Itinerary Inspiration: Bahá’í Houses of Worship

“In thousands upon thousands of locations around the world, the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith inspire individuals and communities as they work to improve their own lives and contribute to the advancement of civilization. Bahá’í beliefs address such essential themes as the oneness of God and religion, the oneness of humanity and freedom from prejudice, the inherent nobility of the human being, the progressive revelation of religious truth, the development of spiritual qualities, the integration of worship and service, the fundamental equality of the sexes, the harmony between religion and science, the centrality of justice to all human endeavours, the importance of education, and the dynamics of the relationships that are to bind together individuals, communities, and institutions as humanity advances towards its collective maturity.”
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Bahai Temple - Chicago, IL, USA - Copyright Longing to Travel

Growing up, I was one of millions who was raised with the teachings of The Bahá’í Faith. I was taught the basic principles through interactions with holy scriptures and spiritual gatherings with my local Bahá’í community in Wisconsin (USA).

As we were a rather small community, I remember attending events–both spiritual and social–hosted at the local YWCA, at schools, in the basement of a bank, in people’s living rooms and even in my family’s basement. If you were lucky, like me, you also lived near a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, a Bahá’í House of Worship, and occasionally attended events there. I’ve only had the privilege of visiting the Bahá’í Temple for the North American Continent, but my goal is to visit all 8 of the Bahá’í Temples around the world:

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‘Ishqábád, Turkmenistan

The first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár was constructed at the beginning of the twentieth century in the city of ‘Ishqábád, which is today the capital of Turkmenistan. The structure was confiscated by Soviet authorities in 1938 and later demolished after being irreparably damaged in an earthquake.


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Wilmette, United States

Construction work on the House of Worship in Wilmette, near Chicago, began when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laid the cornerstone in 1912, during His visit to the United States. Shoghi Effendi later described the edifice as “the most hallowed Temple ever to be erected by the followers of Bahá’u’lláh and the crowning glory of the first Bahá’í century”.


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Kampala, Uganda

Work on the House of Worship in Kampala—the “Mother Temple of Africa”—began in 1957, just before Shoghi Effendi’s death. The edifice was dedicated by his widow, Rúhíyyih Rabbani, in a ceremony in 1961.


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Sydney, Australia

Situated in Ingleside, a few kilometres north of the city of Sydney, this House of Worship was dedicated in 1961. The building was designed according to Shoghi Effendi’s instructions; he referred to it as the “Mother Temple of the Antipodes”.


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Langenhein, Germany
In 1953 Shoghi Effendi called on the Bahá’ís of Germany to build a House of Worship to serve as the Mother Temple of Europe. A site was located some 25 kilometres to the West of Frankfurt. Construction work was completed in 1964.

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Panama City, Panama
The Mother Temple of Latin America overlooks Panama City from its location to the north of the city at an altitude of some 225 metres. The cornerstone for the building was laid in 1967, and the edifice was dedicated in 1972.

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Apia, Samoa
The foundation stone of the this edifice, known as the “Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands” was laid in 1979 by Rúhíyyih Rabbani, representing the Universal House of Justice, and by His Highness Susuga Malietoa Tanumafili II, Head of State of Samoa, the first ruling head of state in the world to become a Bahá’í. Both also participated in the dedication of the House of Worship on 1 September 1984.

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New Delhi, India
This House of Worship, located in the outskirts of New Delhi, was dedicated in a ceremony in 1986. By 1992 the Temple had become one of the most visited buildings in India, and by 2007, when it had 4.6 million visitors, one of the most visited buildings in the world.

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Santiago, Chile

The project to construct a Baha’i House of Worship in Chile was announced in 2001. After a design had been chosen from the 185 entries, excavation work on the site began at the end of 2010. When completed, the edifice in Santiago will be the eighth and final in a series of Baha’i Houses of Worship serving an entire continent.


(Opening quote: source) // All photos and captions originally found here)


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Have you ever been to a Baha’i House of Worship? What about other religious temples and holy sites? Share your stories and photos below!
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