Sunday, May 12, 2013

The grieving postmaster building a replica Taj Mahal to mourn his wife

When Mughal emperor Shah Jahan lost his beloved wife Mumtaz in 1631, he built the Taj Mahal, the white marble mausoleum regarded by many as the world's greatest monument to love and grief.

The grieving postmaster building a replica Taj Mahal to mourn his wife Faizul Hasan Kadari built the Taj Mahal replica for his wife Begum Tajmulli who died in 2011 

So when 77-year-old retired postmaster Faizul Hasan Kadari's wife died in December 2011, he knew exactly what he had to do: build his own Taj Mahal for the wife he loved no less than the great Mughal loved his.

Now, 16 months later, his "mini-Taj" is taking shape on a 5000 sqare feet plot in Bulandshahr, near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, and the grieving farmer is on his way to becoming a local celebrity.

Faizul Hasan Kadari with a photo of his wife Begum Tajmulli

While the Taj Mahal stands at 561 feet and is flanked by four 130 feet minarets, Faizul Hasan Kadari's mausoleum and memorial to his love, Begum Tajmulli, is a rough replica the height of a large unfinished house, waiting for its white marble cladding and Koranic calligraphy inscriptions.

So far he has spent around £25,000 on the Bulandshahr Taj, but plans to spend more yet. "There would be everything which the Taj Mahal has. When completed, it will cover about two acres of land, which may also have a garden similar to the garden of Taj Mahal. I have spent about Rs 20 lakhs so far," he explained.

He had once regarded Shah Jahan's monument to his wife's memory was wasteful and extravagant until his own wife died. "I used to think that Shah Jahan insulted the common man by building a magnificent monument to love. But after the death of my wife in December 2011, I realised that it had more about the intensity of love than the money," he told.

"Since we were issueless and I had no other liabilities, I started construction of my own Taj Mahal on a piece of land which was not useful for agricultural purposes," he added.
Now his wife is buried inside and he hopes they will be reunited when he finally passes away. "I have written in my will that my graveyard should be besides her," he said.

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