Replica to celebrate Taj Mahal anniversary

AGRA, India, May 4 (UPI) -- Artists readied to build a black-sand replica of the famed Taj Mahal to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Agra, India, monument made from white marble.

Sudarsan Pattnaik, who has represented India in sand-art competitions worldwide, plans to have art students assist in the "big challenge" of building the 25-foot-high model opposite the Taj Mahal by the Dec. 27 closing ceremony.


"We won't use any chemicals; just sand and water," Pattnaik told The Scotsman. "I'm so proud because I'm going to be making this Taj Mahal. It's like history. After 350 years, it's Shah Jehan's dream."

The Mughal emperor built the white-marble Taj Mahal, one of the seven Wonders of the World, in memory of his wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal.

Historians speculate Jehan, who died in 1658, planned to build a black marble temple as his tomb, but family infighting prevented that dream from becoming reality.

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