together as one. The gardens are an extension of the temple and so they have a really special feel to them with fountains and flowers all laid out in nine different sections. I could have wandered around the gardens for a very long time, except we had other stuff to do (like wedding rehearsals!).

So in conclusion, if you are ever in Chicago the Baha'i temple is a must-see along with the skyscrapers of down town and the lake front.

Oh, and take some sunglasses. It's seriously bright!

1 comment:

John said...

Spoke to a very charming man there (from Iran originally as I recall) about the history of the religion. Struck by the simplicity of it all. Well worth spending some time there.