The Birla Mandir Temple, also known as Laxmi Narayan, is a landmark of New Delhi. The huge red, yellow and white three-storey temple was built in the early 1900s. It’s spread over 3 hectares (7.5 acres) and includes shrines, fountains and a large garden. The outside of the temple is covered with carvings portraying scenes from Hindu mythology.
The temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess of prosperity, Laxmi, and the preserver of the universe, Narayana. It was inaugurated in the 1930s by Mahatma Gandhi with a condition that all castes would be allowed to enter.
The temple is one of the most popular holy places in Delhi. Take some time to meditate or sit quietly in one of the temple’s halls. Wander into the small temple dedicated to Buddha, in the same complex, where you will see frescoes on the walls illustrating his life. The garden outside is also a quiet and relaxing place to spend an hour or two listening to the manmade waterfalls.
Thousands of Hindus celebrate two festivals at the temple each year. The first, Janmashtami, is held in August or September, depending on the cycle of the moon. It celebrates the birthday of the Hindu god Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu. Diwali, the festival of lights, is the most important Hindu holiday and is held in October or November.
The temple is open daily and is free to visit. Photography is not permitted inside; lockers are available to store cameras, phones and shoes.
Birla Mandir Temple is a 30-minute walk or a 10-minute drive from Connaught Place, the commercial hub of New Delhi with numerous cafés and restaurants. The nearest metro station is a 15-minute walk from the temple. City buses stop right outside the door. The temple is a 10-minute drive from central New Delhi.