Behold the newest member of the architectural replica family: this quite exceptional version of Agra, India's Taj Mahal, created by jeweler Syed Hanif. Hanif and his 35-member team in Bhopal, India, have spent 18 months composing a structure not from toothpicks or computer parts or origami paper, but rather from 925 pounds of precious metals. Standing at three-and-a-half feet tall, the Taj 2012—made of some 44 pounds of gold and a mindboggling 880 pounds of silver—is said to be worth $18.372M. The jeweler did not scrimp on the details; the replica has 25 domes, 20,000 silver tiles on its floor, and Arabic calligraphy inscribed on its doors. Hanif, something of a Taj Mahal superfan, not only took every crew member to see the marble mausoleum—considered by many as the most beautiful built structure in the world—in person, but also recruited an Islamic scholar to oversee the Quran inscriptions. The model is not finished yet, but Hanif insists it will be completed by the end of this year. Below, one detail shot.
It comes as a bit of a surprise, after seeing all the loving details and dedication to accuracy, to hear that Hanif sees it as a business venture: "The Taj 2012 has cost me a fortune but I will be selling it for at least 100 crores rupees [more than $18M]."
· Jeweller Makes £11.5M Replica of the Taj Mahal [Daily Mail]
· Artist Fashions Iconic Buildings From Millions of Toothpicks [Curbed National]
· Here Now, a City Made Entirely of Old Computer Parts [Curbed National]
· Man Crafts St. Basil's Cathedral ONe Folded Paper at a Time [Curbed National]