Indians up in arms over Dubai Taj Mahal clone

Plans to build supersized clone of Indian heritage site draw criticism from cultural officials

Land of India and the Taj Arabia, in Falcon City of Wonders

Land of India and the Taj Arabia, in Falcon City of Wonders

A proposal to build a Dubai replica of the Taj Mahal up to four times bigger than the original has been slammed by cultural officials in India.

The project, known as Taj Arabia and planned for the emirate’s 41m sqft Falconcity development, will boast a five-star hotel with 300 rooms when completed in 2014.

The plan to copy the UNESCO world heritage site in Aggra has however drawn vociferous criticism from some.

"It is patently wrong and absurd,” former Agra legislator Satish Chandra Gupta told India’s IANS news agency. “This kind of distortion and in principle duplication of history artificially makes no sense.”

“You cannot re-create history. Agra must get its share in terms of royalty from anyone using the brand Taj Mahal,” he added.

Others called on the developer behind Taj Arabia, Global Group, to scrap the project altogether.

"Ideally the Dubai builder should not go ahead with this project as it hurts our sentiments. Taj Mahal is basically a spiritual centre, with thousands of people offering prayers and paying obeisance round the year,” said Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.

"The Taj represents or climaxes the 5,000 years of Indian excellence. To belittle the original through a fake model is not a desirable thing,” he added.

The US$36.5bn Falconcity of Wonders development in Dubai, which Taj Arabia will form a part of, was originally announced in 2005. Initial plans proposed building life-size reconstructions of other famous historical landmarks such as the Pyramids of Giza and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as well as monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa.

In light of the emirate’s property slump in 2008-2009, many of Dubai's more audacious construction projects have been pared back or cancelled altogether.

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Posted by: Andrew

Taj Mahal is a religious place. It was known as Tejo Mahalay- The Temple of the Hindu God Shiva. During the Islamic Invasions in India, around 2000 Hindu temples were either destroyed or converted to mosques/tombs- which is messed up! The reason the Indian Government don't mention this is due to politics, they still want the muslim-converts to vote for them. The Taj Mahal itself is of Indian origin, it is designed in a symmetrical Hindu Temple Architecture, according to the Hindu Architecture Doctrine- The Vastu Shastras. Have a read by searching "Tejo Mahalay"

Posted by: blah

The Taj has pretty obvious Islamic Acrhitecture ! Perhaps you need to take the architectural details of this wonder to understand the origin of its creators.

Posted by: Price of Arabia

Why can't developers be more original and come up with new concepts rather than copy other sights. Burj Khalifa is a good example, it is original in design and attracts millions from around the world.

Posted by: keenobzerver

Its funny how the commentators in the article say that the project is offensive, then ask for royalty payments. The Taj Mahal is not a place of worship, it was built by a mulsim leader as a shrine to his wife. This tragic love story and structure is now the center of a very profitable tourist attraction. There are several taj mahal replicas currently existing around the world in Bangladesh, the Tripoli Shrine Temple in Milwaukee USA (built as a Masonic Lodge in 1928), the bibi Maqbara in Maharashtra, etc.
Falcon City is modelled after a project in Shenzhen China called "Windows of the World" which has replicas of the eifel tower, pyramids, taj mahal, versailles, etc. however the Chinese version is purely for tourism attraction, but the Dubai Falcon city will include residential units, sold to finance the project.

Posted by: Mohammed

Hold on, isn't there already multiple replicas of Taj Mahal? in Wikipedia, there are 5 replicas listed (2 in India, 2 in US, and 1 in China). Also, it's clear that Taj Mahal is not a sacred or religious place.
So, what's the big deal? Are they trying to squeeze this to get some money by claiming "royalty fees"?

Posted by: ZeTallGerman

I find it rather disrespectful of Dubai to build a copy of such an important historical monument (which is a Mausoleum, let's not forget, with actual tombs) and turn it into a hotel...

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