Sunday, April 17, 2011

So, this is what film directors are supposed to do...

We just visited the Taj Mahal! Sort of...

Bengali film director Ahsanullah Moni made this decision: spending $58 million is worth it to give those who can't afford a trip to India the chance to see "the" Taj Mahal. He spent five years building a replica of the 17th century monument in Sonargaon, a small town that will be an hour's drive from Dhaka when the new highway system around the capitol city is finished in a couple years. But today it took us almost 3 hours.

Open for just a short time now, the Banglar Taj Mahal is already considered one of the best spots in the country for couples to get engaged, giving it the Indian reputation of the Temple of Eternal Love even though Moni didn't build it as a memorial to his wife as Emperor Shajahan did.

No doubt there's something enchanting about this pink-trimmed place--and its "in-the-middle-of-nowhere" location adds to its mystique. Good is coming from it, too. All the money raised from entrance fees goes to help the people of Sonargaon who often suffer food shortages.

(Pictured upper left: Beth Balaban and Director Ahsanullah Moni.)

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