The Taj Mahal, one of the world's most famous and magnificent monuments, is to be copied then massively enlarged in Dubai. Online reaction to the plan is far from positive, with many comments claiming the project is disrespectful, lacks originality and a waste of money.
At “three to four times” the size of the original in Agra, India, what has been dubbed the “Taj Arabia” will function as a five-star hotel rather than an emperor’s heartfelt expression of love to his deceased wife, with 300 rooms and serviced apartments in adjacent buildings.
The US$1 billion project slated to complete in 2014 “will be ideal for wedding guests,” Arun Mehra, chairman of the Link Global Group, sub-developers of the project, told Gulfnews.com.
“We want to create an atmosphere which bonds family members.”
The souped-up Taj will be part of the massive 400-hectare Falconcity of Wonders Project, a residential, tourism and recreation destination that boasts to be “the most astonishing place on earth” and will also include a replica Eiffel Tower, Great Pyramid, Tower of Pisa, leaning, one might assume, perhaps even more than the original, Great Wall of China and the entire “Town of Venice.”
Comments from readers of the Gulf News report were virtually unanimous in their reaction to the plan.
"Taj Arabia? Oh come on! Taj Mahal is an icon for centuries. Please don't copy it. It would be a disgrace and disrespect to the late Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Building a replica of a worldwide famous icons doesn't invites positivity and good vibes. Please build something that you could be proud of and not a Xerox copy...." wrote Anwar from Dubai.
"Who needs this??? The city is already stuffed with copies of famous monuments and bigger/better/higher buildings than other countries... why not create something real so residents don't have the feeling of waking up every morning in Disney Land?" asked Monika, also from Dubai.
Gross monstrosity or a somewhat flattering imitation? This office leaned heavily on the former. A quick straw poll this morning of Indian colleagues and close associates found two out of two were surprisingly less than outraged when they heard the plans.
“Why not get married there? A Bollywood-style wedding destination is better than a hotel ballroom,” said Sita Wadhwani, digital editor for Vogue India.
Another said, “I would never go, but anyone looking to get married in a grand, though cheesy, location will definitely jump on it I think.”
Indian magnanimity aside, some Bollywood film producers have reportedly already expressed interest in filming at the location.
Why use the small, old, slightly faded version when there’s a brand new shiny hulking upgrade available, right?
What do you think? Ostentation, disrespectful or over-the-top flattery? Should iconic monuments be replicated as hotels? Would you like to stay at the Taj Arabia? Comment below!