Given all the attention to Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel during the November terrorist attacks, it would be fair to say that for the first time in its existence, the actual Taj Mahal was overshadowed by one of its many namesakes (in this case, for all the wrong reasons, of course).
In addition to those namesakes (see the Wikipedia disambiguation), there's now a replica of the Agra wonder being built in Bangladesh.
Ahsanullah Moni, a Bangladeshi filmmaker, is the man behind the $58 million project to construct a Taj-like structure 18 miles northeast of capital, Dhaka. This project, which started in 2003, is built using marble and granite from Italy and diamonds from Belgium.
According to the Guardian, Moni said he is building the replica for the people of Bangladesh who cannot afford to travel to see the monument. The United Nations Human Development Report 2007/08 ranks Bangladesh as 140th out of 177 countries in its Human Development Index.
"I am doing this only for the poor. They cannot travel. They cannot see this historical wonder," said Moni. "I also hope the landmark construction can attract more tourists from home and abroad."
While the Bangladeshi director seems happy with his project, neighboring India has voiced its concerns.
According to the AFP, the Indian Embassy in Bangladesh has said it would investigate to see if any copyright laws have been breached.
"You can't just go and copy historical monuments," fumed a spokesman at the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.
"Someone will go out there and have a look. The reports we are reading say it is an exact replica. This is a protected site we are talking about so we need to find out if it really is the exact size," he told AFP.
Moni isn't the only one in the Taj replica business. Lego has its own Taj replica product:
The famous Taj Mahal jewel of India is known all over the globe for its incredible beauty and elegance. Now you can recreate this modern wonder of the world for yourself! Designed for experienced builders, the LEGO Taj Mahal model features advanced building techniques, rare elements and colors, and realistic details of architecture. With over 5,900 pieces, the Taj Mahal makes an awesome addition to any LEGO collection!
Earlier on SAJAforum:
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