Birla Mandir

The Lakshminarayan temple is a Hindu temple located in Delhi, India. Lakshminarayan is the manifestation of Lord Vishnu when he is with his consort, Goddess Lakshmi. Industrialist Baleo Das Birla and his son Jugal Kishore Birla built this temple. The construction began in the year 1933 and it went on till 1939. It is one of the largest Hindu temples in Delhi. Since the Birla family initiated the construction of the temple, it got the name Birla Mandir. Lord Vishnu is the main deity of the temple. Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, and Buddha have separate shrines dedicated to them.

History: The construction of the Birla Mandir dedicated to Lord Laxminarayan began during the year 1933. The philanthropist and industrialist Baleo Das Birla and his son Jugal Kishore Birla built the temple, thus giving the temple its name. Maharaj Udayabhanu Singh laid the foundation stone of the temple. The construction took place under the guidance of Pandit Vishwanath Shastri. Swami Keshwa Nandji performed the concluding yagna for the temple. Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated the temple in the year 1939. He believed that the temple should be accessible to people from all castes and not just upper-caste Hindus. This is one of the first temples built by the Birla family across various cities in India.

Architecture: The Birla Mandir holds not just religious importance but is also an architectural wonder. This temple’s architect, Sris Chandra Chatterjee was also one of the most prominent leaders of the modern Indian architecture movement. One can see the usage of canonical texts in the temple. The architecture of the temple draws inspiration from the Swadeshi movement. While keeping its religious and national importance intact while building the temple, Chatterjee extensively used modern technologies and techniques to create the monument.

This three-storied temple is built in the Nagara style of architecture. The entire temple has sculptures and carvings that depict the golden yuga. Hundreds of skilled artisans from Benaras, headed by Acharya Vishwanath Shastri, carved the icons around the temple. The highest shikhara above the temple’s sanctum sanctorum is about 160 feet high. The temple faces the east and is located on a high plinth. The icons in the temple were carved out of marble stones that were sourced from Jaipur. Kota stones sourced from Agra, Makarana, Jaisalmer, and Kota were also used in the temple premises. The Geetha Bhawan situated towards the north of the temple is a shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna.

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