Recently constructed Indian-style Buddhist Temple celebrates the shared cultural heritage between India and China
The White Horse Temple in Luoyang, Henan which is one of the oldest sites of Buddhism in China, is an icon of India’s traditional cultural links with China going back to 65 A.D. In recognition of the historical importance of the White Horse Temple in India-China relations, it was decided by the two countries to jointly build an Indian-style Buddhist temple in the International Garden Complex adjacent to the White Horse Temple. To select the design for the temple, an architectural design competition was organised, inviting six architects from all over India and the design of M/s Akshaya Jain & Raka Chakravarty, New Delhi, was selected.
The design of the temple draws inspiration from the famous Sanchi Stupa in India, which posed a challenge since it had to blend modern planning concepts with traditional Buddhist architecture. The main temple hall is a stupa-shaped circular hall placed axially within a colonnaded enclosure. It has a 80 feet diameter domical roof with a glass-covered skylight on top. Installed within the Hall is a 15 feet high Buddha Idol, based on the famous 5th century Buddha idol in Sarnath.
Besides the Hall, the temple complex is also provided with a seminar hall, conference room and a two-storied Exhibition hall. The open space around the buildings has been carefully landscaped with two elements – garden and water body. While the garden softens the expanse of the central space, the water body encompasses the Temple Hall in the form of a four-petalled lotus pond. In one corner of the front garden is a circular pedestal holding up a granite panel with the feet of the Buddha carved on it. Elements from the Buddhist tradition, such as chaitya arches, torana, stone railings, colonnades, carved panels, jatakas, sculptures, etc. have been drawn into the architectural vocabulary.