He Told His Wife, 'I Will Make a Taj Mahal You Can Live In'

That's exactly what India's Anand Prakash Chouksey has now done
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2021 8:17 AM CST

(Newser) – It took 22 years to build India's Taj Mahal, but only three years to build a replica roughly a third of its size, now home to an Indian couple in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh. Businessman Anand Prakash Chouksey, 52, says he built the "monument of love" at a cost of $260,000 to honor his wife of 27 years, 48-year-old Manjusha. The original Taj Mahal, a 17th-century mausoleum in Agra, was similarly constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz. She died in childbirth in Burhanpur and was temporarily buried there before her remains were moved to Agra, Chouksey tells the AP.

"I jokingly told my wife, if you pass over, then I will build a Taj Mahal," Chouksey adds. When she told him she didn't want to die, "I said, not a problem, I will make a Taj Mahal you can live in." Wanting to make the replica as authentic as possible, the couple closely examined the iconic building so as to copy its dome, minarets, and lattice work, and procured white marble from the same source: Makrana in Rajasthan state. "Artisans came from Agra to do all the inlay work and intricate carvings," AFP quotes Chouksey as saying. He had to limit the building's height to 29 feet, however, as local authorities weren't fans of his original plan for the home to stretch 80 feet tall, reports UPI.

"It was a gift for my wife but also for the town and its people," Chouksey tells the BBC, which reports the home sits on the couple's 50-acre property, which also includes a hospital. "We are a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone. So, my house is open for all." Granted, not everyone is allowed in the interior—featuring marble columns, gilded ceilings, and a curved staircase. "After all, it is our home and we live there," Chouksey says. His wife's only request was that the home include a meditation room, per the Guardian. Chouksey says it’s the best location in the house, within the dome. And "there is a lot of positive energy." (Read more Taj Mahal stories.)

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