Laxmi Narayan Temple
Another major tourist attraction of Delhi is Laxmi Narayan Temple on Mandir Marg. Laxmi Narayan Temple, built by the wealthy industrialist Raja Baldev Birla, is special in several ways. First and foremost, it's true representative of 'Nagara Style of Temple architecture'. Second, it has been associated with Mahatma Gandhi who inaugurated this temple. Third, it attempted to eradicate untouchability within its limited periphery but it communicated the message loud and clear to society. Fourth, it permitted the Buddhists and the Jain and hence sent message of unified Hindu society and Indian nation.
The theatrical Laxmi Narayan (Temple) Mandir, a Hindu temple, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan) and his consort Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth). The wealthy industrialist Raja Baldev Birla, in whose private ground Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, commissioned this temple for worship by all Hindus (including the untouchables), Jains and Buddhists. Gandhi inaugurated the temple in 1939. Foreigners must leave their shoes right of the entrance, above which is inscribed 'This temple is open to all Hindus subject to prescribed conditions of cleanliness, full faith and sincere devotion'.
The temple traditionally incorporates red and cream sandstone and white marble. Approached from a central courtyard are the shrines of Vishnu, Laxmi, Shiva, and his consort Durga. It is interesting to note within that the Hindu swastika is depicted at an angle inside a circle, exactly as on the German flag displayed at the time. One wonders if, on this occasion, the architect of the temple had been influenced by the Germans, thus bringing the iconographic process full circle. Only rarely in India is the swastika represented in its reverse form.
Most of Delhi tours consisting two days of sightseeing do incorporate Laxmi Narayan Temple in Delhi tour itinerary. Many India tour operators make it a part of sightseeing inclusions.