By Kamakshi Srivastav
Photos by: Shakeel Sobhan
Tucked away in the clouded hills of west Aizawl stands the Solomon’s Temple, an architecturally magnificent white structure that has been attracting curious tourists from around the world. When travelling upon the dusty uneven roads leading up to the temple, one doesn’t expect to come upon a place of worship so structurally magnificent.
On a clear day, the temple, made purely of white marble brought in all the way from Rajasthan, can be seen shining against the bright, sunny, azure Aizawl skies. White winged angels perched upon the temple hold trumpets to the heavens. Seven gold stars, a simple Cross and a crown underneath it adorn the facade of the temple.
The crown is the emblem of the Kohhran Thianghlim or the Holy Church a nondenominational Christian sect in charge of the construction of the temple. This intention behind the temple was to reconstruct the now destroyed original Solomon’s Temple of Jerusalem. According to the Old Testament, King David’s son, King Solomon built the temple as the first permanent ‘house’ of God. However, the temple was later plundered and destroyed by the Babylonians.
The temple was reconstructed on the same site and dominated the city for the many years, but was again destroyed by General Titus of Rome in 70 AD. Even after its destruction, it continued to dominate and mould the thought of the world’s two oldest religions Judaism and Christianity. The Dome of Rock stands at the original temple site today.
The Solomon’s temple of Aizawl is located 10kms from the main city and has been under construction for nearly the past 2 decades. The foundation of the temple was laid on December 23, 1996. The estimated cost of construction is 3 million dollars.
Dr. Lalbiakmawia Sailo, a senior official in the state Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department is the founder and Chairman of the Holy Church and also in charge of spearheading the temple project. The Church members believe that Mizoram is the “Spiritual Jerusalem” as chosen by God and is the “spiritual and administrative capital” for its members as practiced during the reign of King David.
Dr. Sailo is said to have received “instructions” from The Holy Spirit in a dream in 1991 to construct the temple and other details such as the structural design of the temple. The site of the temple was chosen in west Aizawl previously known as Chawlhhmun. The name was changed to Kidron Valley named after the valley east of the Old City of Jerusalem.
The Church literature explains the specific reasons behind the structural design of the temple.
Pillar with 7 David’s stars indicating the 7 Angels of the 7 Churches in the Revelation.
“There will be 4 pillars. Each pillar will carry 7 David’s stars indicating the 7 Angels of the 7 Churches in the Revelation. There will be 4 towers. Each tower will carry a crown. The four crowns indicate the Crown of Salvation, the Crown of Righteousness, the Crown of Life and the Crown of Overcomer”
There will be 4 fronts. In each front there will be 3 doors comprising 12 main doors as we see in the Revelation.” (sic)
The ambitious project is said to include state-of-the-art facilities and is to be completed by 2016. If all goes well, there are also plans to build a five-star hotel close to the temple for visiting tourists. But the temple’s caretaker H.T. Darbuka, believes the project might take much longer than the 2016 target. The project is funded by donations from church members from all over the world. “Since it is a purely donation based project, progress is slow” he said.
Even though not quite complete, the temple has already become a tourist attraction in Mizoram, with visitors from all over the world.
Once the project is complete and all the interior work finished, it will welcome members to fill the 3000-odd empty seats in the hallowed hall of the temple.
Once complete the prayer hall will accommodate 3000 people.