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Wed 24 Oct 2012 03:37 PM

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Indians up in arms over Dubai Taj Mahal clone

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

Indians up in arms over Dubai Taj Mahal clone
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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Mohamed Metwally 7 years ago

Dubai distinguishes itself by being a leader, not only in this region but globally. Look at Burj Al-Arab, Burj Khalifa, the Palm, Dubai Airport, etc. Dubai should not and does not need to copy monuments from somewhere else. It is certainly an ill-advised concept. Dubai ascended to its global position by being creative, so stay the course...

Tayoto 7 years ago

Isn't copying a form of flattery? Did a copy of the Eiffel tower in Las Vegas "belittle" the original in Paris? No, the opposite. You will always look at it and have even more appreciation for the real thing, the original. A copy will always be a copy.

Isn't it great for India if other countries copy landmarks, it does make Indian heritage and culture more desirable, more accessible and important, not less. So what's so bad about it?

Imagine if every city in the world would strive to have their own Taj Mahal, shouldn't that make Indians proud instead of fearing belittleing and being offended?

salem 7 years ago

This will anger Shah Jahan who "had his minions who cut off the hands of the Taj Mahal's architect and his workers after the structure was completed, ensuring they would never build another of its kind".

Ramesh 7 years ago

Quote "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." Unquote
It is not a place of worship and Nobody offers prayer at the Taj Mahal. The place is owned and operated by Archeological Survey of India as a tourist attraction. Nothing is going to change if some body builds a replica or not.

Doug 7 years ago

Why are they worrying? It's not as if Falconcity will ever be built.

Anil Kumar 7 years ago

Anybody on the surface of the earth can build anything they want? Why should it be such a problem. However, Taj Mahal is kind of jinxed, the artisans who built that were killed, Shahjahan died seeing through a peep hole, finally Donald Trump empire crashed after he built one in Las Vegas he only did better after he pulled it down.

David Davidson 7 years ago

No idea why some are getting so stressed out, dubai is the Vegas of Middle East and originality has never been the master stroke of the city. Manmade islands, tallest towers, biggest hotels, golf tournaments, horse races etc are all copies of what has been done around the world. Travellers and tourist who enjoy the history and culture will always go to the originals, meanwhile those who seek the artificial world thankfully have theses copies.

Saudi Engineer 7 years ago

But don't you think this may confuse people?! Imagine the poor soul who wanted to worship or "offer prayers" at the real Taj Mahal, and was duped into doing it in Dubai! I agree with all of the comments, especially considering Las Vegas. With Dubai being the LV of the Middle East, and the fake pyramid the fake eiffel tower and all the other fakes in the real Las Vegas, why not fakes in Dubai?

Next fake in Dubai: Fake sand dunes!!

Grant Holt 7 years ago

How would people of this region feel if the Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque or even the Kaaba was reproduced in India and fitted-out a hotel or similar?


JJJ 7 years ago

This has to be the best comment in some time.