The Taj Mahal, the most famous symbol of India and the eternal expression of one man’s undying love for his wife, may soon have its own home-grown miniature version – which was also constructed for love.
According to reports in British media, a retired postman in India named Faizul Hasan Kadari, 77, is building a mini-Taj Mahal in the town of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh in honor of his wife, Begum Tajmulli, who passed away in December 2011.
Kadari’s version also houses the tomb of his late wife – just like the more celebrated one does.
Bulandshahr is about 100 miles north of Agra, where the “other” Taj Mahal – the one that Mughal emperor Shah Jehan built for his dear wife Mumtaz Shah more than three hundred years ago – is located.
"I used to think that Shah Jehan insulted the common man by building a magnificent monument to love,” Kadari said, according to the Daily Mail.
“But after the death of my wife … I realized that it [was] more about the intensity of love than the money. Since we were [childless] and I had no other liabilities, I started construction of my own Taj Mahal on a piece of land which was not useful for agricultural purposes.”
Kadari said that upon completion, his Taj Mahal will occupy about two acres of land and also feature a garden. He claims to have spent 2 million Rupees (about $37,000) on its construction thus far.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Kadari’s creation is about the size of a regular house and will include white marble cladding and Koranic calligraphy inscriptions.
Once Kadari dies, he'll lay next to his beloved spouse.
But the humble postmaster from Uttar Pradesh isn't the only person seeking to replicate the fabled Taj Mahal.
Dubai -- a tiny nation in the Middle East that already boasts such monstrosities as the Burj Dubai (tallest man-made structure on Earth) and the Al-Maktoum International Airport (the largest commuter hub in the world) -- seeks to spend a cool $1 billion to construct something called the ‘Taj Arabia,’ which will be much larger than the 17th-centiry original 1,400 miles to the east in Agra.
The replica will actually comprise a complex that will feature a 300-room hotel, stores and other commercial buildings. Most improbably, the complex will also include replicas of other world-famous structures such as the Pyramids of Egypt, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China and Leaning Tower of Pisa.
But, like many ambitious, gargantuan projects, Taj Arabia is behind schedule.
The developer of the project, a company called Link Global Group, said the property won't launch until 2015, one year later than scheduled.
Link’s company director, Arun Mehra (of Indian descent himself), told Arab media: “We are currently in negotiation with construction companies for Taj Arabia Resort. This resort will be promoted for celebrations, weddings, major events as well as for couples and honeymooners.”
It may take up to 10 years to complete the project.
However, Mehra’s dream project has rubbed some people in India the wrong way.
“It is patently wrong and absurd [top construct a replica Taj Mahal],” former Agra legislator Satish Chandra Gupta told the Indo-Asian News Service news agency.
“This kind of distortion and in principle duplication of history artificially makes no sense.”
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.