Sonargaon Tajmahal

Taj Mahal Bangladesh (Bengali: তাজ মহল বাংলাদেশ) is a copy of the original Taj Mahal (a Mughal mausoleum located in Agra, India) located 10 miles east of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka in Sonargaon. Unlike the original, work on the building took only five years. Ahsanullah Moni, a wealthy Bangladeshi film-maker, announced his 'Copycat version of Taj Mahal' project in December 2008. The project cost about USD$56 Million, and was built 20 miles northeast of Capital Dhaka. Moni has explained that he built a replica of the Taj Mahal so that the poor of his nation can realise their dream of seeing neighbouring India's famed monument.[1] This caused complaints from Indian officials, "You can't just go and copy historical monuments" an official of Indian High Commission in Dhaka told press.
Construction began in 2003, but Mr Moni says that he came up with the idea in 1980 when he first visited the real Taj in Agra, India. He said that his homage had been built because most people living in Bangladesh - where nearly half of the population exist below the poverty line - cannot afford to travel to India to see the real thing. "Everyone dreams about seeing the Taj Mahal but very few Bangladeshis can make the trip because it's too expensive for them," he said. Mr Moni first visited the original in 1980 and has made six return trips. So enamoured was he of the site that he hired a group of architects and sent them to India to measure it. He said: “I used the same marble and stone as in the original Taj. We used machinery, which is why it took less time. Otherwise it would have taken 20 years and 22,000 workers to complete it.” Last night Mr Mittal, at the Indian High Commission, did concede that the replica was unlikely to detract from the magnificence of the original. He also admitted that visitors were unlikely to mix up one with the other. “A copy is a form of flattery, I suppose,” he said.

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