Dubai to build Taj Mahal replica
DUBAI - Agence France-Presse
Indian Muslims offer Eid al-Fitr prayers at Shahi Masjid at Taj Mahal, in Agra, India, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, the Muslim calendar's ninth and holiest month during which followers are required to abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)A replica of India's world-famous Taj Mahal, four times the size of the original, is to be built in Dubai as what is to be billed as the world's grandest wedding venue, one of its developers said.
It took the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan 22 years to build the marble mausoleum for his queen 360 years ago, but the copy, to be known as Taj Arabia, is expected to take only two years.
The billion-dollar (767 million-euro) project will be set in the heart of the 41 million square foot Falcon City of Wonders on Emirates Road, said Arun Mehra, chairman of sub-developers Link Global Group, at the annual Cityscape Global real estate exposition in Dubai.
"Marriage is a celebration. It needs to be announced and glorified. Currently Dubai is not regarded as a wedding destination. People go to Bali and other exotic places to marry. Now they will come to Taj Arabia," Mehra told Gulf News.
Surrounded by lush green landscaping, including the famous Mughal Gardens, the "New City of Love" will have several architecturally themed residential and commercial buildings.
Taj Arabia will be a five-star hotel property with 300 rooms. It will be flanked by seven mixed-use buildings, two of which will have 200 serviced apartments.
"Traditionally in the UAE and the sub-continent, marriage is not just a union of two people but also their families. The serviced apartments beside Taj Arabia will be ideal for wedding guests as they will have 10 large bedrooms and a hall," said Mehra.