Faizul Hasan Kadari, a retired post-master from India, has put his entire life savings into building a replica of the world famous Taj Mahal in memory of his beloved wife who died in 2011.
The original Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in honor of his wife Mumtaz in 1631, and is regarded as one of the world’s greatest monuments to love and grief. But who would have thought Shah Jahan’s gesture would ever be replicated, and by a retired postal worker, of all people? Faizul Hasan Kadari might not have had the riches of the old emperor, but the promise made to his dying wife Tajammuli Begum was enough to fuel his ambition and build his own version of the Taj Mahal. He took a team of local workers to the walled city of Agra to see the original masterpiece and asked them to build a smaller replica, without all the intricate carvings and decorations, which would have been impossible to imitate anyway. To fund his project, Kadari sold his land, his wife’s jewels and used up all the savings from his pension.
Photo: Open the Magazine
On her dying bed, Tajammuli Begum told her husband they would be forgotten because they had no children to carry on their name, but Faizul promised to build a grand mausoleum in her name so that the world would remember them for many years. Ironically, the 77-year-old retired post-master had always believed emperor Shah Jahan’s extravagant monument to love was an insult to the common man, but after losing his wife, he realized the intensity of love and pain made money seem meaningless. Since they had no children, Faizul Hasan Kadari had no problem selling everything they had to fulfill the promise he made to his wife. It cost 900,000 rupees ($15,000) to erect the small Taj Mahal on a 5,000-square-feet piece of land outside of his home, in Bulandshahr, but he requires more money to see it completed. Funds are drying up, but Faizul refuses to take money from anyone, and plans on using his monthly pension from now on.
Completing his own Taj Mahal is all Faizul is thinking about right now, and hopes to be buried next to his beloved wife when the time comes.