Nearly 100 years after the religion was brought to Chile, a new Baha’i temple is being crafted in Santiago at the base of the Andes Mountains.
An American woman traveled through South America alone 95 years ago. Her mission was to spread awareness of a new religion called the Baha’i Faith, which had begun in Persia a few decades prior to her journey. Hers was a perilous path in freezing cold. She lost her mule in the dark tunnels of the Andes Mountains, where she said prayers for protection. Martha Root’s prayers were the first Baha’i prayers spoken in the mountains, and she brought her teachings to Chile.
Now, a Baha’i Temple is being constructed in Santiago, Chile. The 3-story structure and underground service tunnel is a superstructure, using over 2,000 cubic meters of concrete and 190 tons of reinforced steel. In a letter from the Universal House of Justice, they shared the next major phase.
“We are delighted to share news on the progress on the construction of the continental House of Worship for South America rising in the foothills of the Andes in Chile” they wrote. They are beginning the construction of the superstructure. This structure is 30 meters high with an exterior made of cast-glass pieces on 3,200 aluminum frames and over 8,000 robotically milled panels of a special kind of marble.
Designed to Reflect the Key Ideas of the Baha’i Faith
Much has been written on the temple already. It has 9 translucent wings made from marble and cast glass, allowing sunlight to filter in during the day and radiate out at night. The overall design is an exact example of certain key ideas from the Baha’i Faith.
One of the major teachings is the “recognition that a new stage of history has arrived out of which a global civilization will, in stages, emerge.” Each of the marble panels are unique in shape and size, yet they connect together to harmonize and create a beautiful, intricate whole. Another major idea is “unity of spiritual with material, and service with worship.” According to the director of the temple, he deeply believes that the temple symbolizes achieving justice with worship and service, as well as taking charge of your own life’s path.
The temple will be open to the public free of charge. Services are planned to include readings from the sacred scriptures of all the religions in the world, promoting an inner-connectivity.