Indian man builds his own 'Taj Mahal' for wife

08:40 PM | 26 Nov, 2021
Indian man builds his own 'Taj Mahal' for wife

A man in southwestern Indian state of Madhya Pradesh has built a replica of the Taj Mahal as an expression of his love for his wife.

The original monument, know as "Monument to Love", was built on the orders of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz, in the 17th century.

Anand Prakash Chouksey's wife is alive and she even helped consult on the project and his version of the marble wonder of the world, around one-third the size of the original.

"My wife's only demand was for a meditation room. She's a spiritual woman," the 52-year-old businessman told the media.

"She says the dome creates a different environment and there is a lot of positive energy."

The original Taj Mahal, dubbed as a "teardrop on the cheek of time" by writer Rabindranath Tagore, is in Agra south of Delhi. However, the new replica is 800 kilometres (500 miles) away in Burhanpur.

But the central Indian city is none other than the place where Mumtaz died while giving birth to her 14th child in June 1632, having accompanied Shah Jahan to quell a local revolt.

Mumtaz's body was even initially buried there too, and according to locals Shah Jahan had at first wanted to build the Taj Mahal for her on the banks of the river Tapti.

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"The soil structure back then was not suitable to build the Taj here that's how it was decided to be built in Agra," Chouksey explained.

The city is still home to the dilapidated remains of the palace where the royals lived, including a once-beautiful hammam or bathhouse built by Shah Jahan for his wife to relax in before she died.

Chouksey's story has none of the tragedy and building his new home has taken him three years -- a dozen less than the mausoleum that inspired it.

It cost 15 million rupees ($200,000) to build.

"We used marble from Makrana to build the house, which is the same that was used to build the Taj Mahal," he said.

Chouksey plans to mount an Indian flag on top of the main dome and add symbols from India's most popular religions to the four minarets surrounding his new manor.

"We want to send a message of peace and religious harmony. There is a lot of hate around. Love solves all problems in life and Taj Mahal is a symbol of that." 

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