Day 202: Visit the only Baha’i Temple in the U.S.

March 24, 2011 § 1 Comment

There are only seven Baha’i temples in the world, one on each continent, and the Baha’i temple in the U.S. sits just north of us in Wilmette.

Why Wilmette? I can’t rightfully answer that question. But I can tell you that the temple is beautiful.

Baha’i is a religion practiced by more than five million people worldwide. It revolves around the belief that “all religions share a common source and aim, and that the long-awaited era of peace promised by God in the world’s sacred scriptures is now within reach.” So people of all religions are welcome to attend their services, which occur at 12:30pm daily (I sense a future blog post).

The temple itself is incredibly ornate, and was finished in 1953 after more than 30 years of construction. It took French-Canadian architect Louis Bourgeois eight years to finalize the structure’s plans before building began. The inner facade was breathtaking, but cameras were prohibited, so I couldn’t take any pictures. The dome looks as if it is made of intricately woven white lace, and at the very top is a glowing nonagon inscribed with an Arabic invocation that means “O Glory of the All Glorious.”

Complete silence hung in the air. Other people were scattered around the temple in silent reflection within the narrow pews. None of them looked up. I felt like a ghost. I sat down for a few minutes and lost myself in thought.

So on your next trip to Wilmette, Illinois, don’t miss out on the local Baha’i temple. It’s a must-see.

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