Madhya Pradesh: Man builds Taj Mahal replica home for wife

A 52-year-old Indian businessman has built a scaled-down replica of the iconic Taj Mahal as a home for his wife of 27 years.

Anand Prakash Chouksey built his “monument of love” in Burhanpur city in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. “It was a gift for my wife but also for the town and its people,” Mr Chouksey told the BBC. The house cost about 20 million rupees (£199,000; $260,000) to build, he said.

The Taj Mahal is a 17th Century mausoleum in Agra city. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen Mumtaz who died while giving birth to their 14th child.

The stunning marble monument, famed for its intricate lattice work, is one of India’s biggest tourist attractions. Before the pandemic, it drew as many as 70,000 people every day – a list that has included celebrities and dignitaries.

Mr Chouksey’s replica – nestled deep inside his sprawling 50-acre property, which includes a hospital, has also been attracting a steady stream of visitors.

People walk in the lawns and click pictures, he said. “A lot of people have also started to do their pre-wedding shoots here,” Mr Chouksey added.

“I don’t stop them because in our town, we are a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone. So, my house is open for all.”

Mr Chouksey said that not all visitors are allowed inside the house because “after all, it is our home and we live there”.

But sometimes, the family indulges its guests who come and marvel at the house’s lush interiors – the intricate flower motifs that decorate the marble walls and floors, and its overarching lattice windows.

The house consists of two main bedrooms that are located on two separate floors. It also has a library and a meditation room. The drawing room flaunts marble columns, a curving staircase and a gilded ceiling.

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